Suburban Innovation

Place-based innovations while developing residential areas – A double case study of the Olympic quarter and Ristinummi in the city of Vaasa

The aim of the Suburban Innovation research project is to tackle the issue of segregation in suburban and inner city areas and strengthen their social sustainability. In the city of Vaasa, located on the west coast of Finland about 420 km from Helsinki, two areas were selected: the inner city residential area of the Olympic Quarter and the suburb of Ristinummi. The initial aim of the case study is to understand better the urban change in the capital city of the Ostrobothnian region and its suburban areas.

The user innovations will be explored from a place-based perspective. We apply the so-called CUPL sessions (Community Urban Planning Lab) as a data acquisition strategy and as a tool for citizen participation and inclusion. In the CUPL session conversations, the aim is to generate a relaxed atmosphere, which will promote the development of user innovations, such as, sketching future housing needs and residences.

We will also study how the perspectives of different stakeholders meet at the governance processes and how interaction between various stakeholders could be developed to strengthen the vitality of the entire city and the well-being of its residents.

More generally, the Suburban Innovation research project responds to the information needs of socially, ecologically, culturally and economically sustainable cities. The information created in the project and the methods to be tested, are applied as a basis for urban planning and decision-making.