Vibrant neighbourhoods offer the opportunity for a good and active life, based on safe and pleasant housing and urban space. Good planning and smooth mobility 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 wellbeing. Culture and arts play an important role in promoting community spirit, increasing mental wellbeing and providing experiences of participation. During the previous council term, Helsinki approved a vision for arts and culture that extends to 2030.
Reasonably priced housing is still a way off
In Helsinki, SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) is being met in many respects: for example, Helsinki’s subsidised ARA housing is among the most affordable in Finland and the housing situation for the most disadvantaged is good by international standards. However, particular attention should be paid to facilitating reasonably priced housing, preventing segregation and providing opportunities for residents to participate.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on population growth in Helsinki, but it is predicted that growth will recover in the next few years. With the growing population, there is a high demand for housing in Helsinki, and therefore housing prices in Helsinki are still higher than in the rest of the country. This is a challenge for the realisation of reasonably priced housing. A set of indicators that measure the proportions of income and housing expenses in different types of households is being developed to analyse the actual availability of reasonably priced housing. The rise in housing prices is being curbed by measures such as building new housing in the city. In recent years, more homes have been built in Helsinki than in decades; for example, in 2021 the city reached the annual target of 7,000 new homes. In 2022, housing construction showed a levelling off from the peak figures of the previous years.
The development of residential areas will continue through both the construction of new areas and the development and infill of existing ones. Housing construction is strong in Kalasatama, Jätkäsaari, Kruunuvuorenranta and Pasila.
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 wellbeing and creates sustainable growth.
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 has launched a cross-sectoral suburban regeneration model, with Malminkartano–Kannelmäki, Malmi, Meri-Rastila and Mellunkylä as the implementation sites. In these areas, a significant part of the built environment has reached a stage in its lifecycle where renewal is called for. The selection of the areas was influenced by their location along good rail connections.
The aim of the suburban regeneration model is to improve the comfort and attractiveness of the residential areas comprehensively across division boundaries and enable high-quality complementary construction. The aim is also to make existing residents more comfortable in their neighbourhoods, while making the areas more attractive to new residents. Another aim is to both maintain and create unique, lively and attractive residential areas that offer a wide range of opportunities for housing and recreation. Suburban regeneration is a tool by which Helsinki aims to achieve this strategic goal and thereby enable the equality and wellbeing of the city districts.
- Helsinki has generally been reasonably successful in tackling the development of segregation.
- The experiences of the suburban regeneration model have been positive.
Areas for development:
- The growth of the city threatens local green areas that residents consider important.
- Housing costs are high in Helsinki.
- Segregation can be observed between neighbourhoods, and ethnic segregation has increased over the past decade.
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