Espoo is investing heavily in the development of its future urban environment in the form of resources and spaces. The EUE program is a key tool. The results are already apparent: the prototype of an information service serving energy-use planning is on the Net for all to see and the Urban Mill, a creative hub of urban innovations, opened early this year.
Espoo is the location in Finland that most naturally lends itself to conducting future urban planning aiming at the top of the world: Otaniemi with its universities, Keilaniemi and its futuristic business district, and the world famous Tapiola Garden City form a splendid platform for a strategy built around the theme of art, science and economics.
– Of course, there is no intention to limit development and experimentation just to that area; they will be applied across the city, says Project Manager Robert Eriksson from Espoo Office of Urban Planning. – Naturally, the city will make full use of the unique resources of these three areas.
The good decisions have also been acted on. In the last few years the city has become involved in versatile research cooperation which has already produced master´s theses and doctoral dissertations. The staff has been provided funding for research and facilities e.g. from the Urban Mill which is in the process of launching its operation.
An energy information application and Urban Mill as tools
Espoo has also been an active participant in the EUE research program of RYM. The program has played a big role in the city´s development of a tool that makes use of energy maps in local development of energy systems. The magnitude of solar radiation reaching the roof surfaces of all buildings in Espoo and generation of ground-source heat have been assessed on the basis of rock and soil data. This open source model may be used to analyze energy alternatives for individual properties and in the planning of new districts. A prototype of the tool already exists.
The Urban Mill, which opened recently in Otaniemi, is a 1,300 sqm facility and community service hub that brings together researchers and users of the built environment. It is presently in the prototype phase, and after it passes the service concept development phase this summer and the demo phase next fall, it should start operating normally from the beginning of next year.
– The intention has not merely been to create a place where sector people could occasionally come together in meetings and seminars, but also a place where people work daily, Eriksson emphasizes. Therefore, the city has reserved workstations at the Urban Mill for joint use by its staff.
Read more about the Urban Mill facility and community service