RUNNER-UP – HAVEN for humans and nonhumans alike

  Saara Kantele (FI), architect

  Paul Bot (NL), artist


A strongly idealistic proposal that wants to extend fundamental rights to all species, and proposes a thesis as a new statute for Helsinki, namely, Helsinki – A City for Humans and Non-humans Alike, and sets out objectives to support diversity. The proposal’s plan starts from this credo. It aims for the well-being of all species, such that all actions undertaken should produce well-being and aim for maximum resource wisdom.

The proposal’s written description presents three scales: from the regional macro to the structural micro. These scales also form the baseline for the overall concept. The larger scales, the archipelago and the islands, are beautifully captured and well explained. The presented network between the islands is logical and embraces recreational possibilities. There is a clear vision for zones for the non-human. These could form a new interpretation in the understanding of nature in the Helsinki archipelago.

At the island scale, the presentation divides the Helsinki archipelago into four categories based on their degree of naturalness, and this has been used to justify interventions on the islands.

For each island, heat maps have been developed according to customer profiles, based on a careful analysis of the conditions on each target island and user interviews. The analyses justify the relationship between human users and other customers on the different islands and the new activities defined on the basis of this information. In the proposal, human recreational use is concentrated on the island of Villinki, while the share of non-human customers among users is concentrated on the island of Pikku Niinisaari.

The idea of using very few, but well-studied, landing sites can be a good recipe for low-cost construction and maintenance. The design of the presented small scale, the new structures, is not the strongest part of the proposal, as the overall focus is on the landscape and spirit of the archipelago. The materials used remain unknown, but certain characteristics, such as the villa-inspired roof-design, show that the author is well aware of the context. Structural elements are presented as a palette of shapes that require further planning.

The strengths of the proposal lie in particular in the vast scale, and its meritorious methodology for profiling the characteristics of different islands should serve as a concept for the further development of the islands in enhancing their unique characteristics.

The proposal has merit, and is by far the best among the competition proposals in understanding the major challenges of our time in terms of biodiversity and species interactions. It has made a good start in addressing these with an interesting planning tool for the recreational use of the Helsinki archipelago.


The project is divided into three scales: the archipelago, the islands, and structures. Each scale is thoughtfully zoned to balance human and non-human use while preserving biodiversity. Nonhuman islands are restricted from human access, while joint-use areas allow for co-existence. The islands are designated with different zones, focusing on either human or non-human use. The implementation process involves comprehensive planning, stakeholder engagement, research, zoning, and design development. Environmental impact assessments are carried out to ensure sustainability. The actual implementation of zoning and infrastructure takes several years, followed by rewilding and biodiversity enhancement efforts.

Regular monitoring and adaptation are part of the ongoing process to ensure the project’s success in creating a harmonious environment for both humans.

Board 1     Board 2     Board 3     Explanatory text

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