Helsinki is a forerunner of sustainable urban development. In the City of Helsinki, sustainability is reviewed from three different perspectives: social sustainability, ecological sustainability and financial sustainability. A balance between these allows for promoting sustainable development and a comprehensive, good life.

Sustainable urban development in Helsinki means an energy-efficient, dense city that is built based on rail transport connections in a climate-smart way while utilising circular economy. It also means a socially sustainable city, where the segregation of residential areas is prevented through active city renewal. These pages contain information about the various ways we are building Helsinki into the most equal, most climate-smart city in the world.

Carbon-neutral Helsinki

The objective is to make Helsinki into a carbon neutral city by 2035. The City strives to achieve this goal through 147 climate actions, many of which are related to construction and urban development. Read more about the Carbon neutral Helsinki action plan

Circular economy

In spring 2020, the City of Helsinki released a roadmap to circular economy. Circular economy refers to economical use of natural resources, valuing waste as a raw material and the transition from consumerism and ownership towards services and digitalisation. In construction, circular economy also refers to increasing the reuse of materials, for example by recycling soil masses.

Re-thinking ​Urban Housing

Through the Re-thinking Urban Housing programme, the City of Helsinki, together with real estate developers, is piloting new innovations for residential blocks of flats. Sustainability, energy-efficiency and climate-friendly construction have played an increasingly important role in the Re-thinking Urban Housing projects. Blocks of flats are central to sustainable urban development, as 86% of all apartments in Helsinki are located in them.


The City of Helsinki’s city strategy has recently helped highlight the significance and value of infill construction in addition to building completely new residential areas. Positive change in old suburban areas increases well-being and achieves sustainable growth for the city.

Read more about topic Suburban regeneration

The energy-efficiency requirements of buildings are growing stricter, which means that when the energy use stemming from housing decreases, the role of construction materials grows larger. Due to this, Helsinki aims to promote wooden construction in many ways.

Read more about topic Wood construction