The Helsinki City Council approved a new city plan at its meeting of 26 October after a long debate and several votes. Proposals to send the city plan draft back to a new plan preparation process were voted down: a proposal to leave out the Helsinki Central Park from the plan was voted down 55–30, and other counter proposals were voted down by even wider margins.
The councillors took the floor nearly 150 times in the debate, which lasted more than six hours. The most heated arguments were made about the plans for the Central Park and the Malmi airport as well as the development of the motorway-like roads leading to the city into city boulevards.
The city plan will steer the development of Helsinki far into the future. The purpose of the plan is to provide the preconditions for growth, housing production and economic development. The reservations made in the plan enable Helsinki to grow to at least 860,000 residents and 560,000 jobs by 2050.
The city plan is a comprehensive, general plan for future land use. It lays out the guidelines and basis for zoning. Every detailed plan is drawn in an interactive process and needs approval by the City Council.
The city plan is based on a vision of Helsinki as a networked city relying on rail transport, with a strong inner city that is larger than today. Public transport will rely on an expanding rail transport network. The roles of walking and cycling will grow.
One of the goals of the city plan is to secure adequate recreational areas for the growing population. The network of green areas will strengthen, and recreational areas and related services as well as the sea will be easy to reach.
The Helsinki city plan is integrated with the plans for the entire Helsinki region and its municipalities. Strong growth will be a reality not only in Helsinki but in the entire Helsinki region.
The City Council also approved a plan for the development of the Vartiosaari island, after a proposal to return the plan to preparation was voted down 44–40.
Helsinki City Council meetings are available on demand on the City’s web channel www.helsinkikanava.fi, which also publishes the Council voting maps.