Helsinki, Helsinki City, Finland discussed on Urban Futures Podcast
Welcome to another road of the urban futures podcast these Jones into base bestowed. We have the pleasure to speak with Suka. Heynen super is professor of Futures Studies at the University of two and a full member of the club of Rome. She actively promotes fishers. Learning is here to talk about. How a future surrendered. Approach can be used supposedly to influence outcomes in urban planning circa. Welcome to the PODCAST. Thank you very much for reminding me here you have worked in several projects ranging from technology for side to the future of CDs in rural areas before we dig deeper into some of you work. Tell us about your personal story in. How do you become interested in working at this junction of Futures Research and the environment? That is indeed an interesting story. Because when I graduated as a Master of arts from Helsinki University it was not self evident that I end up here where I am now. So it turned out so that I had a possibility to apply for a job at bt. Vity is Technica Research Centre of Finland employing more than three thousand researches so I as a master of arts we'll see employed to this hard core technology center. I went exactly to the unit that studied urban planning urban studies communities and besides that The field of Fuser's bodies will entering Finland. At the time circa. You grew up in. Helsinki fins are well known for having strong bond with nature in the more than fifty percents of your country. Area is under forest land. What is that human nature relationship that you have grown to know as a fan? Growing UP IN HELSINKI ACTUALLY. Naser is really important for us. Finns it is something very embedded in our personalities even in our soul so it is sometimes called as our religion so we want to have nature around us whether we are living in city or in the countryside. So we need these Release Naira relation to nature and the natural environment all the time so We are lucky because our cities are always surrounded by a lot of nature so it means a lot. So where does that human nature relationship that you find here? In Finland that is so hard to find elsewhere. I think it is The respect for nature on the time. Let's take an example Muncie area for example and then dairy Sablan that the trees are cut down and new buildings are being built. There is strong resistance from citizens citizens residents. They know that they need this kind of connection to nature solve. They want to conserve and preserve nature as much as possible. Helsinki is growing in developing new public infrastructure particularly in Syrian areas of the city. This is a challenge when we think about the future of the cultural aspects that are linked to people relationship with nature. What are some examples of developments? He Ain't Helsinki in which you have seen. There may be some resistance towards development in order to preserve natural areas. I think this resistance to every act soon to try to remove nature or of further away is the mainstream really In Finland and in Helsinki area we are lucky because the land area is quite large so we can have both built environment and the natural environment in balance together in the same city and in Finland. Of course the climate is rather harsh. Sometimes in the winter we get snow. Even here in Helsinki and then we also have these tragedies of a cross country skiing. So in the core of Helsinki City there is this phenomenon called skiing urbanism. That means that people want to start skiing right after of their door and they enter the nature. That's even possible. You can make it compatible with city structure. How do you in the course of development? How do you see? Helsinki has changed. Because you have lived here for. How long have you lived in Helsinki? Now I was born in Helsinki and I'm now sixty six years old so I've lived all my life here and I've been following the growth of course population. Crows is happening. All the time and physical built environment is changing but not radically. I would say that Helsinki city has managed succeeded. Not Spoiling the landscape. Urban landscape be the high rise skyscrapers et Cetera or trying to a construct buildings. That are alienating people I think it is very liveable city and if you look at the statistics. International Statistics Helsinki has been rated among the most livable cities in the world. And that is exactly because of the scale. Human scale citizens are taking into consideration circa. Do you have worked at the crossroads of futures in city planning applying what is called systematic futures thinking for those listening who don't have the background on futures research. How do you define systematic futures thinking in? Why's that important? It is actually very exciting to know that. Futures Research is a discipline. It is an academic field and at the core of these academic field is systematic feuds thinking so at the University of Georgia we have International Masters Program and even doctoral program in Futures Studies. Systematic feud says thinking is the starting point there are specific broaches specific methods that are being applied in this field and what it means systematic. It means that we really whenever we are studying the future of cities. Let's say we always have systems view. We are not looking only at housing or only transportation. That happens inside city. We are looking at the whole system cities as a system and then another thing that is important criteria is that we have a long term view. He and the long term view doesn't mean only ten or twenty years. It could even mean one hundred years. We should have this. Long-term you systems view looking holistically at the topic that we are studying and using systematically different methods that have been developed for example. So-called Millennium Project has a methods toolbox that consists of thirty different methods and also the Phoenix Society for future. Studies has recently published a book that covers more than twenty different methods. That can be used in future research and talking about these methods. What are some of those tools that you have used the have given the most interesting results like for example? What about weak signals? Yes that's one very interesting. mess Look at the week's signals but before going league signals I would like to emphasize. Is that urban studies and futures studies are very closely related because when we con plan and construct cities they are meant to survive for many centuries even so this kind of long term. Planning long-term horizon is already embedded in urban planning and studies but we can enrich urban studies when we introduce different message from feuds studies. So we sing. Now's is part of the first phase that we do when we start a project. It's called Horizon. Scanning we look at Feuds signals seeing mouse of Jane. The strongest signals are mega trends. We look at Mega trends success. Climate change population grows et Cetera. But then we can also have a look at weeks signals and we sing is a sign of an emerging Isuzu Finoman. It can be very much in the marginal. It's not visible even on unless you look very carefully but it is important and interesting in a sense that if one of these weeks thing nose starts to strengthen itself then if we have early on idea what it can be rea- have sort of competitive so that the reason behind this method of we sing now and tally in one of the research projects we had we started by looking at zing now specifically of course. We have to bear in mind all the time. Those global mega trends. They are not going anywhere. They are there but it is not enough to look at the mega trends. We have to look at medium sized Trans and also this week's mouse. And how can someone train to see her pinpoint those weak signals in an everyday life there are specific means and tools that we can try to strengthen this kind of capacity first of all you have to identify weeks he knows and but those are not easy to identify. Now that's the most challenging part. They can go missed neglected ignored. And that is because if you look at only those mainstream things that are happening if you don't chump out of the box and if you don't use your Berry Berry Farrell reason. It is difficult to identify weeks. Nas using the very feral visa means that you are looking not where you are normally looking but in the marginals it can be something that you notice. When you are walking on the street you'll see your small sign or a small special bootie for some new things or it can be something that you hear from one of your friends or colleagues that they have seen somewhere but it is something that is not yet in the mainstream or something that is known so if you ask people do you know about this phenomenon. It should be something that not everybody knows about it. I can give you one example when we think about cities. And let's take Helsinki City as an example. Let's say fifteen years ago. There was not a single Vegan restaurant in the city. So veganism started to grow when we restaurants were opened and that was of course because there was demand some people changed their lifestyles and they not only vegetarian but Do the extreme form beads veganism. And now when we look at the cityscape we can easily find more than five Vegan restaurants in the city centre so that is a phenomenon that started somewhere at some point. It was not even known what we eat. Some people didn't know and now it has become not yet a trend but almost trained and and this is where you really have to pay attention to see whether this very small signs do have potential to become a dominant trends like in the case of vagueness exactly and if you if you have identified we sing. Now's and if you think that those phenomenon are something that are desirable then developing cities of course then it is wise to find out measures how to how to strengthen that phenomen actually. I could tell another example over week thing now that was actually established in in in housing again. This kind of a bottom up activities citizens like to invent things. They like to do activities fall themselves. Basically this kind of restaurant. Dave start it in Helsinki one day Anybody good open up. A restaurant bake or Kook something and go to the street or from their flat. Open the window sale outside that was something revolutionary and it hadn't happened before and then it was like becoming very popular so that also sign over vehic. Seeing now that actually was strengthened. When you look at Finland how do you compare phenomena and urban issues? What is your view? When you compare Helsinki for example with other model cities Helsinki has some special qualities..