Development schemes for pedestrian environments
Clients: City of Helsinki / City of Jyväskylä
Studies: Kallion kävely-ympäristön laatu, Vallilan toimitila-alueen liikenneselvitys ja kävely-ympäristön laatu, Jyväskylän Alakaupungin kehittämisperiaate
Status: Studies published (in Finnish)
Locations: Helsinki / Jyväskylä
Teams: Kallio and Vallila in Helsinki – Anna-Kaisa Aalto and Arianna Scotoni; project lead in traffic design Taneli Nissinen (Ramboll Oy) + team / Alakaupunki in Jyväskylä – Anna-Kaisa Aalto (project lead), Sami Heikkinen, Siiri Mikola, Arianna Scotoni, Juha Riihelä
How can we improve the quality and appeal of urban street spaces?
A significant part of urban public space is comprised of streets and squares. Agreeable street spaces play a large part in improving the quality of life for those for whom walking is an integral part of each journey. Innovative solutions are currently being explored for the use of street space in Finland, mirroring recent trends of bold renewal in cities abroad.
The project areas in this study, representing three separate commissions, are located in the inner Helsinki areas of Kallio and Vallila, and in Jyväskylä’s Alakaupunki.
In our vision, Kallio’s streetscape becomes a network attuned to the experiences and movement of pedestrians. Engaging and memorable street spaces can be created through a reorganization of traffic systems, active shopping streets can be developed into pleasant places of rendezvous, street planting used to unify entire neighbourhoods, and small urban parks and larger parkland areas used to affect the whole city-wide recreational network.
Vallila’s old industrial district is now a burgeoning commercial area. Its street-level facilities can be further developed as regards pedestrians, occupants, and the special character afforded by local small businesses. Changes will support and strengthen the area’s history and status as a workplace area, and promote a diverse urbanity through enhancement of pedestrian access, the reduction of vehicular traffic, and the addition of street greenery.
Our development principles of urban and landscape design for Alakaupunki are based on a conceptual analysis, and are intended to reinforce the area’s existing appeal and coherence. Three streets already earmarked for future changes such as infill development, detail plan amendments, and future repairs to street and public infrastructure grids, were chosen.
More functionality and greenery in the streetscape
Increasing the appeal of a commercial street
Fleminginkatu is a good example of a busy commercial street dominated by vehicular traffic. There is currently no street greenery, although small ‘parklets’ (the frontage parking spaces of small business rented for outdoor sales) are indicative of the potential of these premises to extend out into the street space.
The rejuvenated commercial street encourages the pedestrian to pause for a moment and engage with their surroundings. Part of the width of the street is to be reserved for the new interventions, and the the rest of the street is preserved as before, but in narrower form. This width reduction allows for large trees to be planted without disturbing adjacent buildings. A planted margin includes space for the terraces of restaurants and bars on a permanent basis, while across the street it is still possible to rent out parking bays for a variety of uses.
Green streets unifying Kallio
Suonionkatu is exemplary of an urban sidestreet with less commercial premises and less pedestrian traffic. In streets like this it is possible to provide pedestrians with facilities enabling them to move about freely.
Green streets are like small tranquil boulevards functioning as a recreational link between green areas and verdant residential areas. Due to space limitations we have tried to maximize the impact of greenery through an abundance of different species and the location of planted areas.
Unique streetscape in Vallilla
Elimäenkatu is a local distributor road and the area’s most busy thoroughfare. Traffic speed is often a problem on the wide and straight carriageways, making the street less appealing for pedestrians.
The new Elimäenkatu is easy-going and lined with large trees. It is punctuated along its route with transition points and street corners accentuated with groups of small trees. Planting is in an abundance of different species. Speed limits and the amount of through-traffic have also both been reduced. Variation is brought about by sideways transitions, street furniture, and paving.
Employing the potential of front gardens
The identity of lower town under compaction
The green impression of Alakaupunki is brought about largely by virtue of the roadside front gardens of residential buildings. It will be possible to preserve these elements despite a compaction of the urban fabric. The current front gardens are to be developed with a greater abundance of planted species in order to increase their appeal and be more in line with the age in which the area was initially developed. Species are chosen particularly to suit the lower town.