“We will be making history here, and it’s already taking shape,” enthuses Eero Salo, a local resident of Kivistö, Vantaa.
The new Ring Rail line runs through the woods on a concrete shaft. The Kivistö station is marked by three glass-walled structures, through which passengers will be accessing the platforms in summer 2015.
“Kivistö will be as big as Martinlaakso and Myyrmäki put together,” Salo explains.
The new centre being built in the woods in western Vantaa will provide housing for 30,000 residents, with the first houses set to be completed within a year.
At the moment, a lone crane can be seen above treetops but later in the spring it will be joined by others when the construction companies Lujatalo and Pohjola Rakennus launch their own building projects next to YIT’s worksite.
“We already have a number of reservations for the flats,” says Antti Inkilä, a head of a construction unit at YIT.
The new housing attracts interest with prices that will be around 15 per cent below the going rate. The price cuts were achieved by designing buildings with a simple appearance and making every inch count in the flats ranging from 27 to 75 square metres in size.
The construction companies and the City of Vantaa also created savings by joining forces to draw up the plans for the area.
Besides YIT, Lujatalo and Pohjola Rakennus, also the construction companies T2H and Skanska will collaborate with Vantaa on the project.
“Having joint solutions allows us to keep the prices reasonable, around 4,000 euros per square metre,” explains Vantaa’s deputy mayor, Juha-Veikko Nikulainen.
Most of the flats will be privately owned.
The new residents will be making history as this is the first time for some decades that an entire new town has sprung up amidst the woods in Finland.
The City of Vantaa estimates that around 400 new flats will be completed every year. Eero Salo and his wife, Leena Salo, are among those planning to buy one of the new flats.
“We want a place high up in an 11-storey building with a view over the whole city,” Salo says.
In ten years’ time, Kivistö may have 14,000 residents.
“It’s interesting to watch all this going on. I think it will carry on well into the 2020s. I wonder if we will be here to see the new town when it’s all finished,” wonders Leena Salo, who has lived in a nearby low-rise residential area since childhood.
In 2016, Leena Salo will, however, get to witness the demolition of her old school, built in the 1950s, when it will be replaced by a new community centre, Aurinkokivi, which will house classrooms for 500 pupils, a daycare centre and a maternity clinic.
As the number of residents in the area increases, new wings will be added to the school. A 400-pupil secondary school, music institute and art centre are set to open their doors in 2021.
Even though slightly reduced at the last minute, the 35-million-euro budget for the community centre bears witness to Vantaa’s willingness to invest heavily in Kivistö.
Meanwhile, dozens of local organisations are putting plenty of effort in running the Internet service MarjaVerkko, in which a group of local residents, Eero Salo among them, provide information concerning the area and organise events.
“We hope to create a real sense of community, with people knowing and greeting each other on the street,” describes Eero Salo.
Marja Salmela – HS
Niina Woolley – HT
Image: Leif Rosas, Vantaan kaupunki