With this open call for agile pilots, we are looking for innovative and environmentally responsible solutions to add greenery in dense urban areas. Experiments can be green infrastructure solutions in urban space, as well as technology and services related to their maintenance and functionality monitoring.
Applications for the PilotGreen agile piloting program will be accepted from November 15th to December 18th. The total budget allocated for the open call is a maximum of 50,000 euros (VAT 0%) in Helsinki and a maximum of 15,000 euros (VAT 0%) in Lahti. For the tender process, we select 3–5 agile pilots in Helsinki and 1–2 in Lahti. The cost for each pilot should not exceed 15,000 euros. To provide more information about the program, we will host a hybrid information event on Monday, November 20, 2023, from 14:00 to 15:30.
The PilotGreen project assists in developing experiments, initiating them, and identifying suitable locations for experimentation, as well as communication. Moreover, the project provides support to companies in reaching the users and co-designing the solutions with various stakeholders, including residents and experts. We highly value cooperation among different stakeholders.
Towards climate resilient and pleasant city
In our open call, we are seeking innovations that enhance urban greenery and facilitate the maintenance and monitoring of novel green infrastructure solutions. Creative green infrastructure solutions play a crucial role in densely built urban areas. They help in adapting to climate change, supporting biodiversity, and improving the overall comfort and well-being of urban residents.
Diverse and innovative green infrastructure solutions can offer a wide range of ecosystem services, i.e. nature benefits. These include, e.g. mitigating flood risks, serving as carbon sinks, cooling and purifying urban air, mitigating noise, and creating experientially rich environments for urban residents.
What kind of solutions are we looking for?
The aim of the agile piloting program is to foster the development and testing of new, innovative, and bold solutions that address the following questions:
- What kinds of solutions could bring more nature to dense urban areas, supporting biodiversity and offering various ecosystem services?
- What kinds of technologies and services could be implemented for the sustainable and cost-effective maintenance of these innovative solutions, while also considering the requirements of end-users?
- What kinds of technologies can be utilized to monitor the performance of the novel solutions and the benefits they provide?
The focus of the open call is primarily on new types of vegetated structures, such as modular and element-like designs, and their integration with technologies, digital solutions, and services. These solutions may include various features, such as portability, temporariness, interactivity, easy and cost-effective installation and maintenance, year-round applicability, and adaptability for multiple uses or purposes.
We are seeking environmentally responsible solutions that prioritize sustainable use of natural resources, as well as adhere to circular economy principles, and harness renewable energy sources. The overarching goal of the PilotGreen project is to foster the growth of businesses operating within the green infrastructure sector, making the scalability of the pilots a key consideration in the open call.
Furthermore, the agile piloting program aims to gather valuable insights for experimenting with green infrastructure across diverse urban areas and locations.
City districts for piloting
The agile piloting program offers the opportunity to test solutions in a real urban environment. In Helsinki, the Helsinki Innovation Districts Malmi, Malminkartano-Kannelmäki, Mellunkylä, Pasila and Kalasatama serve as experimental environments. In Lahti, solutions are being tested in the Mukkula district.
Helsinki as an experimental environment
In Helsinki Innovation Districts (Malmi, Malminkartano-Kannelmäki, Mellunkylä) the aim is especially the development of railway station areas, temporary and user-oriented improvement of renovation sites, emphasizing the unique features of the areas and involving residents. In Pasila and Kalasatama, the key aspects are strengthening the green infrastructure network, managing stormwaters and mitigating noise, as well as cooling the urban structure.
Possible experimental locations are street environments, market squares and the immediate outdoor spaces of various properties such as kindergartens, schools, senior centers, commercial properties and residential buildings.
Lahti as an experimental environment
In the Mukkula district of Lahti, the objective is to transform the shopping center environment into a communal, cozy, and green meeting place that fulfills the residents’ desires. Substantial information has already been gathered from local residents and operators, which can be utilized in the solution development process.
The envisioned area should provide comfortable seating, protection from rain, wind, and heat, as well as include a diversity of hardy, year-round greenery, as well as concerning edible plants. Lightning of the area is an important perspective. The intention is to test these solutions also during the winter months. It is essential that individuals of varying ages, such as the elderly and the young, with their specific needs are taken into account, including novel opportunities for interaction. These efforts contribute to the creation of a more positive identity for the area. The targeted location for these solutions primarily include the vacant area left by the burned shopping center building and the entrance zones of the stores.
Co-development and support for experimentation
The kick-off of the piloting program is arranged as a networking event, aiming to foster collaborative opportunities among participating companies, cities, and RDI (Research, Development, and Innovation) operators, including LAB and Metropolia universities of applied sciences. Companies selected in the piloting program benefit from advisory sessions on key themes, such as sustainable green infrastructure construction, novel structural and material solutions, and monitoring of the functionality of the solutions. Metropolia’s business experts and students actively contribute to the collaborative development of the solutions.
Within the PilotGreen project, the success of the selected experiments is continually assessed. The project helps with refining, focusing, or reorienting solutions during the testing period.
Student work available
Companies have the opportunity to present challenges related to experimentation or product development to be resolved among student groups, guided by experts from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences conducts this work as innovation projects or project courses, with access to their living lab facilities. The students involved primarily come from technology-related fields, although contributions from students in social and cultural fields are also possible.
Meanwhile, LAB University of Applied Sciences’ engineering and design students engage in studies related to experiments through project courses and theses. Urban design students, for instance, delve into concept development and user-oriented approaches, while environmental technology and community planning students actively participate in the monitoring and evaluation of experiments from both technical and environmental perspectives.
Timetable of the piloting program
The deadline for submitting tenders is December 18, 2023, by 16:00, and selections will be finalized by January 17, 2024.
Experiments chosen as part of the piloting program will be specified in early spring 2024, in collaboration with the PilotGreen team and the participating cities. Locating the pilots in experimental areas is scheduled for spring or early summer 2024, with the duration of the testing period depending on the solution’s characteristics and specific testing requirements, such as winter hardness.
Throughout the testing period, companies gather data on their solution’s functionality. When necessary, solutions can be further developed during the testing period. Students from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and LAB University of Applied Sciences assist in measuring the functionality of the solutions and collecting user feedback. Following the testing period, comprehensive evaluations are conducted from various perspectives.
Evaluation and selection
The invitation for tenders contains a description of the subject of the call, the application procedure and the evaluation criteria. Bids are submitted using an application form that is open until 18.12.2023 16:00. The application instructions guide you on how to make an offer. Please note that these documents are available only in Finnish.
The expert jury of the PilotGreen project evaluates the bids submitted by the deadline and selects the best proposals according to the scoring and the budget available. The final selection is based on the evaluation criteria. All those participating in the tender will be notified of the results.
Information event and questions
It is possible to ask questions during the bidding period, concerning the invitation for tenders, by sending an email to email@example.com (the title of the message “PilotGreen piloting program, open call”). The questions asked and their answers are published on this website as a separate document.
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.
Photo: Johan Östberg