The six largest cities of Finland have a shared strategy entitled 6Aika. This strategy helps to bring EU financing for sustainable urban development.
 
6Aika – Open and smart services is a strategy for sustainable urban development about to enter the implementation phase. The participating cities in 6Aika are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku. The 6Aika Strategy is included in the new EU Structural Fund programme approved by the Finnish Government in January 2014. The implementation will begin before summer 2014.
 
The 6Aika Strategy focuses on three areas in the development of an open ecosystem for city services: open innovation platforms, open data and interfaces, and open participation.
 
Objective
 
The objective of 6Aika – Open and smart services is to create new know-how, business and jobs in Finland. The strategy strives to enable better and more efficient services in cities and urban areas, to improve the competitiveness of businesses in the cities, and to utilize the innovation capacity of the entire urban community. Furthermore, the availability, effectiveness and productivity of services will be improved by developing functional online services to complement traditional services.
 
Implementation
 
The 6Aika Strategy will be implemented with projects shared by the cities. Research institutes, educational institutions, civic organizations and other organizations can also join the projects. Applications for the first 6Aika Strategy programme will be accepted from June 2014 onwards. The application process will be organized by Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, which is also the official source of information about the application process. Projects will be selected for implementation by a steering group made up of city representatives.
 
Funding
 
Sustainable urban development projects are funded through the 6Aika Strategy in 2014–2020 as follows: total funding of nearly EUR 80 million provided by the European Union (50%), the six participating cities (33%) and the Finnish Government (17%). 6Aika projects may later obtain additional financing from the European Social Fund. The amount of potential additional funding will be announced later.
 
The 6Aika Strategy process is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki.
 
The strategy and its projects have a website at www.6aika.fi. The site is in Finnish.