Urban planning Professor Kai Wartiainen criticizes the way Helsinki is built: “New town plans are like those of the former Soviet Union”

Helsinki should transfer the master plan belonging to the field of urban environment to the city government, Wartiainen, known as a dissident, suggests.

Urban development professor, architect Kai Wartiainen would radically shake urban planning.

He urges Helsinki to abandon all the long-standing “cults” related to urban planning when seeking the future direction of the city and condensing the city.

By this he says he means, for example, ways of zoning and traffic planning in which nothing can be done otherwise.

Wartiainen has been a radical urban planning dissident throughout his career. He has especially criticized Helsinki’s operations.

For the last 24 years, he has looked at things from a Swedish perspective: he has worked and lived in Stockholm since 1997, although he has also worked in Finland.

“No one in the Helsinki organization seems to know what words are planning and design differential. Sweden has the same problem. When I asked the students there the difference between these words, they didn’t know it. ”

Wartiainen compares this to the fact that students at the School of Economics would not know the difference between buying and selling.

“In the current way, a dead city is created, even though no one has such a space, but a living environment.”

No distinctive Finnish translations can be found for the words describing the design. Wartiainen opens up meanings: when planning creates opportunities and paves the way for new alternatives, design rules out alternatives.

“If you want a living city, you have to take a model from mycelium. They are the engine of evolution. The city operates like a mycelium. ”

The professor considers Helsinki’s design to be very design-oriented, and according to him, it stifles alternatives.

Last During his time, he has been involved in, among other things, the development project of Elielinaukio.

Elielin Development Oy consists of the area’s property owners Ilmarinen, OP-Vuokratuotto, VR, SOK, Exilion and Evata Partners, which specializes in property development and investment.

The competition program set a target of 40,000 gross square meters of above-ground construction.

Read more: Elielinaukion’s overly massive depraved plans may change – No clear winner found in the Architecture Competition

Read more: “I first looked for help” – HS publishes massive plans to change the core of Helsinki

Wartiainen estimates that this boundary condition does not create an “urban space”. He uses a metric as a measure of the urbanity of a block, which is calculated by dividing the circle of plot boundaries in the block by the entire district. The number must be at least one.

For example, Fredrikinkatu in Helsinki has a very urban, lively street almost all the way.

“If you want a living city, you have to take a model from mycelium. They are the engine of evolution. The city operates like a mycelium. ”

He refers Merlin Sheldraken on the subject Entagled life to a work that he says changed his thinking about urban planning.

Helsinki greetings to the future mayor of Wartiainen.

In his view, master planning in the field of urban environment should be transferred to the city government, “building design-like” town planning should be stopped, and building control should be an independent actor. That way no one would be able to dominate.

Substantial additional construction is planned for Elielinaukio (pictured right). There is an ongoing architectural competition for the plans.

He also suggests that in the further planning of Elielinaukio, the delimitation of the area should be changed and several plots of land should be formed in the square instead of one.

“When urban planning doesn’t work, more regulations are produced. Helsinki’s new town plans and regulations are like the five-year plans of the former Soviet Union. Admittedly, their effect is much longer-term. The formula is just the planner’s vision of the future, although it should be born in symbiosis with all actors. ”

Fishing port and Jätkäsaari is described by Wartiainen as regional construction sites which, despite their ugliness, are “a hundred times better than the neighborhoods once made.”

He considers the suburbs of Helsinki, which were built in the banking world, to be a problem Mauno Koiviston in the view at the time, temporary. They were to be demolished when Finland could afford better, perhaps as early as 40 years after construction.

In the suburbs, Wartiainen supports additional construction, but the detached house areas should not be affected.

“Building protection is driving deeper than Helsinki to the ground, and soon the basic clause of construction and design will be proved: there is no such bad joke that it could not be true.”

Wartiainen also criticizes Stockholm’s planning. According to him, in Sweden, the urban space “is based on the passability of a garbage truck, a waste cult”.

He suddenly did not invent a city in Europe that would have shaken his urban planning into a whole new faith.

“From the aerial view, Helsinki is a ragged and gauze city. The city is too big and its center is too small. ”

In his opinion, Helsinki should be expanded outwards from the core and abandon the main highway boulevard thinking that remained in the master plan after the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court. There could be new boulevards in the middle of the city.

“Helsinki would make the city a 15-minute city, but it will not be created by European methods when we do not have a medieval center, as in Oslo and St. Petersburg. This is where you should come up with your own way to supplement construction. ”



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