Real estate in service of crisis management – Academy of Finland grants funding to enhance crisis preparedness 

'The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the impact real estate and the built environment have on our wellbeing in a crisis', says Assistant Professor Saija Toivonen.  
Saija Toivonen

The Academy of Finland has granted 20 million euros for the scientific study of crisis preparedness and security of supply. Sixteen studies were funded in total, including Real Estate and Sustainable Crisis Management in Urban Environments (RESCUE), a project led by Assistant Professor Saija Toivonen in which researchers look into the role of real estate in preparing and managing crises. 

'The built environment has a huge effect on the wellbeing of people and the economy. That is why it is important to identify possible future crises and to prepare for them well in advance,' Toivonen says. 

'We will study how crises affect people's wellbeing and devise measures that can help us design, build and occupy the built environment – whether at home or the workplace – so that it can adapt to changing circumstances,' she adds. 

The study is multidisciplinary, a combination of future studies, architecture, land use and spatial planning and real estate economics. Participants include Kimmo Lapintie, professor of urban planning at the Aalto University Department of Architecture, as well as the University of Turku and Tampere University. 

Saija Toivonen is an assistant professor of real estate economics at the Aalto University Department of Built Environment. She has previously held positions of university lecturer of real estate economics and post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University and worked as a housing development engineer at NCC, focusing on market studies of housing construction. Toivonen completed her doctorate in real estate economics in 2011 with a doctoral dissertation entitled The future commercial real estate market – the forces of change, influences and preferences in the Helsinki metropolitan area. 

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