In August, 2012 I was selected to participate in an intensive urban design & master planning charrette in Finland, hosted by Aalto University in partnership with YTK/IFHP and the City of Jyvaskyla. I joined 38 outstanding students and young professionals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures to explore the renowned Finnish planning system and develop urban design solutions for the Kangas community, located in Jyväskylä Finland.
The Mission: To analyze an existing master plan for a proposed development in the City of Jyvaskyla and develop new urban planning solutions that improve upon the existing design.
The Context: To provide a very brief context, the City of Jyvaskyla is largely a university town, boasting one of the larger university campuses in Finland that features a number of Alvar Aalto buildings and focuses on educational studies in humanities, sciences, technology and health. In the past, the city was defined by its industrial roots in the pulp & paper industry, however with expanding operations overseas making this industry unsustainable, the city has undergone significant transformation over the past few decades to adapt to the changing economic climate. Focusing on service, health, technology and education, the city has experienced steady growth in population and this is something that can also be attributed to its setting and urban environment. Surrounded by three lakes, the city offers a unique environment for residents that offers both urban and rural qualities, a diversity of housing typologies and is also connected regionally by a major highway and rail system. While population growth remains to increase, there is also a disconnect between graduates, new residents and job opportunities within the city. Seeking further urban expansion to accommodate the projected increase in population, the city has created a master plan for a former industrial site located just northeast of the existing city centre which is intended to establish a new, unique community within the city.
Our Project: Through slight modifications to the master plan aimed at facilitating connections within the community, we strived to create a truly unique community that encourages social interaction and fosters economic growth. Providing increased connections which link people to places and jobs, nature with urbanity, past with present and future, the proposed community is intended to serve needs of its inhabitants while successfully activating their skills, potential and personality. This is the vision for a connected Kangas.