Helsinki —aspects of urban development and planning


Within a typical process of urbanization several particularities can be noticed in the Helsinki region: The peninsular location does not allow a zonal expansion of the city. It has rather enforced a tight spatial sectoral expansion with specific problems of traffic and land use. The retarded industrialization has led to an unusually fast population increase without control until the 1960s.

The rapid growth created a twofold problem: pressure of population versus inadequate housing, small residences versus high rents; consequently selective migration and small size families. The number of jobs rapidly increased and displaced the residential population of the inner city. This resulted in high traffic which neither the few main roads nor the public transport system of central Helsinki could cope with.

These problems correspond to the essential tasks of urban planning: the bottle neck in housing construction has to be broken; the growth of jobs in the central city needs to be stopped as well as the displacement of the residential population. Decentralization, especially of the private tertiary and quartary sector may help. A system of central places within the region would diminish the commuting traffic. Transportation may be solved by a concept of growth points and growth axis along the railway lines.

This grown concept of Helsinki should be thought over under the now foreseeable conditions of population stagnation.

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Butzin, B. Helsinki —aspects of urban development and planning. GeoJournal 2, 11–26 (1978).

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  • Railway Station
  • Railway Line
  • Residential Population
  • Growth Point
  • Metro Station