Business cooperation well underway in Vantaa – focus now being directed at residents and services

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Six City Strategy projects have created a new operating model for co-creation in Vantaa. The City has created climate actions and resource-wise solutions in collaboration with companies in Tikkurila and the city’s business areas, for example.

There has traditionally been little EU development funding available in the Uusimaa region and Vantaa. This is why the Six City Strategy has been especially important for Vantaa.

“Despite being a city characterised by strong growth, we have had little in the way of development activities compared to other major Finnish cities. All our focus has been on managing our rapid growth. The Six City Strategy has helped us to influence the themes for which project funding has been applied for. This has had a tremendous impact on turning Vantaa into a development-oriented city,” says member of the Six City Strategy steering group, Business Development Manager Kimmo Viljamaa from the City of Vantaa.

Vantaa had to start with the basics, such as increasing the development and project expertise of its personnel. According to Viljamaa, the City has come a long way since then. Now project-based development is an everyday activity in the City organisation and the personnel know how to make use of external funding opportunities.

The Ratkaisutehdas solution factory operating model that Vantaa piloted in Six City Strategy projects has proven its worth as an effective co-creation tool. It has created a shared operating method for development, in which different challenges are tackled in collaboration between the City and other actors, such as companies, educational institutions and residents.

Vantaa is the coordinator of the Last Mile mobility project.

Climate actions and development of business areas in collaboration with companies

In Vantaa, Six City Strategy projects have been visible particularly in the form of pilot projects conducted in collaboration with companies. These projects have provided companies with opportunities to test and develop their applications and commercial solutions while simultaneously allowing Vantaa to accumulate knowledge for its own development efforts. The projects have also engaged residents to participate in the development of the Tikkuraitti pedestrian street and the multipurpose spaces of Tikkurila Library, among others.

”Tikkuraitti was a pilot site in the Climate Street project, in which we came up with climate-positive solutions in collaboration with companies. At the same time, we also tested a 3D tool with which residents were able to participate in the development of Tikkuraitti,” Viljamaa explains.

In Myyrmäki, the City has organised Myyrmäki forums, through which companies have participated in the area’s development together with the Myyrmäki Movement and Vantaa’s City Planning Unit. The Six City Strategy is also visible in the business cooperation at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences’ Myyrmäki Campus, which has been developed into the most business-positive campus in Finland.

Vantaa’s business cooperation efforts also emphasise the City’s ambitious climate and circular economy objectives. In relation to this, Vantaa has developed its business areas, such as Petikko-Varisto, with the aim of not only on increasing the City’s vitality, but making the Vantaa area more attractive by means such as favouring the use of renewable energy sources.“Our goal is to create carbon-neutral and resource-wise business areas. Together with companies, we are looking into ways in which business areas could be developed over the long term so that they consume less energy, use materials in a resource-wise manner and also benefit companies,” Viljamaa says.

Aiming to increase the participation of special groups

Initially, Six City Strategy projects in Vantaa focused primarily on business cooperation and the city as a development platform, but now services are being increasingly developed directly for residents and the social and health care sector.

“We have many special groups, such as the unemployed and young people at risk of social exclusion, and the largest foreign-language population in the Six Cities, and our aim is to get these groups to actively participate in our society. These are major issues and thus more difficult to solve,” Viljamaa admits.

Viljamaa hopes that the Six City Strategy will pave the way for more cooperation models between major cities, with the help of which operations and services could be improved. Such models would also serve to improve Finland’s international competitiveness.

The article was first published in spring 2019.

Read more on Six City Strategy in Vantaa