Mellunkylä is a neighbourhood of Helsinki. It comprises the quarters Kontula, Kivikko, Kurkimäki, Mellunmäki and Vesala.
The Mellunkylä area has more than 38,000 inhabitants – the population of a medium-sized Finnish city. Population-wise, the biggest quarter in Mellunkylä is Kontula with almost 15,000 inhabitants. The second biggest quarter is Mellunmäki with 8,700 inhabitants. Vesala has around 7,400 inhabitants, Kivikko more than 5,000 inhabitants and Kurkimäki almost 3,000 inhabitants.
The area is growing and Mellunkylä will be the home of an increasing number of Helsinki residents in the future. It has been estimated that the number of Mellunkylä residents will exceed 41,000 by the year 2027.
Kontula, perhaps the most famous suburb in Finland, was built in the 1960s and 1970s and it was one of the first large suburbs of the urbanisation era. Kontula has always had a lot of residents and it is still the most populous area in Mellunkylä. There are a lot of elderly persons and children under the age of 15 in Kontula. In Kontula, the number of children is growing faster than elsewhere in the city on average.
Even though Kontula has a lot of residents, the area does not feel crowded. The high concrete blocks of flats with their ample gardens make up wider entities, connected by park-like forests. That is why it is possible to take long walks or bike rides in Kontula without crossing a road. The lesser-known Kontula is represented by the Kontula area of detached housing, which has been built since the 1950s and complemented to this day.
An asset and strength of Kontula is its comprehensive public and commercial services, which have been concentrated to the Kontula shopping centre. Thanks to the lively resident activities, many kinds of events and campaigns are arranged at the shopping centre and in its vicinity. A swimming hall, an artificial ice rink, skateboarding halls, sports parks and the upcoming skateboarding park offer excellent opportunities for exercise and sports. The metro station ensures good transport links to the city centre.
Kivikko is the youngest housing area in Mellunkylä. The construction of Kivikko started only in the 1990s. Before the housing development, Kivikko was the home of the Malmi shooting range, which was used e.g., as the competition arena for shooting sports at the Helsinki Summer Olympics. Nowadays, one of Helsinki’s biggest sports parks has replaced the shooting range. In the sports park, you can play frisbee golf, ski in the skiing hall, do agility with a dog, play football on an artificial grass pitch or do tricks with a bike on the BMX track. One of the best preserved fortress chains from the World War I era is also located in the Kivikko outdoor recreation area. Then there are also Helsinki's highest rock hills, 9,000-year-old relics in the northern part of Kivikko.
The Kivikko housing area borders the Kivikko outdoor recreation area in the west, Ring I in the south and Kurkimäki and Kontula in the east. The residential buildings are located along a couple of main roads, as a zone measuring 200–300 meters in width. In the Kivikko area with blocks of flats, the buildings have 4–6 floors and they are painted with light colours. The detached houses are located at the outskirts of Kivikko, for example, at Patterikuja.
The Kivikko industrial area was built by the Lahdenväylä, in Kivikonlaita, in the 2010s. The industrial area has, e.g., a YTV Sortti station, a concrete station, food industry, small-scale industry, transport companies and the archive for the city's social and health care. New homes are currently being built in the immediate vicinity of the Kivikko junction.
Kurkimäki was built in the 1980s between Kontula and Myllypuro, in the old Kurkisuo recreation area. The original plans for Kurkimäki included more massive buildings, but due to resistance from the residents in the adjacent areas, the buildings in Kurkimäki were realised on a considerably smaller scale – the building stock in the area consists of low small blocks of flats and balcony access blocks.
The heart of Kurkimäki is made up of the Kurkimäki Park, around which the dense housing blocks have been built. The housing area is ideal for families with children, as the vehicle traffic has been separated from the bicycle and pedestrian traffic in a way, which makes it possible to move in the area safely without crossing roads. The residential comfort is increased by the recently refurbished sports park near Keinutien koulu and the Children's Cultural Centre Musikantit offering music, dance and arts activities for children at the Kurkimäki community house. The first children’s music festival was arranged in Kurkimäki in 1996 and since then, such events have been regularly arranged in the area.
The housing blocks on the eastern side of Kontulantie are among the newer buildings in Kurkimäki. The Kurkimäki industrial area is located between the metro track and Kontulantie. In Kurkimäki, like in Kivikko, some parts of fortresses have been preserved from the World War I era.
The Vesala area of detached housing is one of the oldest areas in Mellunkylä. The first veterans' houses (rintamamiestalo) were built in spring 1946 at the old Mellunkyläntie, or the present-day Muinaistutkijantie and Humikkalantie. In the 1960s, flooding brooks, oat fields and shabby private roads were part of the milieu. The landscape in present-day Vesala is very different, as the housing area has become increasingly compact. However, the majority of Vesala is still a rather spacious area of detached housing.
The Vesala area with blocks of flats was mainly built in the 1980s, on both sides of Kontulantie, along the metro track. The development of Vesala has been most affected by the building of Kontula, which brought services to the residents of Vesala, and the extension of the metro all the way to Mellunmäki, which ensured adequate transport links to other parts of the city.
As a housing area, Vesala is green – there are six parks in the area, which form a pleasant entity. The plantings on the yards of the detached houses add to the greenery. The surrounding nature and community make people want to stay in the area.
Mellunmäki has been built in layers – the first areas with blocks of flats in Mellunmäki were initiated in the 1960s and 1970s, and the compact housing blocks near the Mellunmäki metro station were built in the late 1980s. The areas with blocks of flats in the northern part of Mellunmäki were built in the 1990s. A major part of the Mellunmäki residents lives in blocks of flats, but there are detached houses as well, which were built during the decade after the Second World War.
New Mellunmäki is developed rapidly at the moment. During the last few years, the Tankovainio residential area has been built next to Itäväylä and Fallpakka. The old Mellunmäki shopping centre has made way for construction of new housing and premises. About 300 new homes will be built in the Naulakallio area over the next few years. In the new construction, buildings are relatively low and the new housing stock will also include detached houses. Significant traffic projects, like the Vantaa Tram, are being planned in the Mellunmäki area.
The Mellunmäki urban structure is seamlessly connected to Länsimäki in Vantaa, and the Westerkulla mansion with its vast fields is just around the corner. In the northern part of Mellunmäki is the Mustavuori conservation area, where visitors can relax in wonderful outdoor terrains.