What are good campuses made of? Exploration begins…

Campus development cooperation at the Central Baltic region began November 10 – 11 in Helsinki when kick-off meeting of the project Live Baltic Campus took place. The project is coordinated by the Degree Programme in Design at Metropolia and project’s partners are Universities of Latvia, Stockholm, Tartu, Turku and Uppsala – which all have interesting campus projects going on. In addition, the City of Helsinki and Riga Planning Region are taking part to the project.

At the beginning of the two-day kick-off meeting the campus pilot cases were presented in the Pecha Kucha style. All the university partners have a campus project in which design methods and user driven methods are being tested. The cooperation with city administration and developers as well campus developers and stakeholders is essential. By sharing and comparing experiences from these pilots new means are created for better urban planning in which different user groups are being taken into account – both residents and businesses. The pilot case in Helsinki is Myllypuro campus.

The keynote speaker, journalist Reetta Räty shared her own experiences about attractive and appealing public places around the world and asked what makes a place attractive and gives one the feeling that one belongs to that place. This introduction steered the kick-off meeting participants to think more closely the use of design thinking and methods at the six different campus areas.

Beside the official programme the kick-off group gathered by the sea shore, at the police department’s lodge on the Lauttasaari Island. During the evening we pondered among other things how there are anyway slight differences in our similar cultures – for instance considering sauna. We learned that in Sweden sauna is part of workout routine and there is no similar social aspect as in Finland whereas in Estonia sauna is heated warmer than in Finland and in Latvia in turn heat in sauna is more humid than in Finland.

According to the theme of the project the spaces used during the kick-off meeting were in central role and beside the work new ideas for the future campus areas were looked for. On Tuesday the lunch was served at the Kiasma Café, the meeting took place at the City Planning Department’s information and exhibition space Laituri in Kamppi and on Wednesday the kick-off group gathered to the co-working space Loft Helsinki in Pasila.

Live Baltic Campus is coordinated by Metropolia and the project operates from October 2015 until March 2018. The project is funded by Central Baltic Programme and Regional Council of Southwest Finland.

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