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Housing and communities

Living neighbourhoods offer the opportunity for a good and active life, based on safe and pleasant living and urban space. Good planning and smooth movement ensure a well-functioning daily life. An inspiring, high-quality and diverse cultural life is a key part of the city’s vitality and comfort and essential for well-being. Culture and arts play an important role in promoting community spirit, increasing mental well-being and providing experiences of participation. During the council term, Helsinki has prepared a vision for arts and culture that extends to 2030.
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Housing costs keep growing

SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) is achieved in Helsinki in many respects, but special attention should be paid to enabling affordable housing, preventing segregation and providing residents with participation opportunities. The population of Helsinki is growing, and housing construction has remained at a record level for the past few years.

The development of residential areas will continue through both the construction of new areas and the development of existing ones. Housing construction is strong in Kalasatama, Jätkäsaari, Kruunuvuorenranta, Kuninkaantammi and Pasila.

Housing prices will also continue to rise, which is a challenge for affordable housing. Helsinki plans to develop indicators for analysing the realisation of affordable housing, measuring the relationship between income and housing expenditure.

Preventing segregation

The City of Helsinki aims to be a European model city for preventing segregation in residential areas and has been fairly successful in this regard. Helsinki has internationally been regarded as a city of relatively mild segregation, but there are also signs of worrying developments in Helsinki.

Although no part of the city has deteriorated in absolute terms, the development of well-being has been faster in the most prosperous regions than in other regions, which has increased disparities. At the same time, deprivation has become more multi-layered with, for example, low income, unemployment and low educational level accumulating more clearly in the same areas. The socio-economically weakest regions are mainly located in eastern and north-eastern Helsinki.

Suburban regeneration

Positive change increases wellbeing and creates sustainable growth. The goal of the suburban regeneration model is to both retain and develop distinctive, vibrant and interesting residential areas.

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Segregation can be seen as differentiated service needs

Ethnic segregation in Helsinki is also relatively mild on the international scale, compared to Stockholm or Copenhagen, for example. However, there has been an increase in segregation over the past 10 years. The share of immigrants and their children born in Finland of the population of Helsinki has increased considerably in the 21st century and, at the same time, large changes have taken place in the demographic structure of individual areas.

Regional differences in the socio-economic structure of the population are reflected in differences in morbidity and perceived well-being. This is reflected in regionally differentiated service needs. There are also significant regional differences in the types of pupils and children in schools and day-care centres.

In addition, regional differences are reflected in perceived safety. Studies have shown that the segregation development also has an impact on migration choices and on the segregation of housing prices and school learning outcomes. Migration within the city can intensify the segregation development, if people who move house start making their choices based on the characteristics of the areas, markedly favouring other areas and avoiding others.

Helsinki seuraa alueiden sosioekonomista kehitystä summaindeksillä, johon on summattu vähän koulutettujen, työttömien ja pienituloisten osuus (kuva 31). Kaupungin keskiarvo on summain-deksilukuna 100. Jos indeksin arvo ylittää sadan, alue on sosioekonomisesti kaupungin keskita-soa heikompi, ja vastaavasti alle sadan jäävillä alueilla sosioekonominen rakenne on kaupungin keskitasoa parempi. Sosioekonomisesti heikoimmat alueet sijaitsevat pääosin kerrostalovaltaisil-la alueilla esikaupunkivyöhykkeellä. Heikoimmat alueet ovat jonkin verran etääntyneet kaupungin keskiarvosta 2010-luvun aikana. Erityisen selvästi tämä näkyy, jos ajallista muutosta tarkastel-laan vuodesta 2000 asti. Sosioekonomisesti heikoimpien alueiden ryhmässä osalla alueista tilan-ne on pysynyt ennallaan ja osalla jäänyt selvästi kaupungin keskitasosta jälkeen. Muutamilla alueilla, kuten esimerkiksi Myllypurossa, sosioekonominen rakenne on puolestaan kohentunut runsaan lisärakentamisen tuoman väestönlisäyksen seurauksena.
The socioeconomic sum index of Helsinki May 2020. The index sums up the portion of low education level, unemployed and low income residents. Education data from turn of the year 2019, unemployment percentage from turn of the year 2018 and income data from the year 2017 (grey = no data).

Distinctive, vibrant and interesting residential areas

With the Helsinki City Strategy, the importance and value of complementary construction in old areas alongside completely new residential areas has increased in recent years. The positive change increases well-being and creates sustainable growth for the city.

Helsinki is a pioneer in sustainable urban development. Sustainable urban development in Helsinki means an energy-efficient, dense city that is built around rail connections in a climate-wise manner and utilising the circular economy. It also means a socially sustainable city where the segregation of residential areas is halted by active urban renewal.

Helsinki launches a new cross-division urban renewal model with Malminkartano-Kannelmäki, Malmi and Mellunkylä selected as pilot areas. In these areas, a significant part of the built environment has reached a stage in its life cycle where renewal is called for. The choice was also influenced by the location of the regions near good rail connections.

The aim of the urban renewal is to improve the comfort and attractiveness of the residential areas comprehensively across division boundaries and to enable high-quality complementary construction. The urban renewal is a tool by which Helsinki aims to achieve this strategic goal and, thereby, enable the equality and well-being of the city districts. The aim of the urban renewal is to both preserve and develop distinctive, vibrant and interesting residential areas that offer different options for living, outdoor activities and enjoyment.


  • Experiences of the urban renewal model and its extension to new areas.
  • Helsinki has generally been reasonably successful in tackling the development of segregation.

Development targets

  • The growth of the city threatens local green areas, which are particularly important for disadvantaged people.
  • Housing costs are constantly increasing in Helsinki.
  • Differences between regions have increased, and ethnic segregation has increased over the past 10 years.

Links to related programmes, reports and websites