The Helsinki City Board considered the new Helsinki city plan at its meeting on 19 September and will continue the consideration on 17 October. The proposal for the city plan, presented by Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki, was the same as the proposal approved unanimously by the City Planning Committee earlier. The final decision on the city plan will be made by the City Council later in the autumn.
The city plan will steer the development of the city far into the future. The proposal secures the prerequisites for the city to grow, to build new housing and to prosper economically. The reservations made in the city plan will enable the growth of the city to 860,000 residents and 560,000 jobs by 2050.
The solutions of the city plan are 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 a growing population. The network of green areas will strengthen, and green areas and related services as well as the sea will be easy to reach.
Helsinki’s green structure based on radiuses from the city centre will be linked with the region’s extensive recreational areas, and the city plan map includes crosswise green connections. The continued existence of green fingers, regional green areas and a network of local green areas will be secured.
In-fill construction, boulevards and new districts
One-third of the new construction planned for the next few decades will be in-fill construction. The city will become denser especially in the vicinity of rail stations. Suburban centres will also be developed as dense hubs of housing, jobs and services.
Another one-third of the new floor space allowed by the city plan will be focused on city boulevards as the inner city expands. Large motorway-like access roads will be turned into city boulevards. The primary goal is to improve the city structure rather than to come up with traffic and transport solutions only. The new boulevards will allow whole new city districts to be built as extensions of the current inner city.
The remaining one-third of the new construction will consist of large new areas, the main one of which is the Malmi airport area, which can be re-developed into homes for 25,000 residents.
A great deal of discussion and interaction
The city plan proposal was prepared over four years under the guidance of the City Planning Committee. Helsinki residents participated in the preparation at various events and meetings and by giving feedback in the form of opinions and reminders.
The reminders from residents numbered 1,444. Most of them were related to land use reservations, which were often feared to threaten green and recreational areas.
The reminders concerned especially the Helsinki Central Park, areas in the vicinity of the Vantaa river valley, Tuomarinkylä, Vartiosaari, Lauttasaari and the Malmi airport. The reminders were grouped by theme and area during the preparation, they were responded to, and the feedback was taken into consideration in the city plan development.
A great deal of discussion has been aroused by proposed development on the western border of the Central Park, related to the transformation of the Hämeenlinna road into a city boulevard. The City Planning Committee has reduced the area for development, and the critique will be considered in further preparation.
Background: regional development
The Helsinki city plan is integrated with plans for the entire Helsinki region and its municipalities. The city plan relies on a joint plan for a traffic and transport system and land use as well as on a joint housing strategy. Rapid growth is a reality not only in Helsinki but in the entire Helsinki region.