Best Practices Promoting Sustainable Urban Form (YKR-demo)




The project supports sustainable urbanization in Finnish cities and urban areas. It is carried out during 2019 and 2020 in collaboration with SYKE, Ministry of the Environment, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (Väylä) and The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA). Most of the work in the project is carried out in the case cities and regions. Cities and regional councils join the project with their local planning questions. The project seeks answers and solutions to practical planning problems and researches phenomena that affect the urban form. The research is executed in close cooperation with local planners and other agents. The main objective of the project is to produce information about best practices and solutions in planning. The results of the study support the process of  the revision of the Land Use and Building Act.

Case areas

The project began with the search for case areas. Municipalities, cities, urban areas, and regions were sent an invitation to join the project at the turn of the year 2018-2019. These case areas deal with distinctive planning problems. Therefore, the project explores a variety of approaches and themes. Research topics include climate change mitigation in master planning, planning questions of areas with decreasing populations, and the integration of spatial planning and transportation engineering. The project continues the development of the Urban Zone and Urban Fabrics methods and utilizes a variety of GIS-methods.


The case results are summed up into thematic summaries, handbooks and policy briefs. Thus, they can be used in the planning of city regions, impact assessments and in the revision of the legislative steering system. The project's closing report will be written at the end of the year 2020.
The first case study regarding the urban fabrics of the Helsinki region was carried out during 2018. The developed method enables the integration of spatial, transport and service planning as a whole. It also supports the reaching of climate targets and forms a uniform set of spatial data for the planning of the Helsinki region.


Case studies

The objective of the Tampere case study is to create A GIS-based tool for calculating the climate impacts of new plans. The tool is developed especially for the use of the master planning process. SYKE takes part in developing and evaluating the calculation model.

In the Kuopio city region case study, the focus is on the interaction between urban and rural areas and the functionality of the service network. The key topics in the study are schools in rural areas, rural development and mobility.

The Kajaani case study focuses on the dynamics of different types of residential areas. The study concentrates on the development of rural and urban residential areas and the changes in residents' migration behavior.

The Mikkeli city region case study also focuses on the interaction between urban and rural areas in the region. The case study analyzes the local level dynamics and the future development of areas with declining population. 

The objective of the Vihti case study is to examine how the Nummela center is connected to the possible future Espoo-Salo-track railway station in Höytiönnummi, Vihti. The case study aims to identify the urban fabrics elements of the walking, transit and automobile city. 

The objective of the Lappeenranta case study is to determine principles for the development of the zone surrounding the walking fabric area of the city center. This is done by identifying the urban fabrics elements, functions and lifestyles in the walking, transit and automobile city.

The Turku region case study focuses on housing dynamics, migration and their impacts on the development of the Turku region urban form. It also takes into account local level dynamics and the changes in residential areas.

In the Oulu region and Northern-Ostrobothnia case the objective is to study the geography of employment areas in the urban structure of the Oulu region. Futhermore, the case study focuses on the sustainability of commutes in the region.


Further information

Project director Ville Helminen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Phone +358 295 251 166,

Senior Adviser Juha Nurmi, Ministry of the Environment
Phone +358 295 250 181,

Senior Adviser Seppo Serola, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency
Phone +358 295 433 901,

Published 2019-04-08 at 14:09, updated 2019-12-13 at 12:56