Länsisatamanpuisto Park

Kind of a City Park
-Happy Parkin' - A new interface for Finnish outdoor people 2005

Main plot:
19th century – A golden age for big city-park making in Helsinki. Originally constructed around the concept of a Sunday stroll.

20th century - The meaning, use and life of the parks are transformed with the changing society. But no new big city parks are built!

21st century - Take on the challenge to create a new type of interface for the city park! Based on the contemporary socio/cultural, ecological and economical situation....

Challenges :
1. New Social Patterns
We live our lives in new, more diverse and unpredictable patterns. The family structure is far from uniform and the individual focus of today create new needs on all living environments. The wish to be able to have quality experiences constantly is huge and that blur the border between the adult world and the child world.

2. Educated consumers
Linked to the challenge of the new social patterns is the new level of awareness of choice in society. The well educated and well informed consumer in Helsinki dose not only have (new) physical needs connected to their modern living environment but also has higher expectations on a mental and intellectual life-style compatible level of their interfaces.

3. Multitude of cultural backgrounds
The cultural background gets more diverse – both because of a multitude of information sources, media richness and globalisation, and an increased numbers of people with various cultural backgrounds moving to Helsinki. Many historic parks have been built in relation to a socio-cultural common story. The challenge for the new city park is to capture the multitude of choice that comes with multidude of cultural backrounds and becom a functioning interface for the public park experience consumers.

4. 92 % claims Urban Nature important
The question about the urban nature will become one of the most crucial questions in the coming years of building and planning in Europe. Urban nature is as much about securing the biodiversity, keeping movements and flows connected in the ecological structure as it passes through cities, as it is about the nature as an experience value and recreational opportunity for the city inhabitants. Both instant, as in having a coffe in an inner city pocket-park, as well as on a grand day out or planned excursion. Access to green areas is factor that plays a role in real estate economic systems wherefore we are truly in a win-win situation!

5. Helsinki biodiversity - 1000 wild plants, 46 specis of mammals
The vegetation situation in Helsinki is in many ways exciting. The local flora is influenced both from the eastern continental vegetation zone and the western maritime zone. The richness of the close-by nature is a resource that is a great challenge to integrate into the park.

6. Active population 85 millions outdoor activities a year
The levels of outdoor activitits have increased rapidly over the last years. The green outdoor areas of the city becomes a part of the urban livingroom.

7. Climate/Around the clock use: 24-7 All seasons.
The new city park challenges the concept of 19th century park program and transforms the site into an urban interface. Green spaces, though they are both dense and intense has backwaters for privacy and contemplation.

8. Economy: Most complains are about maintance
Creativity in maintenance factors can be used as a design-tool for the layout of the park. Combinations of high and short and even cut grass creates alternative programs both for play and leisure as for animal and plant life. With design awareness a maintenance level can be set out of choice. Calculations done by the team are furthermore indicating that the cost generated by modern day maintenance is comparable with the cost of a part-time employed park manager. An alternative to organising maintenance big apparatus style can be a local park host, a park brownie.

Form concept :
The team uses the complexity of the program and the levelling of the topography as a concept for a park inhabiting a multitude of possibilities of choice on public, privacy and tempo. The wild mix and close connection of activities creates a design enabling the park to be an effective interface for people of all ages. The density and variety of choice creates an urban vibe that at the same time is a rich vessel for biological life.