The KauKo – Kaupunkiympäristöt Kokeilualustana hyvinvointi-innovaatioille (‘Urban Environments as a Trial Platform for Wellbeing Innovations’) 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, on the one hand, 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 these businesses’ competitiveness.
The innovative solutions can be technology-based, but also spatial. For example, they can build the urban space to make it lively and encourage physical activity, utilise modularity, encourage play and unhurriedness, support safe and pleasant routes, provide different services to support wellbeing, or increase wellbeing by investing in nature.
New, innovative solutions will be tried together with residents and area networks. In Helsinki, the trial programmes will be carried out in urban renewal areas, of which Malmi and Malminkartano were selected for the purpose. Urban renewal areas are districts the development of which Helsinki will invest in over the coming years. The KauKo project will continue the trial platform 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 pilot area.
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
- 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 trial platform work has already been created in city districts, the operators have collaborated with businesses and new kinds of urban space solutions have been brought to Helsinki.
In the KauKo project, Forum Virium Helsinki is responsible for producing a work package related to trialling innovative solutions and leading related innovation sprints, the objective of which is to specify the themes of the trial programmes and the development of the ecosystem. Two trial 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 trial platforms.
Businesses have been looking for more trial 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 testing and development platform for products in the sector. The trial programmes are one way to provide the City with new solution proposals and businesses with practical experiences.
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 trial platform model for promoting wellbeing and health. The model will continue to be used after the project has ended.
The KauKo project takes responsibility into account 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 the needs of different groups of people into account.
Photo: Maija Astikainen