Laajasalo is an evolving green district, located on an island just east of Helsinki downtown. With a rich and varied history, presently Laajasalo is busy building quality residential solutions, services and connections. As the Kruunusillat (Crown Bridges) will be fully built – around 2026 – Laajasalo will get to enjoy superb tram connections to/from downtown Helsinki. In 2018, there were about 16,000 residents in Laajasalo.
The upcoming tramline is already shaping the development plans of the area, as residential quarters are launched by the tracks. At the same time, the decision has been made to develop Yliskylä area as the centre of the community.
In the coming years, Yliskylä will feature homes for 7,000 new residents. In the Koirasaarentie street and Ilomäentie street area alone there will be construction to the tune of 65,000 square metres, for about 1,600 residents.
In November 2018, shopping centre Saari opened its doors in Yliskylä, bringing a variety of new services to the heart of the community. In addition to commercial services, also a library and youth premises can be found here.
The main street of the area, Laajasalontie, will be developed into an urban boulevard, with the tram tracks running in the middle and trees lining both sides of the boulevard. The broad boulevard – 47 metres wide – will feature four driving lanes as well as light traffic lanes, too. In addition to apartments, also services will be featured along the boulevard, located in the northern part of Laajasalontie.
In 2017, the City of Helsinki turned to the ‘European 14’ architectural contest for ideas on how to best realise the Boulevard. The winning entry in the European 14 contest was ‘Lateral Coalescence’ by Lotta Kindberg and Nea Tuominen. The objective in the contest was to study how to transform a largely suburban neighbourhood into an urban, marine district of its own right.
The entry was credited by the jury for finding the perfect balance between the boulevard, natural values, launch of the new urban centre and connection to the sea. The City is working together with the winning team to develop the ideas further and to integrate them into the urban planning of the coming years.
Known as Yliskylä Bay area, this competition area in the northern end of Laajasalontie is to be constructed in the 2030’s. According to preliminary plans, approximately 120,000 square metres could be built here, utilising (at least in part) also landfill areas.
Yliskylä Bay will deliver homes with views to the sea and close to the shore, with perhaps 2,900 local residents, eventually. The planning of the area is still, however, in its infancy.
As the new urban phase kicks off in Laajasalo, special consideration is given to the preservation of the area’s natural values. There are large green areas that will remain as before; the eastern shoreline, on the other hand, will enjoy improved access thus boosting the maritime appeal of the community.
The development potential of the Laajasalo shoreline is considerable and also the residents of the area are participating in the plan-making. For example, the first workshop on the issues was held in spring 2018. Going forward, the idea is to launch new pedestrian routes by the sea and diversify local service offering.