Author Archives: Michail Galanakis

Farewell from OURcity!

Dear visitor! MEIDÄN Ourcity ry, the association responsible for OURCity project, has been dissolved on Sunday, 17th of February 2013.

We wish to wholeheartedly thank you for honoring us with your trust, encouragement, constructive criticism, collaboration, or plain interest.

The association and the project are not active as such, however, the people behind them are alive and kicking, each one  in her/his own way contributing  in making cities ours.

If you want to contact them here are some email addresses to start with:

“Dina Fuad-Luke” <dfuadluke(at)>

“Hossam Hewidy” <hossam.hewidy(at)>

“Tristan Hughes” <uusiark(at)>

“Mariana Salgado” <Mariana.Salgado(at)>


Our full report of the “How Was It For You?” survey is available!

OURcity project comes to a close with the publication of the report “How was it for you?” which builds on a small scale in-depth qualitative survey conducted for OURcity project by our colleague Dina Fuad-Luke. The survey was planned and carried out in October-November 2012 and the report was completed in December 2012. In order to carry out the survey and prepare this report OURcity applied for and received financial support by the City of Helsinki ‘s Human Resources Centre, Immigration Division. The aim of the survey was to investigate the perceptions and experiences immigrants in the suburb of Meri-Rastila in East Helsinki have about social and health public services. The report itself builds upon the testimonies of 18 interviewees who we sincerely thank. OURcity wishes that the report does justice to their voices. To get the full report please click the following link: HOW WAS IT FOR YOU analysis1with appendix

OURcity Exhibition opening, STOA (07.11.12): more photos

Here are some photos from the OURcity exhibition opening in STOA on Wednesday the 7th of November 2012 (the dates on the photos are not the right ones).













The Alternative Master Plan lives on

OURcity is coming to a close by the end of 2012. We, the members of OURcity group, have decided that after the end of our project we will stop updating this blog. When this happens the blog will be an online documentation of OURCity project and will become part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 history.

One of the initiatives of OURcity project has been the drafting of the Alternative Master Plan (AMP) for Meri-Rastila. This particular initiative has got a life of its own, and continues to steer discussions. Everyone in OURcity is happy with the success of AMP.

You can follow the discussions about the Alternative Master-Plan here:

In you can follow one of the most recent discussions  (29th of November 2012). It must be clear that online public discussions taking place around the activities of OURcity project, are not guided by the members of OURcity group. Nevertheless, we are pleased that OURcity brings attention to the case of Meri-Rastila, the provision of services to immigrants, intercultural communication, and to the need for more inclusive and participatory planning processes.

How Was it for you? – A survey

OUTReach would like to thank all the 16 participants who took part in the recent survey aimed at finding out about how people from immigrant background access and experience the public services available in Finland. We are grateful for their time and most of all for placing their trust in us and allowing themselves to be as candid as possible during the interviews.
Outreach would also like to give our special thanks to the interpreters, Adam Adam, Fatma Yasa and Alexandra Khalitov who helped us throughout the interviews. Thanks too, to Jaana Pylkkänen for helping with establishing contacts in Meri-Rastila and for lending us her office for use as a private interview space.
Last but not least, we are grateful to the Human Resources Centre, Immigration Division, Helsingin Kaupunki, who assisted in funding the survey via the Personnel Centre’s Grant for Capacity Building for Immigrant Associations.
We are now in the process of collating the data. The findings will be made known in 2013 and plans for post-survey consultative activities are being considered.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

How was it for you? * A Survey *

Do you know your rights and entitlements in Finland? Are you aware of the support available for a non-Finnish speaker using a public service? Have you ever had any difficulties accessing any particular service?

These are some of the questions that are currently being put forward to individuals from diverse communities residing in and around Meri-Rastila. The small scale face-to-face interviews are being conducted by OutReach member Dina Fuad Luke to find out about the views and experiences of immigrant communities relating to their personal use of services such as housing and health.

The interviews have been made possible with aid from the City of Helsinki Personnel Centre’s Grant, in support of Capacity Building for Immigrant Associations.

If you would like to have your voice heard and are from an immigrant background, we would like to hear from you.

Please, contact: dfuadluke(at)

English for all!

Finnish is undoubtedly learnt and gradually mastered by a diverse range of people from all over the world who have come to Finland to reside, be it temporarily or permanently.  Yet for some, there is always a quest to conquer a third, fourth or perhaps even a fifth language.

OutReach recently started its first free weekly Conversational English Language class to bring diversity in the classroom. The teacher, Dina Fuad-Luke, an OURCity team member, taught English for over 15 years in the U.K before coming to live in Helsinki.

“The atmosphere in the classroom is great. People who would not normally cross paths, are sitting in one room, sharing views and jokes about a range of topics in a very relaxed way. It is very much a mini multi-cultural forum, and each week throws up something culturally-new,” she said.

“I am pleased that that their common enthusiasm for learning the English language has encouraged them to exchange information with people who do not share their cultures, heritage or history.”

So far, six students have been attending the weekly Thursday class in Fokka.

For more information, please contact dfuadluke(at)