People skiing in Espoo. LEHTIKUVA


A recent report presents the results of the Our Espoo 20X0 event series, summarising what the residents want from the future of Espoo and its major districts. The results will be used in projects such as the preparation of the Espoo Master Plan for 2060.

The Our Espoo 20X0 event series invited the city residents to share their opinion on for who, how and on what terms Espoo should be built further.

The series of 14 events, comprising theme evenings, discussion meetings and a workshop, reached about 1,500 Espoo residents over the spring of 2022.

The event series was implemented by the Espoo City Planning Department and Espoo Adult Education Centre in cooperation with the Centre of excellence for sustainable development and Aalto University.

The purpose of these events was to collect experience-based information from residents to be utilised for city planning. To allow this, all discussions and chat messages generated during the event series were carefully documented. The materials were reviewed using software intended for qualitative analysis. This helped bring out the different themes and repeated discussion topics.

"Based on comments and discussions by the Espoo residents, the main themes were smooth daily life, local nature, communality and vitality. All these themes are also linked to considerations about the city's growth and increasing density. These seem to be in the background of all discussion", summarises Espoo City Planning Department's Susanna Nurmi, who analysed the materials.

Nature was the most important singular theme. The residents are hoping that the diversity of nature and the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change will be considered in urban planning. A strong message also came through about how important local nature and recreational opportunities are to Espoo residents.

Services and mobility are key factors for the smooth day-to-day life of Espoo residents. The discussions also revealed that the residents are ready to make their daily life more sustainable as long as this is made easy for them. The vitality of city districts and their sense of community were also important to residents. Many felt that a people-sized city reminiscent of a village would promote both – a smooth daily life and the sense of community.

District discussions revealed common values and local identities

Half of all the Our Espoo 20X0 events were district-specific discussion events. These events were forums for the residents, decision-makers and urban planners to discuss the future of the different major districts in Espoo.

When comparing these district discussions, it became clear that the residents, regardless of the district, were concerned about preserving the local nature and enthusiastic about developing their residential area. The ideal of a modern and communal urban village could also be seen in all districts.

The major differences came up when residents were asked about their experiences of their area's identity and reputation. The location of the district, its current urban landscape and the pressure to build more in the area all had an effect on the residents' experiences of their residential area.

During many of the discussion events, the residents of the major districts held very similar views of the strengths and development needs of their area. Some topics where opinions differed, however, were the city's growth, denser urban structure and traffic arrangements, for example.

Resident preferences as the basis for the new Espoo Master Plan

The recent results from Our Espoo 20X0 will be taken into use already this autumn, when the goals of Espoo's new master plan are set. The Espoo Master Plan 2060 is a long-term strategic land use plan covering the entire city, the preparations of which were started in autumn 2022.

"Thanks to the Our Espoo 20X0 events, we were able to update our knowledge about the local residents' views. In particular, we were able to gain fresh insight into what the local environment means to the residents and what kinds of needs they will have for the future. The discussions allowed residents to bring up different points of view, but the dialogue also helped us identify shared hopes and concerns. We will take the themes and views that were given the most weight in the resident discussions and give these special consideration when preparing the city-level goals of the master plan", says Master Planning Manager Essi Leino from the City Planning Department.

In addition to the Our Espoo 20X0 results, the results from the extensive My Espoo on the Map survey carried out a few years ago as well as the views collected through the resident meetings held in October and November and the Master Plan 2060 quick survey will be taken into account in the planning work.


Source: City of Espoo