Green pilots begin in Kalasatama area

Artikkelikuva: Green pilots begin in Kalasatama area

This summer, three different pilots will bring more greenery to Kalasatama and Suvilahti: a green tram stop, a temporary park built out of surplus plants and urban furniture that will bring a touch of wild nature into the city’s concrete jungle.

Kalasatama is one of Helsinki’s new and growing residential areas. Upon its completion in the 2040s, it will be home to up to 25,000 city residents. A pleasant living environment also needs invigorating and varied urban nature, but the green spaces of Kalasatama are still under construction. Since residents have been calling for a greener environment, now responding to received feedback with three pilots focusing on urban nature solutions that are especially suited for a dense urban environment. 

During summer 2024, two locations in Kalasatama and Suvilahti will be used to test modular, meaning easy to move and install, green structures. The pilots will not only add to the greenery and pleasantness of the areas, but also respond to the effects of the climate crisis, such as the heat island phenomenon that heats up densely built areas. 

Another pilot will cover the area’s new tram stop with vegetation, in addition to which Suvilahti will serve as the site for testing a temporary park assembled out of recycled materials and urban furniture suitable for preserving topsoil. The first pilot sites will be set up at the start of June, with the rest to be set up during July. The pilots are part of the PilotGreen project, which focuses on urban greenery. The pilots are being carried out in collaboration with Business Helsinki.

The pilots being carried out in Suvilahti will be delighting festival-goers and local residents throughout the summer. There will also be events organised around the pilots – the Surplus Park planting party is open to everyone, and in the autumn city residents will be able to stop by the pilot sites to enjoy an art event.

Tram stop on Hermannin rantatie turning green

The Green Tram Stop pilot will cover a traditional tram stop in greenery for the benefit of city residents and local biodivesity. The pilot involves constructing a green roof and plant pillars for the double tram stop on Hermannin rantatie in Kyläsaari, Helsinki. The new structures will offer resting spots for both insects and city dwellers suffering from the summer heat. The solution utilises a rainwater irrigation system and perennial plants that are as maintenance-free as possible. The party responsible for turning the tram stop green is Innogreen.

The pilot is being carried out as part of the Kalastama-Pasila Project, and thanks to the modular design of the green structures, they could eventually be set up at all the tram stops in Helsinki. The pilot is being carried out in collaboration with planning and consulting company WSP, Metropolitan Area Transport Ltd and outdoor advertising company JCDecaux Finland Oy, which owns Helsinki’s tram stops. The pilot will be focusing particularly on examining the performance of the solution, its maintenance intervals, user experiences and impacts on local biodiversity. 

The benefits of the green stop will be measured using sensors that will collect data at least on temperature, air humidity and the soil moisture. It is hoped that the measurements will reveal what kind of an impact increased temporary greenery has. The data collection will be carried out by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. 

Image: Innogreen’s illustration of the potential implementation of the green tram stop.

Surplus Park is a home for damaged plants

At the cusp of summer, many plant shops are left with surplus plants that did not find buyers during the spring season. These surplus plants are now being given a new life in a concrete urban environment. The Surplus Park pilot involves creating an affordable and ecologically sustainable temporary green oasis in Suvilahti, which will provide city residents with recreational and other nature benefits. The party responsible for the implementation of the park is Blokgarden.

In the pilot, surplus plants are planted in large recycling bags upholstered in used trade fair mats and equipped with an irrigation system. After this, the bags can be placed on any surface, such as car parks or other types of fields. Local residents and operators can contribute to the upkeep of the park by participating in volunteer plantings, for example. The project will also select two people to actively contribute to irrigation in the Suvilahti pilot site, who will be rewarded for their efforts with tickets to the Flow Festival. 

The Surplus Park is not only a green space, but also a message that even defective or used things can be beautiful and functional. The ecological and community-oriented pilot has the potential to add to the biodiversity and pleasantness of urban areas. At the same time, the Surplus Park offers a potential new business model and method for the communal management of urban spaces. The park is also a good example of a circular economy, as all of its materials are either recycled or saved from being disposed of as waste.

Nature Station highlights soil in urban nature

Consisting of modular structures, the Nature Station presents a new approach to the promotion of local nature and biodiversity in urban environments, particularly in the vicinity of areas under construction. The station, which consists of box-like modules filled with soil, offers a new way of utilising topsoil in areas under construction. Local topsoil can be stored near construction sites in temporary, modular walls and seat structures covered in plants, which simultaneously landscape the construction site. After construction is complete, the topsoil can be utilised in new local green spaces, which is a more effective approach to preserving local biodiversity than starting from scratch. 

Designed by Nomaji Landscape Architects Ltd. and Abau Design Oy, the concept offers city residents an opportunity to sit down and enjoy nature in the middle of an asphalted city. In addition to this, it serves as an important habitat for insects and other small organisms, bringing a touch of wild nature into the city’s concrete jungle.

The pilot project to be carried out in Suvilahti is an opportunity to test the functioning of the Nature Station in practice on a smaller scale. The pilot consists of three modules that can be used as hangout spots and seats. The pilot will focus particularly on how seeds in the soil start to sprout through the structures. In addition to this, the City and the companies carrying out the pilot are interested in seeing how pollinators and city residents learn how to utilise the green area.

The construction materials of the Nature Station consist of steel and various cover materials, such as wood and steel mesh. The modular elements are durable and reusable. The pilot represents a step towards more sustainable city planning and provides concrete solutions to the challenges of dense urban environments. 

The PilotGreen project (January 2023–December 2025) aims to make cities greener and more comfortable by piloting new green infrastructure solutions in partnership with businesses, cities and residents. The project is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, and the project partners are Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and LAB University of Applied Sciences. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Main photo of the article: Laura Oja / Helsinki Material Bank

Additional information

Project Manager Mirka Råberg

Mirka Råberg
Project Manager
+358 50 430 1996

Project Planner Santeri Kero

Santeri Kero
Project Planner
+358 40 614 6424

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