Does your opinion really matter in urban development?

An interesting question, now that the city is being developed and the residents invited to take a position towards the planning. Let me answer right away: your opinion matters. Right now you can influence how the Savonkatu neighbourhood will be built in the future.

Placemaking projects take a lot of time and effort. Opinions concerning Savonkatu have been gathered and analysed for directing the planning since 2013.

New questionnaires about the Savonkatu placemaking project permit gathering fresh insight and opinions not necessarily expressed before. The first maptionnaire (a questionnaire in the form of a map) about the Savonkatu area was opened on 15 January, and it will remain open for your answers until 15 February 2021. Now is a perfect opportunity to dive into our website at savonkatukehittyy.fi  and shape the future of Savonkatu.

What questions are asked in the maptionnaire?

We want to make many different voices heard in the planning. The dialogue helps us understand the types of spaces and services that the city dwellers actually want in the future Savonkatu area. You can tell us how you already spend time there, or if you are passing through the area, the modes of transport you use etc.

In the maptionnaire you can mark the areas which you find most pleasant, or the spots and routes you currently do not like so much. You can propose how the walking and biking conditions could be improved, the type of buildings you would like to find there, the functions you would appreciate in the parks and squares and the services and shops or spare-time facilities you expect to have.

For the planning of a carbon-neutral city district it is also important that you share information about your current life style and ways of working, including the action you are willing to take to support sustainability. For example, are you interested in social living and working, circular economy and sharing solutions?

We appreciate your thoughts and opinion

Should these terms sound unfamiliar, you will find the explanations in the maptionnaire. The main thing is to answer and influence the planning, so we can use your opinion as the basis for creating a lively human-scale city environment. We have acquired a much better notion of the city-dwellers’ thoughts already.

During the first days and based on over 350 responses received we already know, for example, what the drivers, bikers and users of the public transport, pedestrians, those working from home or at the workplaces are telling us. Circular economy, energy efficiency and new digital solutions represent an interest as does sharing economy, although at the moment the respondents do not have all that much experience of it.

People also feel strongly about the rocky hills in the area. They are on our common agenda with the existing co-operation partners: the new urban neighbourhood will be built respecting the nature which is so dear to the local residents.

Interaction takes the plans to a new level

We have been able to identify four different groups based on the preliminary analysis of the responses received: those having doubts about their ability to influence through inclusion; enthusiastic downtowners; believers in ability to influence who are opposed to development, and believers in influence in favour of development. So far, most of the respondents are pro-development and confident that their opinion matters.

The average image of the area for all respondents from negative to positive (0-100) was 61. When asked how willingly the respondents spent their time there, the average value came as high as 3.6 on a scale from 1 to 5. Regarding the questions remaining open, a small fraction of the respondents hoped the area remained just the way it was, but a greater share wanted to improve the conditions and services and to respect the typical green Alppila quarters and to leave the rocks untouched.

All views are equally welcome; however, the most high-flying ideas could not necessarily be embraced.

All answers have an influence and end up on the designers’ workdesk. There will be three different planning alternatives put on display for the residents, one of which will become the final solution developed as a result of joint elaboration.

Interaction between the residents and the planners of the Savonkatu area is now livelier than ever. Such extensive inclusion and background research were unheard of in the placemaking or property development projects I participated in during the last ten years. Things are really moving forward now – lots of them, actually.

Stay in touch! The dialogue continues.

Eelis Rytkönen
The developer-hippie that I am, energy matters are of particular interest to me. That’s why I am inviting one of our main co-operation partners to write the next blog entry: Development Manager Jouni Kivirinne from the energy company Helen Oy, please feel welcome to share your views!


Eelis Rytkönen, developer-hippie
NCC Property Development