Quarterly 2/2016 07/07/2016  |  Timo Cantell, Tanja Vahtikari

Editorial 2/2016: Helsinki in transnational historical perspectives

Urban history

The present issue of Helsinki Quarterly sets out to explore the history of Helsinki – urban actors, events, spaces and processes – from a transnational, comparative perspective. By doing so, it also takes the reader to several urban spaces in Helsinki, which even today display a multilayered, transnational past.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/07/2016  |  Laura Kolbe

Communicating civic or historical pride? The city hall in Scandinavian capital cities

City comparisonsConstructionUrban history

The development between 1880 and 1950 changed the use of urban areas in European metropolises. Monumental new city halls were central elements in Scandinavian capital cities.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/07/2016  |  Anja Kervanto Nevanlinna

Ports, industries and economics in the urban history of Helsinki

NeighbourhoodsUrban historyRegional economy

Ports and industries are at the core of the urban history of Helsinki. Industrialization and the construction of the major port at the end of the nineteenth century ensured Helsinki a solid economy for developing a modern and innovative city.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Mikko Huhtamies

Help, business or piracy?

Urban history

The Northern Baltic is the best place in the world for marine archaeology for one reason: the wrecks are often in a good shape, because there is no teredo navalis, or shipworm, in this sea area.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Matti O. Hannikainen

Helsinki - a compact green city

City comparisonsEnvironmentUrban history

This article analyses and explains how the creation and role of public green space in Helsinki has evolved since the 1990s and contrasts this development with that of London.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Peter Clark

Early years of the European Association for Urban History

Urban history

The establishment of the EAUH in 1989 built on two previous initiatives in urban history.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Marjaana Niemi

Bridge to a better future: town planning in Helsinki, Tallinn and Dublin in the 1910s

City comparisonsNeighbourhoodsUrban history

Town planning was used in Helsinki and similar capitals of emerging independent states to redefine the city and the nation in relation to the rapidly changing world

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Silja Laine

History and urban prose fiction in Helsinki: case Toivo Tarvas

Urban historyUrban culture

Some of the most distinguished contemporary Finnish writers, such as Kjell Westö, are urban writers. In the first decades of the twentieth century Toivo Tarvas was one of the very few Helsinki-born writers. The works of this little-known author are especially interesting for urban historians, because they offer observations of a city undergoing profound changes.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Martti Helminen

Multiculturalism in Helsinki has a long history

Urban historyImmigration

Foreign languages have been spoken in the streets of Helsinki throughout the past 450 years. The first migrants came mainly from present-day Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, while the 19th century saw the arrival of a large number of Russian traders and entrepreneurs.

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Quarterly 2/2016 07/06/2016  |  Marjatta Hietala

In search of the latest know-how in the development of public infrastructure in Helsinki

WelfareUrban history

From the end of the nineteenth century to the 1960s, the city officials of Helsinki made a great number of study tours and visits to other European cities to learn about the latest innovations in public infrastructure.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/20/2015  |  Pia Houni, Heli Ansio

Coworking spaces - creative sparks in the urban milieu

Labour marketNeighbourhoodsUrban culture

Coworking spaces shared by creative professionals and knowledge workers have become increasingly popular in Helsinki in recent years. For people who work alone, these spaces provide not only social contacts and like-minded colleagues but also the opportunity to discover professional support and networks that benefit the work.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/20/2015  |  Teemu Vass

Interview: The digitised city is a goldmine of data and information

ParticipationUrban culture

The digitisation of cities can open up unforeseen opportunities from which we must learn to benefit, says Timo Cantell, new editor-in-chief of Kvartti and director at City of Helsinki Urban Facts since April.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/18/2015  |  Tuula Joronen

Somalis in Finland have entrepreneurship potential

Labour marketImmigrationRegional economy

A scarcity of capital, a limited customer base and gaps in entrepreneur skills hinder the growth of Somali-owned enterprises in Finland. Potential keys to future success include the exploitation of international Somali networks and the possibilities opened up if second-generation Somalis pool their resources with native Finns.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/18/2015  |  Elina Eskelä

Skilled migrants face difficulties with housing in Helsinki

HousingImmigrationRegional economy

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area hosts growing numbers of foreign professionals who are vital for the competitiveness of the city region. Besides working, the migrants also establish their everyday lives within the built environment of the city. What are their housing experiences, and does the local offer of housing support their settling into the city region?

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/18/2015  |  Pekka Mustonen

Helsinki's potential as a travel destination for young people

City comparisonsYouthUrban cultureRegional economy

Survey responses of young people from 10 countries portray Helsinki as a city with a great natural environment and as a safe city and an unusual destination. Although evaluated as a relatively interesting destination for young people, Helsinki lags slightly behind other Nordic capitals.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/18/2015  |  Vesa Keskinen, Jere Jäppinen

From Bach to Beyoncé - examining musical preferences in Helsinki

Urban culture

This article presents the interim results of a study based on a music taste test that is part of an ongoing Helsinki City Museum exhibition. The participants' three favourite genres so far are rock music, easy classical and old jazz. By contrast, electronic music, contemporary art music and heavy metal are most likely to cause the listeners to tune out.

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Quarterly 3/2015 11/16/2015  |  Netta Mäki

Changes in life expectancy by district in Helsinki 1996-2014


The overall life expectancy of the population of Helsinki has increased during the nearly twenty-year period examined in this article. However, the growth has slowed over the last four years, especially among women. The development is also unequal between different parts of Helsinki. In some of the major districts, life expectancy has even slightly decreased compared to the previous five-year period.

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Quarterly 4/2014 02/06/2015  |  Henrik Lönnqvist

Are sociospatial differences cast in concrete?


Research results on segregation in the Helsinki metropolitan area indicate quite significant differences between sub-city areas in terms of income and education levels, percentages of immigrant population and employment rates (e.g. Vaattovaara & Kortteinen 2012; Vilkama 2012; Lönnqvist & Tuominen 2013). Although the general increase in education and income levels is evident across almost all areas, the differences have remained the same – or even increased – over the past decade (Vilkama et al. 2014). The increase in area differences has always been seen as a negative phenomenon, and various political measures have been taken to curb or reverse it. On the other hand, it would seem that social segregation is a fairly common and often permanent urban phenomenon.

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Quarterly 4/2014 02/06/2015  |  Seppo Laakso

Lower-income young in-migrants - a risk to Helsinki's tax base?

Labour marketImmigrationMunicipal economyRegional economy

As with other urban centres, it has been typical for Helsinki that the people moving into the city are young people with relatively low income, while those moving out are older and have often established themselves in employment. This has been seen as a threat for the city's tax revenue. But is the reality more complex?

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Quarterly 4/2014 02/06/2015  |  Pekka Vuori

Development of the elderly population in Helsinki


Currently almost 100,000 people aged over 65 live in Helsinki, equivalent to 16 per cent of the city’s population. This figure is expected to reach 20 per cent by 2032. The population of Helsinki is ageing rapidly but not as fast as the entire Finnish population.

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