Helsinki’s location by the sea has not been sufficiently utilized. The next targets for the reforms are the eastern islands of Malkasaari and the western, northern and eastern villaluoto.
Sea is an integral part of Helsinki, the essence of the city and its inhabitants, each of whom lives within a radius of less than ten kilometers from the seafront.
However, in the past, maritime affairs have not been sufficiently exploited in urban planning, tourism or events.
Helsinki’s maritime strategy was a flagship project of the past city council, which aimed to bring the sea closer to the city’s citizens and promote Helsinki’s attractiveness. Work will continue.
HS explained what has been achieved in recent years and what the future still brings.
A lot has been done, and much remains to be done. This is what the project manager of the project says Mint Perttula from his second hometown of Seattle, USA.
Perttula has previously worked in Metsähallitus’ nature services as a special planner in the Helsinki metropolitan area, and thanks to him, among other things, Vallisaari opened up in 2016 for the use of the city’s residents.
Perttula says he got a lot of inspiration from Seattle. According to him, the city is a real mecca for hiking, where nearby nature attractions have been utilized in abundance to the delight of the townspeople.
In Helsinki, the project of the Marine Strategy is most concretely reflected in the fact that maritime destinations are now better available to Helsinki residents.
“There are 300 different types of islands in Helsinki, of which we have considered those that can be used for recreational use in terms of natural values. They have now been systematically opened and will be continued,” says Perttula.
Perttulan believes that it is important to understand that the Helsinki archipelago has its own characteristics that are different from, for example, the Turku archipelago. Many of the islands in Helsinki are vacated by the Defense Forces or Helsinki’s summer lodge islands.
“The development of the islands requires an understanding of their history: it is pointless to take a fishing village to an island where there has never been such a tradition.”
Many renovations have been made to Vasikkasaari and Vartiosaari, for example, to which routes, signs and toilets have been added. They have improved waste management and access to the islands has been facilitated by increasing water traffic.
Next up is the eastern archipelago of Helsinki. The aim is to improve maritime services and the accessibility of sites, promote maritime events and continue to open the nearby archipelago for recreational use.
The targets of the reforms include Malkasaari and Läntinen, Pohjoinen and Itäinen Villaluoto.
“We have thought a lot about how to profile the Helsinki archipelago, respecting its past but without making too easy solutions.”
Read more: There are more than 20 maritime excursion destinations in front of Helsinki and Espoo – These islands can be reached without your own boat
One An example of the islands’ creative use is Vallisaari, where the Helsinki Biennale, which also gained attention abroad this summer, opened. It is a biennial visual arts event.
More than 70,000 visitors have already visited the Biennale this summer. According to Perttula, this is a gratifying number of people, especially when international guests have been absent due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Perttula, the other islands that are being renewed are mainly focused on promoting sustainable and functional hiking. In the future, Helsinki will have dozens of islands where it is even easier to relax.
In beach areas maritime is easy to harness for more efficient use.
There are approx 120 km of public shoreline, from which a continuous network of walking and cycling routes is modified.
The route will be developed in stages by adding lighting and signage along it. The city center tour is already ready, and now the back of Seurasaari is being done, Perttula says.
“We surveyed people’s wishes along the beach route, and these included public saunas, cafes and sup-ferry rentals. They have now been implemented and are being implemented more and more. ”
The city of Helsinki offers three new marine sauna plots for rent Seurasaari, Hietaniemi and Tarvo Island.
In connection with saunas for general use, tenants can also open café and restaurant activities.
Tenant search is open until the end of September. It is open to everyone and rents are pre-determined.
Skipper’s city boats, for example, have also been extremely popular as corona, Perttula says. Like a city bike, a city dweller can buy rowing boats that can be borrowed for the season.
“We believe the shared boats have come to stay. Now we are thinking about what kind of services people who do not have their own boat but use city boats need. ”
Perttula says that huge numbers of bathing places and stairs are constantly being hoped for.
Why not build more such places to facilitate access to swimming?
According to Perttula, the biggest slowdown is ensuring the safety of places.
“We’ve heard people’s wishes, and we’re constantly looking at how these can be safely fulfilled.”
For example, at the northwestern tip of Jätkäsaari in Saukonpaade, from where large stairs descend directly into the Gulf of Finland, it is easy for a city dweller to take a dip in the sea.
However, for safety reasons, due to passing ship and boat traffic, it is not an official bathing place in the city or made for that purpose. Bathing is at your own risk.
Read more: Jätkäsaari’s popular swimming ladder is not built against swimming, contrary to popular belief – The city does not take responsibility if something happens
Another much-desired thing, according to Perttula, is the addition of boat berths in the vicinity of beach restaurants.
In the future years, Perttula says his team focuses a lot on the maintenance and upkeep of existing sites.
“I believe that in urban nature sites, where visitor pressure is high, effective maintenance and camping etiquette communication are key to making use sustainable and responsible.”