On January 18th, the EUarenas team at University of Eastern Finland, together with the City of Helsinki, co-hosted a local future scenario workshop for the Kannelmäki neighbourhood in Helsinki, Finland. The event, which was attended by about 45 residents, aimed to provide a space for the residents to freely visualise and voice their ideas on what makes Kannelmäki a better place to live in.
The event was structured into three parts:
It has been shown in previous research that both Kannelmäki residents and the practitioners working with/in the neighbourhood considered cleanliness, maintenance of routes and street furniture, greenery, and health and social services to be the biggest contributors to comfortable living. However, there is still a significant gap between what people view as important versus whether they are satisfied with these comfort factors’ current states, such as the level of cleanliness, noise pollution, and non-traffic safety.
Envisioning the future
In groups of 5-10 people, participants shared their aspirations for the future of Kannelmäki and how to make it a better place to live in. The activities took place in the form of making vision boards, with people indicating where they would like to see changes using magazine cut-outs, stickers, post-it notes and other handicraft materials. The main wishes expressed on the maps were:
greenery, flowers and benches and improved lighting on public squares
retention, preservation and cleaning up of greenspaces and local nature sites
updating and upkeeping of the service infrastructure
reduction of noise pollution
Ideas for getting there
From there, participants identified the differences between the present and their ideal future states of the neighbourhood, as well as the necessary key steps and responsible organisations to make these futures happen. The most pressing concerns and/or actions to actualise their visions are:
developing a trans-generational sense of community through volunteering and open events
genuine interaction between residents and the City for long-term decision making
integration of local businesses into community activities
Other scenario workshops at the local level will be organised in Gdansk (Poland), Reggio Emilia (Italy), and Voru (Estonia). A pan-European workshop will be held in Berlin in May 2023, where policy-makers, citizens, academics, practitioners, and the EUarenas Community of Practice will unite to co-envision the future of democracy in Europe. The City of Helsinki also aims to use the results of the workshop for their development work, for example within the context of the ‘Suburban Regeneration Area’ initiative. Stay tuned!