Project introduction ---

KauKo project: shaping cities with wellbeing innovations

Artikkelikuva: Project introduction

The KauKo – Urban Environment as Innovation Platform for Wellbeing project (KauKo) supports citizen’s health and wellbeing with businesses operating in the field.


A city in which both residents and visitors enjoy themselves provides places and methods for physical activity and wellbeing. Accordingly, the promotion of everyday wellbeing has been highlighted in recent years in the strategies and programmes of many cities, such as Helsinki and Espoo. 

The objective of the KauKo project is, to find new feasible solutions for cities and their residents and, on the other hand, to build a multiple-operator ecosystem related to wellbeing services and permanent practices. The goal is to develop new markets for businesses focusing on wellbeing and physical activity and producing innovative solutions, and to support the competitiveness of these businesses. 

These innovations can be technology-based solutions, or alternatively for example some modifications that are integrated to the local urban environment. For example, the innovations can change the urban space to be more lively and more encouraging to physical activity, or they can utilise modularity, encourage to be playful and relaxed, support safe and pleasant routes, provide different services to support wellbeing, or increase wellbeing by investing in nature.

New, innovative solutions will be piloted together with residents and regional networks. In Helsinki, the piloting programmes will be carried out in the suburban regeneration areas of Malmi and Malminkartano. Suburban regeneration areas are selected districts of Helsinki in which the city has committed to improve the comfort and appeal of the residential areas over the coming years. The KauKo project will continue the testbed operations launched in the Helsinki Innovation Districts project in these areas. Additionally, the new Laurea campus area in Kivenlahti, Espoo, will also be utilised as a testbed.

The KauKo project involves cooperating with Helsinki’s Urban Development Division and Urban Environment Division. 

Duration, partners and funding

Project duration: 1 October 2023 – 30 September 2025

Partners: City of HelsinkiForum Virium HelsinkiLaurea University of Applied Sciences

Funding: €1,028,182 (European Regional Development Fund: €616,908), of which Forum Virium Helsinki’s share is €298,857 

The role of Forum Virium Helsinki

Forum Virium Helsinki is closely collaborating with the City of Helsinki’s team in the project. KauKo serves as a natural continuation of the Helsinki Innovation Districts project, in which a functional basis for living lab work has already been created within the selected city districts, where the operators have collaborated with businesses and new kinds of urban space solutions have been introduced in Helsinki.

In the KauKo project, Forum Virium Helsinki is responsible for producing a work package related to piloting innovative solutions and leading related innovation sprints that aim to specify the themes of the piloting programmes and the development of the ecosystem. Two piloting programmes will be implemented during the KauKo project.

Additionally, Forum Virium Helsinki will develop and create international networks and new cooperation related to the themes of the project.

Benefits for Helsinki

In recent years, the strategies and plans of the Cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area have emphasised the wellbeing and physical activity of residents. Achieving these objectives requires changes and new ideas: innovative solutions, products and services related to wellbeing and health, for which developing city districts provide viable testbeds. 

Businesses have been looking for more piloting opportunities in genuine urban environments and closer cooperation with cities. The KauKo project meets this needs by facilitating the utilisation of urban environments as a co-creation and testing platform for products in the sector. Pilot programs are one channel through which the city gets new solution concepts and companies get practical experience. 

The core objective and the long-term impact of the project is to strengthen the competitiveness and vitality of the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area by developing a piloting platform model for promoting wellbeing and health. The model will continue to be used after the project has ended. 


The KauKo project considers responsibility from many perspectives. The solutions developed for the built environment are in line with the principles of sustainable development. 

Furthermore, the project may have a positive impact on the equality of residents by taking into account the needs of various demographic groups.

Read more about the project (In Finnish)

Photo: Maija Astikainen

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