4. Enabling city

ENABLING CITY focuses on how to promote sustainable urbanisation by examining how cities can enable the innovative housing and working development and what adds to the appeal and competitiveness of cities.

We recognise potentials and challenges of integrating dwellers’ needs, knowledge and practical skills in processes aiming at new modes of cooperation, partnerships and interaction in agile cities.

In particular, we focus on bottom-up initiatives of dwellers themselves; and on how doing and making things can articulate their needs and desires.

New partnership formations in city planning in general, hybrid housing solutions and more flexible ideas about collaboration are needed to meet the needs of the dwellers, but also for practical delivery of urban climate change adaptation.

First phase (co-design)

Enabling City complements the foresight for a Future City by identifying the innovative international examples of bottom-up organization of housing, working and mobility. We are also organising a design workshop on co-housing as a part of YIMBYcon (Yes in My BackYard) festival which is an international event that brings together urban activists in Helsinki. In addition we will participate in Tampere Design and Architecture Week by organising another workshop about flexible housing.

We will use multiple interactive techniques to enhance dialogue between our empirical case studies, DAC-project and wider public. Our partners are city officials of the four cities co-operating DAC, Ministry of the Environment, key actors of innovative housing and working development such as Skanska, Setlementtiasunnot, Architecture and Design Office Talli, Ryhmärakennuttajat ry, Mushrooming ry and urban grass-roots organisation such as Hukkatila ry. The main partners of the project are however dwellers and housing associations. The second phase (co-creation) of the project is planned together with these partners.

Second phase (co-creation)

In the second phase we collaborate with novel bottom-up experiments in housing, working and mobility. We will focus on cases that are 

  • digital service platforms and novel ways of cooperation (Mushrooming, Hukkatila ry)
  • infill sites in particular locations in Helsinki (Kalasatama, Kruununvuorenranta), Espoo (Kera), Tampere (Härmälänranta, Hervanta) and Seinäjoki (Pruukinranta)

We explore how these virtual communities and service platforms are connected to existing sites, urban regeneration and development processes. With action research approach we are prepared to act as innovation brokers in the cases, facilitating the collaboration and acting as capacity builders between different actor groups. We will particularly focus on the elements, which enable the bottom-up experiments to grow and spread.

Using interpretive policy analysis approach, we highlight the interdependencies of diverse actor groups, and find formats which generate trust among novel alignments. To enhance this we will use dweller interviews, participatory observation, official planning documents and focus groups as resources.

Enabling City will bring new insights into the variety of making living experiments socially, politically and economically robust manner.

By testing interpretive policy analysis approach in real-life experimental cases we produce new knowledge and novel modes of cooperation and make both theoretical as well as empirical contributions. Enabling City contributes on understanding how new virtual and physical platforms change the interfaces between dwellers, municipalities, construction companies and service providers, and what practical use and scalable business opportunities they offer. The findings will be fed back to the case study cities and scaled also in other settings in Finland.