(Sub)urban boulevard


From Functionalist Infrastructures to Productive City

CATEGORY: urban / architectural
TEAM: Representative: architect
LOCATION: Helsinki Laajasalo
POPULATION: Helsinki 630 000, Laajasalo 16 000
SITE PROPOSED BY: City of Helsinki
OWNERS OF THE SITE: City of Helsinki and other site owners

The Laajasalo island community is on the verge of a great change. New development is planned to double the number of people living on the island. Europan 14 challenges designers to give their input to this development. The task is to bring the island’s business centre into a new era by replacing the present highway with a pleasant, active centre that will serve the residents of the area. Access to the island is through the competition area, so the design solutions will strongly define the new identity of the island.

Helsinki City Council approved a new city plan in the fall 2016. It is a strategic land use plan that enables the growth of Helsinki to 860 000 residents by 2050. According to the plan roughly one-third of the new construction will be located on city boulevards in the expanding inner city.

The first four-lane highway that will be converted into a boulevard is situated in the Laajasalo suburban area. Kruunusilta bridges and a new tram line will connect Laajasalo directly to Helsinki’s city center creating an opportunity to transform the area into an urban neighbourhood. The objective of the competition is to study what the characteristics and scale of the new boulevard would be and how the suburban area can become a diverse productive neighbourhood.

Implementation process

The competition is organized by the City Planning Department of Helsinki in collaboration with Europan Finland. The intention of the Planning Department is to give a commission to the winner/s at the level of urban planning. The commission will be to develop the ideas of the competition proposal further and to work with the city and the local residents to build a new urban identity for the area. The city will make a detailed plan for the area based on the competition results.