The smart district of Kalasatama has become the number one destination for international innovation tourists visiting Helsinki. In the last two years, the Kalasatama area has been visited by 1,500 experts interested in smart cities.
These visitors, in a total of 98 groups, have come from all over the world, especially Europe and Asia. What’s garnered the most interest is the fact that nearly a third of the Kalasatama’s residents are participating in their district’s development.
So far Kalastama has been visited, among others, by the German Bundestag, the director of Smart Nation Singapore, dozens of French companies specialising in the development of smart city solutions, South African startups and the entire innovation ecosystem of Taiwan, from ministries to universities and technology companies.
“Innovation tourism has grown rapidly in recent years. Successful nations and cities are looking to harness new technologies and practices to better serve their citizens and foster economic growth,” says Veera Mustonen, the head of the Smart Kalasatama project.
One more hour a day
These innovation tourists are seeking the best examples of smart traffic management, smart lighting solutions and smart energy. One such tourist is South Korean researcher Soo Min, who visited Helsinki in early September in order to learn more about the smart solutions of Kalasatama. She’s also developing a smart city herself on the island of Jeju.
“Helsinki has a good reputation as a developer of smart cities. What interests me the most about Kalasatama are the ecological solutions and the fact that the district is being built on top of an old harbour,” she says.
The Smart Kalasatama project is turning the district of Kalasatama, currently under construction, into a smart district, the digital services of which will save each resident an hour per day. The project is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, a subsidiary of the City of Helsinki specialising in the development of digital services.
One third of residents involved
The thing that’s really caught the attention of innovation tourists in Kalasatama is resident participation. Out of the three thousand residents of Kalasatama, over 800 have participated in the development of the district’s new smart solutions.
“The more technologically advanced a country is, the more interest they have in involving citizens in the development of smart solutions and more efficient everyday life,” says Veera Mustonen.
Veera Mustonen, Head of Smart Kalasatama tel. +358 (0)40 508 4022 veera.mustonen(at)forumvirium.fi @VeeraIMustonen