Östersundom is a rather unusual development area, since it is being realised as a joint effort between three municipalities: Helsinki, Vantaa and Sipoo. Covering an almost 50-square-kilometre area along the coastline, Östersundom is located 15 kilometres north-east from the centre of Helsinki. Currently, the area is covered mainly by forests and agricultural areas.
There are already 6,000 people living in Östersundom. At this time, Östersundom has no real urban centre to speak of. Its key residential areas are Salmenkallio, Talosaari, Karhusaari, Ultuna and Östersundom.
Since 2009, Östersundom has been a part of Helsinki, with the residents of the community using City’s services such as public transportation, daycare, schools or healthcare.
For instance, the Sakarinmäki school – located in the middle of Östersundom – has won also national acclaim via its commitment to sustainability: 80 % of the school’s energy usage is covered by renewable energy. Sakarinmäki school, with its expansion completed in 2014, is a Helen pilot project and also the first step in the neighbourhood’s ambitious Smart&Clean vision.
In December 2018, the Östersundom committee (of the three municipalities) approved the general zoning plan, following the approval of the respective municipal councils. As the Helsinki Metropolitan Area expands eastward, regional collaboration is needed to secure, for instance, functional mass transport.
Key among these considerations is the construction of an eastern metroline between Mellunmäki (Helsinki) and Majvik (Sipoo), conceivably during 2030’s. Eventually, the area will be connected to the Helsinki metro system with an eastern extension that features four new stations.
In terms of logistics, Östersundom is optimally located between the Vuosaari Harbour and Helsinki-Vantaa International airport via Ring Road III. The E18 growth corridor runs through the area connecting the Nordic capitals Oslo and Stockholm via Helsinki to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
The vision for residential living in Östersundom calls for active hubs around metro stations, with various hybrid residential/commercial solutions in use, while communities primarily made up of small houses are to be found a little distance away. According to plans, Östersundom could be a real pioneer for townhouse living in Finland.
In the coming years, the aim is to build a new “affiliate city” for Helsinki with 80,000-100,000 inhabitants and 30,000 jobs, largely focusing on cleantech enterprises. Extra potential –as well as character – is offered in the form of the Natura conservation area, covering 350 hectares of the planning area. At the same time, one has to recognise that safeguarding the Natura environment is also a challenge which requires smart, sustainable thinking.
Östersundom promises to be all about stress-free living, with emphasis on various forms of Sharing Economy. As three municipalities come together to realise this new community, there could be homes for 50,000 Helsinki residents, 15,000 Vantaa residents and 15,000 Sipoo residents here. In terms of land area, the master plan comprises 45 square kilometres, with Helsinki providing 29 square kilometres.
In Östersundom, energy solutions will be based on renewable energy sources. Progressive energy storage technology will be piloted and developed here. At the same time, the district wants to enable carbon-free mobility and explore the best practices of MaaS and sustainable transport.
Striving to become Finland’s premier Circular Economy community under the principle of ‘Everything recycles,’ Östersundom will waste nothing. All sidestreams from construction, living and business activity are to be fully utilised.
Furthermore, Östersundom will be a pilot area for nature-based solutions in construction. New solutions will target the best value for natural potential (winds, sun, sea, land topology etc.).
As these themes are pushed onwards, Östersundom has a real shot of becoming a carbon-binding “beyond zero” district which contributes – in its pioneering role – significantly to Helsinki’s carbon-neutral goal.