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Recently, Turku was ranked as the 7th smartest city in the world.
But what makes Turku, the oldest Finnish city with a population of about 200,000, located in southwestern Finland, one of the smartest cities in the world?
To understand this remarkable phenomenon, we interviewed one of the city´s major decision makers Rami Savila, who is the development director at the City of Turku.
Savila is responsible for the development processes in the city and also leads one of the flagship program called ”Smart & Wise Turku.” This program, according to Savila, is preparing the city for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development. It also aims to prepare the city for challenges posed by climate change, urbanization and population aging.
The program is also striving to create new business opportunities and increase the international appeal of Turku by cooperating with universities, companies and other interest groups in the region.
In addition to fast progressing technological development, the city has also decided to implement operating models, which encourage all groups of population to contribute to the society and the development of its services.
The initiatives of the city are wide-ranging. The following are six focal points highlighted by Savila:
- Carbon neutrality and resource wisdom
- Customership and service management
- Safety and security
- Urban design
- Traffic and mobility
- Prevention of social exclusion
For Turku, 2029 is an important year. This is the year when Turku will celebrate its 800th anniversary as the oldest Finnish city. This is also the year which will highlight the city´s future. ”Turku has clear objectives and direction for the future,” Savila said.
When asked about Turku´s role in the protection of environment and climate change mitigation, Savila said that the city has drafted its own climate goals.
”The objective of the City of Turku is to be carbon neutral by the year 2029. And in order to achieve this goal, greenhouse gas emissions in the Turku region will be reduced by at least 80 percent by 2029 compared to 1990 levels,” he said.
Turku is cooperating with citizens and the city´s interest groups to achieve the carbon neutral goal. At the same time, models are being introduced to estimate the environmental and life-cycle impacts of investments.
By the year 2040, the city will also carry out the resource wisdom principles related to zero emission, zero waste and sustainable use of natural resources.
In terms of internationalization, Turku is already cooperating with other European cities in different areas.
”Most cities have similar issues,” Savila said. ” Through cooperation and partnerships, Turku is sharing its thoughts and ideas internationally.”
An 800-year-old Nordic city is now one of the smartest cities in the world.