The Urban Eco Islands project will develop Vasikkasaari island in Helsinki and Aegna island in Tallinn into new types of smart nature tourism destinations.
The islands will be developed based on the principles of sustainable tourism, taking into account the sensitive archipelago nature. At the same time, the project will examine how experience-based and sustainable tourism can be promoted with new, innovative digital solutions.
The aim is to develop the areas together with the visitors by increasing environmental and nature awareness and attractiveness for both locals and tourists. The accumulated sensor data is visualised and processed further to show more extensively how the area interests visitors.
Duration, partners and funding
The project is funded by Interreg Central Baltic. It has a total budget of 1,093,705 euros, of which Forum Virium Helsinki’s share is 349,173 euros. The project duration is April 2019 to June 2021. The project partners are Stockholm Environment Institute, the City of Tallinn, the City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki.
Role of Forum Virium
In the project, Forum Virium is responsible for the development and modelling of digital solutions that protect nature and attract visitors. For theme-specific workshops, FVH also surveys the needs and wishes of different interest groups with the sensor package in mind – from hobbyists to public operators. The aim is also to try different off-grid solutions for power and networks and document what has been learned.
The sensors can be used, for example, to monitor the use of routes and how the sensitive nature is preserved. This creates a new way of experiencing the archipelago, as it were. The aim with the solutions is to offer more things to experience; the visitors can continue their nature experiences even after the visit.
Benefit to Helsinki
The residents of Helsinki benefit from the project by gaining improved transport connections and more information about the island. The residents are also given the opportunity to preserve the delicate archipelago and nature based on the accumulated information and, if they like, participate in gathering the information by transmitting information and observations on nature.
By gathering information with sensors, methods of citizen science and drones in the island environment and presenting it in an intuitive and interesting form, we give visitors an opportunity to get to know the island and its conditions before going there. A user-friendly interface is at the core of this objective and indeed among the most important tasks of FVH in the project.
During the two-year project to develop Vasikkasaari and Aegna, a development guide for camping destinations will also be created for the use of other nature tourism destinations, for example.
Follow the project on Twitter: @IslandDigiLab
Follow Vasikkasaari Nature from the live camera: Urban Eco Islands -YouTube channel
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