The new innovation hub Urban3 for built environment and smart city operators was launched on 18 March 2021. Operations were gradually initiated in 2020 at Maria 01, the largest startup hub in the Nordic countries.
Forum Virium Helsinki’s projects Mobility Launchpad and Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab raised awareness of smart mobility back in 2019 at the demo container in the courtyard of Maria 01. Now, the activities are performed indoors in the Urban3 space, named after Maria 01’s building number 3. Urban3 is a meeting place for built environment and smart city operators, designed to promote co-operation between them and to raise awareness of innovative solutions. Urban3 is a co-creation space designed for a wide variety of projects, events and content production. It is a place for spreading success stories in Finland and abroad.
Urban3 brings innovation ecosystems together
The space and community of Urban3 is orchestrated by KIRAHub, a non-profit ecosystem operator in the built environment sector. The operations were initiated to meet the needs of the property and construction sector to break down internal walls of the sector and get operators together to promote a sustainable reform through digitalisation. The purpose of the community, established on the initiative of KIRAHub, is to make the space a comprehensive and live platform for promoting the sustainable future of Finnish built environments.
“The digitalisation of built environments brings us closer to an increasing number of sectors, such as energy production, service industry and mobility – a wide variety of innovations occur at these interfaces. There are various ecosystem operators in the sector that promote the same goals with different approaches. We think it is important to bring these operators together and their networks in a shared ‘situation room’ in order for the vision of the future of built environments to be shaped together,” says KIRAHub’s Head of Community and Culture Vappu Id.
“First and foremost, Urban3 is a place for new ideas. Our extended ecosystem allows for co-operation between companies and professionals from different industries in a completely new way,” says Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab’s Project Manager Janne Rinne from Forum Virium Helsinki.
Urban3 already provides a space for six ecosystem operators that promote the development of built environments or smart cities with their unique approaches.
“A well-functioning property and construction sector is an essential part of a wealthy digital society where the use of personal data is a routine. We want to participate in the development of ethical, ecological and financial sustainability in this industry as well,” says General Manager Teemu Ropponen from MyData Global about their involvement.
“Built environments are also the largest users of location data. As the need for location data and services continues to grow, it is invaluable for our members to have the opportunity to interact with an extensive range of operators in the sector,” says Managing Director Juha Saarentaus of GeoForum Finland.
“At Urban3, we have an excellent framework for improving collaboration, visibility, common events and networking,” says Mobility Launchpad’s Project Manager Raimo Tengvall of Forum Virium Helsinki. “Based on this co-operation, here at Forum Virium we have already arranged events together with GeoForum and KIRAHub and a training session with MyData Global even before the official launch of Urban3.”
The space is also equipped with an internal ‘Media lab, Visual lab & Sound lab’ combination. Its purpose is to encourage the sector to share its lessons and success stories easily with a wider target group with the help of a team of renowned professionals.
Open test platform for new solutions
“We had been looking for an ideal location for a long time and, at the Maria 01 campus, we can expand our ecosystem genuinely into the startup sector. Maria’s ambitious plans to expand suit our ambitions very well,” says KIRAHub’s Vappu Id, explaining the location of Urban3.
Maria 01 is already home to more than 170 startup companies. The members of the community include more than 1,400 ambitious pioneers of different industries.
“New companies participating in the project have emerged from the startup community, which is also an interesting location for pilot projects of companies based elsewhere,” says Raimo Tengvall from Forum Virium Helsinki’s Mobility Launchpad project.
“After setting up the ecosystem, the show room and testbed concepts are the next major features of our space that require effort. There are already a lot of Finnish innovations experimented on in the space. We hope that Urban3 will become a distinguished test platform for these solutions and the impactful entities made possible by them.”
Operators involved with the Urban3 space:
KIRAHub, Forum Virium Helsinki: Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab & Mobility Launchpad, AEC Business, Vastuu Group & Platform of Trust, KEKO project, GeoForum Finland, MyData Global, Open Knowledge Finland, Granlund, OiOi & Urbantech Helsinki
Urban3 show room operators/solutions:
Naava, IISY Freesi, Salto + Ratna, Spacent, OiOi, Granlund, Lightform, Screen Cloud, Ramboll, Zoan, Nokia, Solteq, Genelec, Sova3D + exterior electric car charging station Digitouch/Charzzy
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