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Editorial 2/2019

Securing sustainable growth has been set as the main goal of Helsinki in the City Strategy for the present council term. Helsinki and the surrounding region have a significantly higher rate of population growth than the rest of Finland. In order to prepare ourselves for answering the needs of a growing city and its residents, we need a solid and up-to-date information basis. The article by Pekka Vuori in the present issue of Helsinki Quarterly sheds light on the future population trends in the Helsinki Region and the rest of Finland.

To a large degree, population growth in Helsinki rests on migration from other countries, with people of foreign origin moving to the city either directly or via other Finnish municipalities. The birth rate has been declining in Finland and Helsinki in recent years, and this is likely to impact our population structure fairly soon. At the present moment, the population structure of Helsinki remains young in Finnish comparison, and the city has a large number of working-age people. At the same time, however, the number of senior citizens – over 75-year-olds in particular – is growing rapidly. 

In this issue of Helsinki Quarterly, we also look at the ways in which the City and its residents react to the ecological challenges facing the world today. Environment Director Esa Nikunen focuses on the climate goals of Helsinki in his article. Jukka Hirvonen’s article sums up the results of a recent survey mapping the citizens’ attitudes towards the environment. Following the example of New York City, Helsinki has conducted a local review of UN Sustainable Development Goals and analysed how these match the City’s own strategic goals. This topic will also be discussed on these pages.

In a growing city, a perennial theme of debate is how to ensure sufficient housing production and how to build good neighbourhoods. These issues have been handled in markedly different ways in various periods of Helsinki’s history. Currently, city planning in Helsinki is oriented towards producing a densely built and efficient urban structure that favours rail connections and cycling. In an interview with researcher Miika Norppa, we review the history and influences behind these planning trends.

Helsinki Quarterly is an English-language journal covering the most recent urban research about Helsinki. Three annual issues are published in Finnish and Swedish under the title Kvartti.

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