Welcome to Morning Coffee!

Urban Academy is triggering lots of interesting urban discussions

Coffee is ready! Join Urban Academy and discuss city development, placemaking and  citizens main concerns about metropolitan changes in the city of Helsinki. You can contribute by exchanging ideas, participating, learning what it is happening in the inner city and giving possible solutions to current problems!

Urban academy seeks to create a network between different groups in the city where researchers, students, experts and inhabitants can get involved in city matters. Bringing teaching and research from lectures halls to the cit y street. Through “Morning coffee”, the platform intents to make the participants conformable creating a nice discussion atmosphere. Reflection, deliberation and communication are strong tools used by the platform to co-create.

But not everything is coffee! The network has been involved in several events such as the Helsinki design week, where researchers along with students participated on the metro trips in Global Helsinki. The event was produced in cooperation with the Helsinki city transport Company, Taidelinja and the University of Helsinki last September.

KennenHelsinki © Kaupunkiakatemia

Different metro rides and themes were introduced. For instance, in KennenHelsinki, topics as Who is allowed to use public spaces, and where are the lines between public and private spaces? Is Helsinki a city of bubbles or do the separate subcultures ever meet? while travelling the city. Another metro rides addressed: what everyday life in Helsinki might be like in 2050 and global responsibility-local action.

The platform also took part at the Thinkfest last September.

Morning Coffee sessions! Following up the sessions until now:

August: Morning coffee focused on Campus Development. The discussion was held around the results from several multidisciplinary urban courses designed to inform and involve students in such changes in the city of Helsinki (Nordic Case Competition). Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish cultural center and Urban Academy Network worked together to engaged students in the opportunity to participate in a workshop developing urban pathways and recreational routes in Otaniemi peninsula. The workshop was lead by researchers with different orientations around urban planning.  The student could present their solutions to a wider audience where their results were evaluated and discussed.

Courses about the development of the Kumpula Campus of the University of Helsinki and the Myllypuro Campus of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences also were referred in this coffee morning session.

September: The main theme was related to Images and stories in the marketing of Helsinki. The discussion was leaded by  two researchers introducing their own research:

  • Salla Jokela: The role of tourism images in the construction of Finnish national identity
  • Lieven Ameel: The structure and use of narratives in the planning of Helsinki long urban waterfront.

Representatives of City of Helsinki and several tourism experts in the audience commented, participated and shared concerns.

October: Open data in the service of the City. This was a very popular session, as the City of Helsinki is known for its openness regarding these matters:

“Open data often refers to government information which has been made available for free for anyone to use. However, also companies, other organisations and citizens publish open data. The openness of data means in practice that data has been made as easy as possible for anyone to use. The level of openness can vary in different aspects. The most important ones are technical accessibility, free access, reuse permitting licensing, findability and understandability” 

Helsinki Region Infoshare

November: City plan and urban boulevards. The discussion focused on the current thoughts about the new city plan proposal which entails how Helsinki will grow into a dense city with several centres connected by rail traffic. This means that the city might be expanding alongside the motorway transforming those areas into city boulevards. The audience was greatly interested in these redevelopment urban plans as it concerns the possibility of disappearance of green areas.  One of the speakers, Kati Vierikko (Researcher at Helsinki University) underlined the importance of green space but also questioned the idea that the city plan might  threaten the green space in Helsinki.

Take note! Next morning coffee has been scheduled on Friday, January 22nd at 08:00 in Laituri (Helsinki)! The main topic will be “Immigration and refugees as an asset”.

The city of Helsinki is also facing the current refugee crisis and is  looking for the way to welcome and integrate asylum seekers in the local community. Speakers from the Aalto University, University of Helsinki and City of Helsinki will be attending.

“In the beginning of 2015 there were over 80 thousand people with a mother tongue other then Finnish, Swedish or Sami living in Helsinki. These people made up 13,5 % of the city’s population. It has been estimated that the number of these people will grow to 164.000–170.000 people by year 2030. The competitiveness and positive development of Helsinki requires that the immigrants will be employed and integrated to the local community. The aim of this morning coffee session is to discuss the challenges and possibilities related to the internationalization of the city”

Ida Björkbacka, Senior Planning Officer (Urban Academy\ City of Helsinki)

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Involved city makers
Salla Jokela
Coordinator of Urban Academy\Kaupunkiakatemia
Ida Björkbacka
Senior Planning Officer\ City of Helsinki
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