Urban planning in Helsinki

Stuba Nikula

How has the city of Helsinki benefited from The Cable Factory other than having a space where 250 cultural operators can work and perform? The original idea was that the surrounding area of The Cable Factory was un-build in the early 90’ and the town planners had an idea that this would be a good tool for good town planning and creating an interesting part of Helsinki. If you look around The Cable Factory the Ruoholahti area around us is probably the most boring area of Helsinki. As we say it is so boring that it does not even have social problems.

The biggest reason is that the town plan is not the one for the city centre. It is one for the suburbs. But if you are only one and half kilometres from the city centre you should not build suburbs. You should build city centre and it is the town plan and the architects, architecture of the area that has more less squeezed The Cable Factory between ugly boring buildings that are closed for the people walking around. I think that this is the biggest lesson that we have learned and this is the biggest thing that we try to do differently with the Suvilahti project. We are really trying to convince the city that whatever we are doing is valuable for the larger area around us. And luckily now the town planning department’s stuff has more or less changed during the 15 years. There is a boom of young people, young architects who really see the value of us. They agree with us and with the idea that it is not just a building or an object we are developing. We are creating a new part of city of Helsinki.

The good thing in Suvilahti is that the current surrounding city structure on the side of Suvilahti is already there. I mean it is the upcoming hippie trendy part of Helsinki. So we have a good connection to that and we will be like a bridge or a hinge to watch the new developing area that hopefully will continue in the good vibe of the existing city. But we do not see us as like an encore to that process. We see our role as one factor in that formula and try to convince everybody around us that this is a common task to work for some kind of a better part of Helsinki. 

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Stuba Nikula

Stuba Nikula

Managing director of Kaapeli and Suvilahti in Helsinki, Finland

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