Boulevard in the North

Type: district plan, quality manual
Client: City of Oulu
Status: planning completed
Year: 2017 – 2018
Location: Alppila/Välivainio, Oulu, Finland
Size: 62 ha
Team: Sami Heikkinen (partner in charge), Ville Mellin (project architect), Anna-Kaisa Aalto, Lotta Aulamo, Maiju Lehtimäki, Satu Onnela, Timo Paananen, Maarit Virkkunen

Boulevardisation will comletely transform the Kemintie highway.

No-man’s land

Our brief was to propose a basis for the urban regeneration of the Kemintie highway in the northern Finnish city of Oulu. At present the site is a dual carriageway with interchanges and a speed limit of 60 kph.

Collaborative design solutions

Interactive client and resident-based collaboration produced a number of preliminary block archetypes.

Local inhabitants and user groups were given an opportunity to influence draft schemes, promoting a better understanding of their future environment.

Ideas were embodied into three alternative draft proposals. The optimal characteristics of each draft were discussed with the client in a workshop and integrated into the final design.

Re-routed and unified with the town

Kemintie will be partly re-routed. The present long straight section will be removed to reduce traffic speeds and create variation in the streetscape.

The new urban fabric will help to unify existing residential areas.

Seven neighbourhoods

The area will consist of seven neighbourhoods, slightly differing in urban structure. Each will have a recreational area or square at its heart.

A network of green spaces

Existing neighbourhood parks will be developed into functional oases serving the whole area. Small public pockets of greenery between the blocks link adjacent neighbourhoods together.

A number of new meandering routes have been created, threading their way along peaceful pathways through green areas, pocket gardens and squares to enliven the inhabitants’ daily experience.

Adaptation to challenging circumstances

Noise suppression, variation in scale and a local feel for each neighbourhood guided the detailed design of the block structure.

The district plan creates a bold but practicable vision that points the way to the future in urban development.