Viikki – Helsinki

Viikki Eco Neighbourhood

Street in Viikki

Street in Viikki

During the period 1998 to 2002, an experimental area of ecological building of international importance is being constructed at Viikki, a district to the Northeast of the centre of Helsinki. Viikki is situated 7 kilometres from the heart of Helsinki. By 2010, Viikki residential district will be completed with Science Park as its centre and will then provide 6 000 jobs, places for 6 000 students and homes for 13 000 people.

During the preparation of the local plan, there was a lively public debate about the ecology of land use and building, and great potential was seen in Viikki for an experiment in environmentally-conscious building. In August 1994 it was decided that Viikki would become the pilot area for the Eco-Community Project. An extensive network of actors was established for the project, whose commitment would ensure that the project aims would be implemented (Eco-Viikii).

The Viikki eco neighbourhood blocks are the result of long-term work aimed at putting ecological principles into practice in actual building. The master plan competition was won by a proposal based on a finger-like structure with alternating buildings and green open spaces. While the detailed plan for the area was being prepared, a competition at the neighbourhood and building level was organised. The proposals were evaluated using eco-criteria drawn up by an interdisciplinary working group. They consist of 5 factors to be taken into account in assessing the level of ecology of a scheme: pollution, the availability of natural resources,health, the biodiversity of nature, and nutrition. These factors contain a total of 16 criteria to be assessed in a project (Eco-Viikii).

Public space
The Viikkari Park for children and young people, situated next to the Viikinoja Park, applies ecological principles in the creation of a meeting place for Viikki residents.

An aim was to cut consumption of pure water by more than 20%. A water metre was installed in almost all the dwellings, in order to bill the water consumption for each one separately, as the best incentive for saving is for the inhabitants to pay for what they use.

Another aim was to keep the surface water run-off that flows towards the nature conservationarea as clean as possible and to improve the habitat for the vegetation.

Consumption & Lifestyle
A large part of the planting consists of fruit trees and berry bushes which can be considered another ecological theme in Eco-Viikki. A garden cultivation centre has been established adjacent to a copse in the centre of the Viikki Park. Here the residents from the nearby areas can rent an allotment garden between 500-1000m2. There are also several public service buildings, such as two day-care centres and a teacher training school, where ecological criteria were implemented.

Literature & websites
– Eco-Viikki, Aims, Implementation and Results, City of Helsinki, Ministry of Environment 2005
– Towards a Sustainable City. The Viikki Eco Neighbourhood Blocks., The Finnish Association of Architects, Eco Community Project, 2000
– Ecological building criteria for Viikki. Helsinki City planning Publications, 1998
– Viikki. A Science Park at the Centre of a New University District. City of Helsinki, City Planning Department 1999

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