Join us in making the centre of Helsinki even more attractive and functional! You can share your ideas and take part in the discussion in online surveys and virtual events.

Join us in developing the city centre

New apartments and office and business premises are being planned in Helsinki city centre. The City also wants to improve the attractiveness and functionality of the city centre. Even though the guidelines for developing the city centre have been compiled in the City Strategy and the Master Plan, a great deal of planning and discussion is still needed before implementation of these changes can be started. We wish to invite you to join this discussion.

 

Cosy urban spaces as the aim of city centre development

An attractive city centre is a city’s calling card and crucial for Helsinki. The aim is that the centre of Helsinki be a vibrant and attractive focal point for commercial services, events, well-being and civic activities. The favourable development of the centre area is a critical success factor for the vitality of the entire city, particularly in the light of the coronavirus crisis’s impacts. The development of the centre area can be divided into several interdependent topics. The city centre vision, the proposals on the development of a pedestrianised city centre and the centralisation of harbour operations as well as the development of the South Harbour area jointly make up a substantial whole.

The City Board will consider the policies pertaining to a pedestrianised city centre in January 2021. The proposal is to extend the city centre’s mainly pedestrianised area through the provision of more versatile functions and through enhancing the quality of the urban space.  In the area of Pohjoisesplanadi and Aleksanterinkatu, the idea is to increase the number of spaces opening towards the street and to improve transverse pedestrian paths. A more pedestrian-friendly layout of Fabianinkatu is also proposed. South of Esplanadi, the agenda proposes an improved pedestrian connection towards Kasarmitori on Fabianinkatu and Kasarmikatu streets, taking advantage of the absence of the harbour’s truck traffic. Additionally, the attractiveness of Kasarmitori and the operating conditions of businesses are to be improved, while the pedestrian connection to the market is to be improved by restricting car traffic on Fabianinkatu or Pohjoinen Makasiinikatu. Pedestrian connections shall also be improved towards Makasiiniranta, and a shore route is to be developed in the environment of the South Harbour and in Katajanokka.

Competition to find the best overall South Harbour plan

On 9 November 2020, the City Board reserved an area in the South Harbour for a quality and concept competition. The aim is to change the area currently used mainly for harbour terminal operations and parking into an attractive, pedestrianised public urban space connecting the Market Square with Kaivopuisto and giving access to the sea.

The main objective of the Makasiininranta quality and concept competition is to produce an implementable overall land use plan for use as the basis for detailed planning. The plan should be of exceptionally high quality and functionality and implement the city’s objectives in terms of land use, urban landscape and other aspects. It must be considered in the competition that the area extending from the old market hall to Olympia Terminal comprises a part of the national landscape of maritime Helsinki, a built cultural environment of national significance and a UNESCO world heritage protection zone. The aim is to launch the two-phase quality and concept competition in March 2021. The competition is intended for operators in the construction and real estate sector. It is possible to propose culture, service, business and other facility construction for the area, but residential construction is excluded. The competition scope also contains the area planned for the architecture and design museum. The actual implementation of the Museum will be decided on at a later stage based on a separate architecture competition. The design principles of the area and the competition programme will be decided on by the Urban Environment Committee in early 2021. The design principles will be prepared in interaction with the residents and other stakeholders.

The competition entries will be opened for public display and consultation in both phases of the competition. The entries will be evaluated based on the quality of the plans presented. Particular attention will be paid to the quality of the plans in terms of urban landscape, the functionality and implementability of the concept, the quality of the pedestrian environment and urban space, and the solutions contributing to the implementation of the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 programme.

The detailed planning of Makasiiniranta and Olympiaranta will start with a participation and evaluation plan on 25 January 2021. The plans and reviews concerning the area are available through the map service (below). 

Upon conclusion of the Makasiiniranta competition, the City Board’s Economic Development Division will decide on a development reservation for the competition’s winner during 2022, approximately after which a draft detailed plan will be drawn up. It is possible that the competition will be followed by separate, more detailed architecture competitions regarding each site in the area.

Centralisation of harbour operations into West Harbour proposed

According to the relevant change proposal, operations of the Port of Helsinki are to be centralised into the West Harbour. Passenger car ferry traffic would cease in the South Harbour but continue in Katajanokka. With the elimination of the current passenger car ferry traffic from the South Harbour area, space will be freed up for a higher-quality urban environment in terms of both urban landscape and landscape in general. The service traffic route and the location of the shore route can also be re-evaluated.

The aim of Helsinki is to ensure the operating conditions of the Port. From the viewpoint of Helsingin Satama Oy and its customers, the solution opens up a long-term development prospect for harbour operation and traffic. A harbour tunnel between the West Harbour and Länsiväylä is planned to be implemented as an investment by the Port, enabling the extension of the operations of the West Harbour and the smooth arrangement of harbour traffic. The final decision on the Port operation changes will be made by the City Council. If the changes are adopted, Helsingin Satama Oy will launch the preparation of a development programme to implement the required investments.

City centre vision describes desirable future of city centre

The city centre vision of Helsinki was created together with the residents, stakeholders and specialists and it highlights the area’s potential and strengths to form the basis for the inner city’s land use and traffic plans.The Urban Environment Committee approved the vision on 6 October 2020 and presented it to the City Board for approval in January 2021.

The extensive zoning and transport engineering projects in the inner city, alongside several smaller projects, will change the urban structure and its focal points on a both physical and functional level.The new sites to be changed should be considered against the desired future state.The city centre vision is a guiding tool with strategies that ensures that the land use plans and transport engineering in the city centre will follow the direction represented by the city strategy and the master plan.

The vision and its extensive interactions and knowledge base create the basis for the work bringing the old detailed plans of the inner city up to date. The vision will also be utilised for other land use plans in the area. These indicative policies will be a starting point for the planning of the blocks and the park and street areas of the city centre.The decision on the city centre vision will be made by the City Board.

Helsinki city centre vision – policies for planning land use and traffic in the city centre

The vision’s main focus has been the source of dialogue with the operators, users and residents of the city centre as well as its business life and experts. The objective has been to facilitate discussion about the area’s future above the scale of individual projects, and nearly 10,000 people took part in the dialogue regarding the vision.

What will the future inner city be like? Description of the dialogue concerning the city centre vision

Updating the inner city detailed plans

The inner city detailed plans will be updated to suit the current situation and meet the modern objectives.  The inner city still features detailed plans that have been valid since the 1830s. The objective of updating the plans is to facilitate maintaining the sustainability, character and culture values of the inner city. Another aim is to ensure the equal treatment of property owners and secure the inner city’s vitality. The zoning work covers the existing urban structure and public areas. New construction areas are not included in its scope.

Savonkatu to be developed together with the residents

On 11 January 2021, the Helsinki City Board approved NCC’s development reservation for the Savonkatu area in Alppila and Pasila. The aim is to also involve the residents extensively in the project to develop the area into a carbon-neutral city block and shape Savonkatu into a communal, active and attractive street area as a part of the inner city. The area will become a natural part of Alppila and the entire inner city of Helsinki. You can review the more detailed terms of the Savonkatu development reservation here.

The initial development reservation area covers about 160,000 floor square metres of business premises construction on both sides of Savonkatu, as well as hotel and commercial facilities, parking space, hybrid and teaching premises and apartments. NCC is also reviewing the area for the placement of its new business location in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. In addition to the development reservation, NCC is planning to apply for a plot reservation in the area for 45,000 floor square meters for office construction, covering at least 35% of the entire development reservation.

The planning architect is JKMM Arkkitehdit. The purpose of the architecture is to provide a high-quality, dense urban structure and a link between the historical Konepaja district and the new Keski-Pasila area. A green zone with open rock formations will remain between the residential blocks and the commercial area. The project’s landscape architect is Nomaji maisema-arkkitehdit Oy. The partner for implementing the development plans of the area’s energy solution is Helen Oy. To achieve high energy-efficiency in the area, the plans will focus on utilising local resources, such as geothermal energy, solar power and solar heat. Increasing the utilisation rate of the buildings to be constructed through shared use of the real estate resources is planned together with a real estate startup, Spacent Oy.

Active inclusion of residents in the planning

Different options for increasing the vitality of the area and linking it smoothly to the functionalities of the inner city will be sought via active participation during the planning process. Various ways to influence the development plans for the area will be offered to the stakeholders and city residents. Information about the development stage plans, the area itself and participation opportunities and their schedule is available online at www.savonkatukehittyy.fi. The City and NCC are hoping for the public’s active participation at all stages of the project.

Surveys, polls, interviews, a virtual walk around the area and a resident event will be held in 2021 to collect the different perspectives and knowledge. 

Over summer 2021, alternative plans will be presented based on the input data gathered through these interactions. The residents will have the chance to give feedback on the plans through the Kerrokantasi service. A more detailed area plan will be compiled as a basis for the detailed plan change by utilising these comments.

Complementary construction planned on Elielinaukio Square

The area around Helsinki Railway Station will be renewed. As a part of this change, we wish to shape the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area into a modern, attractive and lively part of the pedestrian centre. An international, invitation-only architecture competition will be held to develop the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area. The objective is to prepare the detailed plan renewal based on the winning competition entry. Planning principles will be compiled as guidelines for designing the area.

The architecture competition started in November 2020. The competition entries will be presented on the uusieliel.fi website soon after the competition term ends in March 2021. A Kerrokantasi survey will be launched to gather the public’s comments, asking for feedback on these entries and ideas for their further refinement. The feedback received will then be used to evaluate the competition entries. Based on the preliminary schedule, the winner will be chosen in July 2021. The goal is to draft a new detailed plan for the area, based on the winning design. The audience can follow the competition’s progress online at uusieliel.fi.

The plans for the renovation of park and street areas in Kaisaniemenpuisto, Varsapuistikko and Kaisaniemenranta have been started

Kaisaniemenpuisto is the oldest public park in Finland and the oldest historic park in the centre of Helsinki. The goal is to develop Kaisaniemenpuisto into a lush, attractive urban park hosting a variety of events. The park layers valuable to the city’s history and the cityscape will be maintained and enhanced. The focal points of development lie in transportation arrangements, park renovations and structuring the activities while paying attention to cultural and landscape historical values.

Renewing the park’s valuable vegetation and complementing it when necessary is also a central aspect. The water maintenance network in the park area and other municipal technology will also be renovated.  The plans also cover Varsapuistikko and Kaisaniemenranta street.

The park and street plans will be completed in autumn 2020 and early 2021. The construction schedule will be specified later. The residents will have the chance to review the plans’ drafts later this year. Presenting the park and street plan drafts and the park and street plan proposals for public viewing will be advertised to the neighbouring properties of these parks and streets by letter and online on the City of Helsinki’s website at www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/housing/planning/current (under the section Areas under planning).

The decision-making related to park and street plans can also be viewed on the City of Helsinki’s website, on the pages of the Urban Environment Committee: www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/administration/decision/committees.

The park and street plans are based on the detailed plan currently in use.

Further information

Kaija Laine, City of Helsinki, Land use and city structure, Tel. 09 310 38625, kaija.laine@hel.fi

Tiina Perälä, Landscape architecture agency Näkymä Oy, Tel. 09 622 71727, tiina.perala@nakyma.com

Teollisuuskatu to become a centre of business life and urban culture

The Teollisuuskatu axis between Pasila and Kalasatama will be developed into a major hub of jobs, business life and urban culture. The area’s traffic connections will also be improved for all modes of transport. A district plan is currently being compiled for the area. It will create the guidelines for the area’s future development and determine the key principles of planning, such as city block and green structure and traffic arrangements. The district plan will be the basis for the area’s detailed plan.

The district plan’s drafts were up for public viewing and commentary via the Kerrokantasi service in autumn 2020, and the materials can still be viewed through the service.

A new job area and an underground parking garage are proposed to be built in Hietalahdenranta

The City has reserved the Hietalahdenranta area for HGR Property Partners Oy for the development of a business premise project and further reviews of its potential implementation. HGR Property Partners Oy is a Finnish real estate development and investment company that focuses on notable real estate development projects in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The City Board’s Economic Development Sub-committee made the decision regarding the matter on 11 May 2020. The development reservation will remain valid until 31 December 2022.

The project’s initial goal is to build at least 15,000 floor square metres of business premises in Hietalahdenranta. The project supports many of the City’s goals by improving the public spaces and cityscape, adding more business premises to the current urban structure, making traffic arrangements more efficient and improving the area’s attractiveness and comfort both functionally and commercially. The aim is to turn the area into a public and attractive, pedestrian-friendly urban space that connects Hietalahdentori and Bulevardi to the developing Telakkaranta area and allows access to the seashore.

The dialogue was launched in September 2020

The City wishes to develop Hietalahdenranta and its surroundings together with the area’s residents, operators and users. One condition for the area’s development reservation was that the feedback received through the interactions would be taken into account in the planning. There has been an opportunity to participate in the project’s development since its early stages. Drafting of the principles and goals of the planning process was started in September 2020. They will guide how the area is developed in the future. The public were able to share their own views on drafting the planning principles in September 2020 via a Kerrokantasi survey. View the materials for Hietalahdenranta survey.

The party granted the development reservation will compile at least three different plans based on the goals set. The different, alternative plans can be evaluated and commented on in early 2021, provisionally.

Contact information

Sinikka Lahti, Architect, detailed planning of the inner city, tel. 09 310 37478, sinikka.lahti@hel.fi
Mia Kajan, Specialist, land property development and plots, tel. 09 310 15820, mia.kajan@hel.fi 
Ilkka Aaltonen, Property Development Manager, land property development and plots, tel. 09 310 36441, ilkka.aaltonen@hel.fi

Market Square to be renewed in stages

Development needs in the Market Square area are mainly related to transportation and connections, the placement of different functionalities and modernising the square’s technical systems. The focal points for planning are the Market Square’s historical value, the marine environment, the square’s significance as a central market place and a hub of urban living and its location in the pedestrianised inner city of Helsinki. The needs of evolving water traffic will also be taken into account in planning, such as the building of the new water route traffic terminal. The work will also attempt to improve the conditions for expanding and developing marketplace operations.

As determined by the area’s planning principles, the planning process has been facilitated through pilot projects, for example by decreasing the Market Square’s number of parking spaces in summer 2020, which allowed for the use of Keisarinluoto stage in a nearly car-free environment. At the moment, the worksite for Suomenlinna Fortress’s ferry pavilion, amongst other factors, is disrupting the traffic in the area.

The Market Square’s land use planning will proceed with a proposed land use plan in 2021.

Planning principles for the eastern part of South Harbour and Katajanokanranta

The objective of the plans for the eastern part of South Harbour and Katajanokanranta is to enhance the coastal nature of the city centre and connect the coastal areas of Katajanokka and the passenger harbour more closely to the pedestrianised city centre. The intention is to create a new maritime urban space with beach boulevards and attractive

activities. Areas for new construction will be reviewed as part of the work. The planning principles for decision-making will be prepared in 2020.

Katajanokanlaituri 4

A wooden, four-storey HQ and hotel building is planned to be built in the South Harbour, alongside Katajanokka Dock and in front of Tullihuone and Pakkahuone. The storage and commercial property in the area will be demolished. The lorry traffic departing from the harbour will move away from the coast at the new building, joining the Katajanokka street network along Ankkurikatu. The coastal area freed up from the lorry traffic will then be developed further into a pedestrian-friendly, high-quality public space. The functions at the building’s street level will support the active, public use of the beach area.

In early summer 2020, an international competition for invited participants was held for planning the area, and the winning entry was Spring. Learn more about the plan.

Major changes in Hakaniemi

A large amount of new construction is planned for Hakaniemi. More apartments are being planned in Hakaniemenranta and along the borders of Merihaka, and a new hotel will be built near Metallitalo, partly on landfill ground. Hakaniemensilta Bridge has reached the end of its service life and will be renewed, and the new light rail connection to Kruunuvuorenranta, to be completed in the 2020s, will run through this area. If the Helsinki City Rail Loop is completed, one of its stations will be built in Hakaniemi. A new parking garage is planned underneath Hakaniementori Square.

Read more about the planned Hakaniemi renewals.

The Maria Hospital area to expand into the largest growth company campus in Europe

Maria 01, located in the former Maria Hospital premises in Kamppi, is a non-profit startup hub that expanded its facilities to 20,000 square metres in late 2019. At the moment, more than 140 startups and growth companies use the premises. In addition to this, the location houses 20 venture capital funds and several startup ecosystem operators. Already, Maria 01 is the largest startup hub in the Nordic countries: nearly 1,200 people from 38 different countries work on the campus.

In the future, Maria 01 will expand even further, turning into the largest growth company campus in Europe, bringing together startups developing their ideas, major companies, investors looking for potential future stars, accelerators and R&D units.

According to the plan, the campus will continue to grow rapidly during the upcoming years, and, by 2026, it will cover about 70,000 square metres and offer facilities for around 650 operators and 4,000 employees. The new expansion of Maria 01 will be implemented by YIT, Keva and the City of Helsinki.

According to the plans, about a tenth of the 50,000 square metre expansion will be reserved for accommodation use, while another tenth is allocated to restaurants, services, well-being and sports facilities and event venues. The rest of the premises, about 40,000 m², will comprise office and conference spaces.

Helsinki Garden Arena along Nordenskiöldinkatu street

The Helsinki Garden project aims to build a new, private event arena along Nordenskiöldinkatu, next to the current ice rink. In addition to the arena, construction of business and commercial facilities, a hotel and apartments is planned in the area. The aim is to also link in the current ice rink as a part of the area. The options for modifying it into a smaller multi-purpose arena and sports and commercial facilities have been reviewed during the planning process.

Planning projects in the city centre on a map

Browse the city centre’s planning projects through the City's map service (below). 

Hesperia and Hakasalmi parks and Karamzininranta

The principles and goals for the plans regarding the development of Hesperia and Hakasalmi parks and Karamzininranta have been compiled.

Hesperia and Hakasalmi parks and Karamzininranta are part of the wider Töölönlahti area, which is central to the cityscape. The purpose is to shape the Töölönlähti area into a lush and attractive urban park. The park layers valuable to the city’s history and the cityscape will be maintained and enhanced. Karamzininranta will be designed to complement Finlandia Hall’s cityscape and its architectural value.

The focus on the development of these parks lies on developing the coastal route, placement of the various functionalities and maintaining and complementing the valuable tree stands. Maintaining the nature values and taking them into account in the plans are key aspects.

Some of the trees growing in Hesperia and Hakasalmi parks are aged, and their condition has been monitored carefully. Most of the brittle willows growing in a line along Töölänranta beach, significant to the cityscape, have needed to be removed due to their poor condition. In July 2019, one of the old trees in this treeline collapsed suddenly. Due to this, the aim is to speed up the area’s renovations and the renewal of this line of aged trees. The City’s maintenance services monitor the condition of the trees regularly.

The objective is to launch the park and city planning process in 2022. A more detailed nature and birdlife review of the area will be completed to support the more detailed plans, as well as a condition review of the brittle willows growing along the beach. The construction schedule will be specified later. The residents will have the chance to view the plan drafts and comment on them as the planning process progresses.

More information:

City of Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division

Aino Leskinen
Landscape Architect
tel. 09 310 20825 

Leena-Maija Kimari
Project Manager, traffic and street planning
tel. 09 310 34947

e-mails: firstname.lastname@hel.fi

Updated 12.3.2021