OURCity and Pro-Meri Rastila, Alternative Master-Plan

OURCity has team up with the Pro-Meri Rastila Group, Aalto University and the University of Helsinki to produce an Alternative Master Plan for the area!

The OURCity initiative is looking for 3 individuals or a team of 3 to students and 3 professionals to take part  in the redrafting the master plan for the eastern suburb of Meri-Rastila.

The three students should have completed their bachelor’s studies and at least 2 out of the three should speak both Finnish and English “fluently”.

We will give priority to those teams or an individual that is a landscape architect or an architect with landscape design experience.

The team will work in direct co-operation with the local residents through the Pro Meri-Rastila organisation and will liaise through them with the Helsinki City planning department.

This project is a real time project and will be submitted to the city planning committee for discussion around April 2012. The project will also be displayed as part of the OURCity programme which is a sub project of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.

If anyone is interested in joining please send a simplified copy of your cv to:





18 responses to “OURCity and Pro-Meri Rastila, Alternative Master-Plan

  1. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    The climate change is one of the arguments that The Helsinki City Planning Department uses to promote their plan for Meri-Rastila. For me the climate change is a reason to oppose the plan.

    Due to the climate change there will be more and heavier storms. The forest will be needed to shield the Meri-Rastila neighborhood from extreme weather. It also seems that the sea level rise caused by the climate change is going to exceed all the former forecasts made by the IPCC. This means that there are many unpredictable risks in planning houses in coastal areas.

    The sea level rise might also be a great threat to the metro transport in Helsinki as some of the stations are not very high above the present level.

  2. Olli Vento

    I have understood that metro trains are going to be shorter in the future. Even if there are going to be more trains this might be a risk when thinking about the possibilities of transporting more people between Vuosaari and City Center.

  3. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    I attended Our City workshop at Meri-Rastila School last Wednesday and was very worried about the way the alternative master plan was restricted to Meri-Rastila area only. This restriction excludes the possibility to plan over Vuotie and the metro rail line which many of us find to be the best alternative. The City Planning Department has plans to cover the metro line in other parts of eastern Helsinki so it is by no means impossible.

    One of the reasons the City Planning Board left the original plan on the table was that an alternative plan had been made by a group of residents. The plan consisted of building in the Rastila camping site. This shows that it is possible to look for alternatives outside the strictly lined Meri-Rastila area.

    A couple of days ago Helsinki city informed, that the main investments in preparation for climate change should include construction of green areas to absorb storm water and melted snow and ice. One of the main things that should be taken notice of in the alternative plan is that for climate reasons (as well as public comfort) no green area should be built. The alternative sites should be found at places where natural values (such as capacity to absorb water or beauty) already are lost.

  4. Olli Vento

    It is good to notice that when thinking about city planning we can try to tackle climate change with choices that combine city and nature. On the other hand we need green areas both to absorb water and to keep people healthy. If we have walkable green areas in the neighbourhood for adults we also have better places for children to play and grow up.

  5. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    For me the main question in the Meri-Rastila case is, which are more important – the short term business interests or the long term nature and health values.

  6. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    Did you notice that in last weekend´s Helsingin Uutiset there was an article about covering the metro rail line in Kontula for new housing? Architect Kaisa Karilas from the Helsinki City Planning Department said that building on covered metro line costs a little bit more, but Kontula is attractive enough to make such plan profitable.

    As Rastila is even more attractive than Kontula there is no reason, why covering the metro line would not be a success here.

  7. Olli Vento

    Covering the metro line in Rastila could be an interesting possibility if both green areas and new buildings are needed. Climate change underlines the importance on nature in Helsinki. Green neighbourhoods, outdoor activities and wellbeing of people also have something to do with each other. Meri-Rastila could be – even more than it nowadays is – a place for outdoor activities and thereby wellbeing of inhabitants.

  8. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    This is the article that was mentioned in my previous comment:

  9. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    After attending two Our City workshops, I think we should not call the Our City plan an alternative plan, because its premises differ from those of the official plan. In the official plan they are looking for building sites within a radius of 600 meters whereas the Our City plan is restricted to Meri-Rastila area only. The difference is quite crucial because it excludes the best alternative proposals.

  10. Thank you all, very much for your comments. I have been carefully reading them and taking note of what you have been saying.

    I must say that I think I need to clarify the reason why we have been insisting on the idea of the red line in our workshops. The reason for this is primarily to restrict people from placing buildings outside of Meri-Rastila’s boarder line. This is because we wanted to get people to give their ideas for how “Meri-Rastila” can be developed and not Rastila or Vuosaari. We wanted people to their give ideas on how building in their own “back yards” could be done.

    This does not mean that we are not investigating the idea of placing buildings outside of the red line.

    With regards to the 600m principle of the city’s master-plan. I believe this is a very logical idea from the city, but I also believe that it should not be the only guiding force of a design. Therefore in our master-plan we will keep this in mind but we will also look at other principles such as infilling.

    We will however keep to the same objectives as the city, in terms of quality, people numbers etc. and in doing so create an “alternative” to it.

    I honestly believe that the city is set on the idea of building in Meri-Rastila, but I also believe that it is up to the residents to say where this is done. In my opinion there are many options for this and it is up to all of us to show where and what these options are.

    I also agree with what many residents have been saying; “that building in the forested areas on the western shore is not a sustainable or sensible idea”. In my opinion the city’s principle of building in the 600m area and therefore in the virgin forest goes against good “city” master-planning and it goes against the principles of sustainable and ecological construction.

  11. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    Thanks, Tristan. I am relieved to hear that you are against the idea to build in the forest.

  12. Olli Vento

    At the global level we have problems like:

    – the climate change
    – the loss of biodiversity.

    Even if these big problems are global, we also have to find out solutions at the local level. At the same time we help ourselves:

    – If we take care of the local nature, it takes care of us.
    – If we strenghten our multicultural abilities we may have more skills to find good solutions in the future.

  13. Olli Vento

    The forest in Meri-Rastila is such a common place where we still have a possibility to privacy. At the same time we can be together with nature and be alone. We can also meet our friends there. Somehowe different kind of spaces get linked. We can have special kind of privateness and feel togetherness with nature and our friends at the same time.

    Forest gives us a special kind of possibility to have mixed spaces in one moment.

  14. Olli Vento

    When thinking about the questions about public places and privacy a little bit further it seems to me that there are more people in Meri-Rastila nowadays than earlier but at the same time less and less public space. Somehowe this is normal but it is also problematic. The people living at Meri-Rastila loose possibilities to enjoy common places also in vain. At the same time people need for example different kind on places to meet each other.

    We seem to have problems with this matter both outdoors and indoors.
    We loose public space outdoors in vain. At the same time there is a need for new kind of places where people could meet each other indoors.

  15. Hei Olli
    This is a very good point, and it is something that we are investigating at the moment with our design. Thank you for all of your comments.

  16. Hanna-Leena Ylinen

    Thank you for the plan that was presented in Fokka today. I really like it. It shows that it is possible to build in Meri-Rastila for 2 000 new inhabitants without even touching the forest. If only they were as creative in the City Planning Department.

  17. Olli Vento

    One of the basic questions is how could we both eat the cake and keep it. Well … we can´t.

    If nature is the cake and we are part of it the sitution gets even more complicated.

    We have to respect the cake (nature) to give ourselves better lives.

  18. Olli Vento

    New kind of solutions are needed to prevent problems that have something to do with segregation. An Alternative Master Plan gives us good tools to work with the matter. One of the strengths of this new plan is that it takes notice of both nature issues and segregation. Even these matters are connected to each other. If new houses are built to recreational forest the wellbeing of the present inhabitants will be reduced.

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