Mayor Jan Vapaavuori has big plans for the future of Helsinki. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Mayor Jan Vapaavuori has big plans for the city he runs.

His vision is to make Helsinki the most functional city in the world. “The vision speaks to every city resident, to the trade and industry, as well as to everyone who visits our city. Day by day, Helsinki has to be a better city for all of us,” said Vapaavuori.

In comparison to the previous council strategies, the new strategy is more concise, vision-based and focused on the cooperation between administrative branches. “This strategy sets out ambitious and clear objectives for what we want to be,” Vapaavuori said. “We have to work every day to be an increasingly international, service-oriented and attractive city.”

“We have to work every day to be an increasingly international, service-oriented and attractive city.”

Vapaavuori reminds us that Helsinki is the sole metropolis in Finland and that brings along good things, but there are big challenges as well. The strategy is still very humane. “Helsinki is primarily a place and a community, not a bureaucracy. I believe that the city cannot solve the big challenges – nor is it even sensible to do so – on its own, but instead we need strategic partnerships with everyone who is interested in developing Helsinki,” he said.

The City Strategy for 2017-2021 is divided into five key points:

1) The most functional city in the world
o A living and captivatingly original city
o A faster and more agile organizational culture through a controlled rhythm change

2) Securing sustainable growth the most essential task of the city
o We support every young person and prevent social exclusion
o An international, living and captivating Helsinki of events

3) Developing services
o Helsinki is the world’s most impactful place for learning
o A moving and healthy city for all
o Living, distinctive and safe neighborhoods
o Modern climate responsibility

4) Responsible management of finances the foundation of a prosperous city

5) Helsinki strengthens and diversifies its promotion of interests

The strategy proposal defines, among other things, the following objectives for Helsinki:

• to resolutely fight segregation and social exclusion;
• to be among Europe’s most intriguing locations for innovative start-up activities and to be Finland’s best city for enterprises;
• to be a carbon neutral city by the year 2035;
• to gradually promote free-of-charge early childhood education;
• to double the number of places for education and early childhood education in English;
• to promote the mobility of the citizens;
• to be the world’s best city in utilizing digitalization.

In the strategy, there is also a proposal concerning a real estate strategy for Helsinki, which includes a plan for the repair or replacement of school, day-care or playground buildings that suffer from indoor air pollution.

A marine strategy is established to improve the accessibility of the city’s seaside locations and the services in the archipelago, as well as to promote marine events.

The City Board processes the proposal at its August 28 meeting. After this, the proposal is discussed by the City Council on September 13 and the final decision is made by the Council on September 27.

Source: The City of Helsinki

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