Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 | Page 13

THE ANGLE By Marja-Leena Rinkineva The writer is Director of Economic Development, City of Helsinki Open Helsinki H elsinki was once again selected as one of the top Smart Cities in FastCo. Being recognised as a Smart City is exhilarating. Naturally all the cities want to be smart, who wouldn’t? But what is there for Helsinki in “being smart”? How do we want to develop our city? What makes Helsinki a special place where to live, work, study and visit? Some core values for Helsinki, also behind smartness, are openness and participation using design as a tool. My predecessor had a slogan for our citizens: Use Your City! I also truly believe that cities are meant to be used, not only looked at. For us openness and participation mean many things. On one level they imply the possibility to utilise and enjoy the city: parks, public spaces, city services etc. One of my colleagues had his baby’s name-giving party in a public park. What a wonderful way to use your city! Also opening all the data to the public gives you an excellent possibility to use your city. Helsinki has become renowned for quickly opening up more than thousand public data sets for anyone to use and also to build business there upon. Use Your City also encloses the idea of a well-designed city. Design is in the DNA of Helsinki. For cities, design methods imply permission to do things differently – to take on a challenging, user-driven, experimental and concrete approach by engaging the inhabitants of the city. Helsinki has hired a few designers to really look into how city services can be formed differently, more smartly. On another level openness and participation is the option to take part in democratic processes, e.g. by voting, expressing opinions in city polls or participating in different activities. Many new digital means have been invented in Helsinki to increase participation. In urban planning, interactive maps have been utilised to capture the dreams of the citizens. In the field of public education, more than 6,000 parents ac