Blog: City plan

City plan draft shows how Helsinki is envisioned to grow

The newly completed Helsinki city master plan draft shows how Helsinki can grow by 250,000 new residents by 2050. like channels to the city centre by turning the motorways into city boulevards inside Ring Road I.

The boulevards developed from Vihdintie and Itäväylä would extend to the city limits, as they already have a street-like character all the way to the city limits. Parts of Länsiväylä and Itäväylä could be covered.

“We will need more space for enterprises near the city centre and more housing to meet the increased demand for urban housing,” says City Plan Manager Rikhard Manninen of the Helsinki City Planning Department.

In addition to the inner city, the city master plan draft proposes new construction especially for the Malmi Airport area, for rail transport hubs and for the vicinity of major transport stations. For example, Malmi, Itäkeskus, Herttoniemi and Kannelmäki would become new satellite centres with various types of housing, services and jobs. These satellite centres would offer residents services within easy reach by walking, cycling and public transport.

A networked city served by rail

The rail transport network plays an important role in the new city master plan draft. The metro, commuter train lines and crosswise rapid transit rail lines connect the various urban centres to form a network. The current rail connections are complemented by the rapid transit rail connections of Jokeri 1 and Jokeri 2, a “science tram” line connecting Otaniemi and Kumpula, and an “islands tram” line connecting the inner city to Vuosaari. Rapid transit rail lines would also run on the city boulevards radiating from the city centre.

In addition to rapid transit rail lines, Helsinki prepares to expand the metro and railway networks with extensions such as a Töölö metro line and an airport line. Helsinki will strive for increasingly functional and sustainable transport by improving the conditions for walking and cycling.

A major part of Helsinki’s current green areas would remain as such. The biggest change to this principle would be at the western borders of the Central Park, where ramp and noise areas have been reserved for new construction. This would allow the Hämeenlinna road to be turned into a city boulevard, but it would also protect the Central Park from traffic noise. Islands vacated from military uses could be developed into major new outdoor recreational areas and travel destinations.

“The new city plan envisions a city with sufficient housing to meet demand, versatile services near residents, and well-functioning mass transport. The Helsinki of the future that we envision also has dynamic urban culture and green areas for recreation,” Manninen summarizes.

The level of accuracy is one hectare

The city master plan map does not draw accurate boundaries for development but shows the emphases of development. The map is made up of squares that correspond to areas of the size 100m x 100m. Each square is accompanied by a definition of the area’s main use, but a square marked for housing can also incorporate jobs, services and recreational sites. The city master plan is accompanied by thematic maps that present more detailed solutions for transport, green areas and other.

The new city master plan no longer divides areas by the type of housing; development is steered by volumes that determine the projected level of development. The volumes provide planners with better tools than those used earlier.

Discussion online and in public meetings

The discussion on the new city master plan will continue in early 2015 in meetings held at the city planning information and exhibition space Laituri. Meetings will be held on 19, 21, 26 and 29 January. You can also join the discussion online at the city plan pages You can download materials and thematic maps (in Finnish)from the pages, and you can subscribe to the city plan newsletter. The city plan draft will be displayed for public review from 7 January to 28 February 2015.

The draft will be checked on the basis of statements and comments made on the draft and worked into a city master plan proposal, scheduled to be reviewed by the City Planning Commitee in the autumn of 2015 and by the City Board and City Council in 2016. The proposal will include an implementation plan, which will present the order and timetable of the next detailed plan process.

The city master plan is a long-term land use plan that steers the development of Helsinki’s community structure. It affects how Helsinki will look and feel like in decades from now. Helsinki needs a new city master plan in order to be able to offer reasonably priced housing for the growing population of the city. The plan is based on a demographic forecast that estimates the population of Helsinki to be 860,000 in 2015.

The Helsinki City Planning Committee reviews the draft in November.

Materials and images related to the plan (in Finnish)

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