New factories, agricultural land or incubators do not create productive cities; rather, they offer places to be productive in. A city’s true currency of production is its citizens. Happy citizens are productive citizens. This proposal focuses on infusing Oulu’s masterplan with happiness through the strategic implementation of happy artefacts related to temporary actions, social culture, living things, play/sports and learning through nature.
The most effective place for development is the area between the university and Kaijonharju city center. This area is defined as the Happy space and has the potential of acting as a filter through which a large number of citizens passes every day. This plan provides a strategy for enhancing the character of that area, creating a framework for future development, rather than a blueprint.
Urban nodes and connections are established within the future Happy space. The connections decrease distances and provide a framework for future urban development. Any exploitation of land requires building happy artefacts in strategic locations.
The project site is gently densified with new development that responds sensitively to the existing urban structure. The older buildings are renovated, extended or transformed and as much of the existing vegetation as possible is preserved. The north-southern boulevard with its beautiful birches is reinforced as a main artery and can comfortably fit the light rail. The green corridor parallel to the boulevard is preserved and only interrupted by roads. A new recreational trail surrounds and touches upon potential areas for happy artefacts and development, functioning as a continuous thread through the area, visually as well as socially. Possible connections to green spaces and the lakes are protected.
Oulu’s new master plan retains its previous qualities of proximity to nature, spaciousness, and ease of orientation, but is elevated with a denser urban structure that harnesses the potential for new places to meet and be inspired. The experience of moving through the area – be it on foot, bike, car or tram – becomes an exciting, surprising and educational one, reflecting the bright future ahead for the city.