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Solving urban challenges in Aalto through the Urban GoodCamp project

This spring, Aalto students participated in the Urban Goodcamp, where they developed solutions to urban challenges in Helsinki in collaboration with local organizations. The solutions focused on food, circularity, and urban mobility.
Helsinki
Challenges in Helsinki urban region

Gut Gardens x SPIN Unit

In collaboration with SPIN Unit, an urban research and innovation practice unit, students were asked to reflect on how would cities look like if they produced all the food they needed, and to reimagine the food system, or the way we consume. Team SPIN addressed this issue by proposing Gut Gardens, a concept of an accessible urban Food Production as a tool to give equal possibilities for all citizen to improve their immune system. Gut Gardens acted as a way to help the City of Helsinki to improve biodiversity of the city, stop the rise of immune related diseases, save billions in the healthcare system, increase equitable and liveability. On the other hand, for citizens, Gut Gardens become a way to: actively improve personal gut health, feel a sense of community and belonging, improve mental and physical health and relieve stress and finally, learn about food production, sustainability and health.  

Team Helsinki x Circular Economy Cluster

In collaboration with the City of Helsinki Department of Economic Development and their Circular Economy Cluster, students were asked to design a strategy and an operating model for the cluster going forward, describing a strategy and an operating model. Team Helsinki concentrated on how the cluster could help construction companies build a circular Helsinki and proposed three main action points: Facilitation, Reference Projects & Regulation. The first involved conducting regular 1:1 meetings with companies in different phases/with different motivations to collect feedback and find potential project ideas. In the second, the City could seek funding opportunities, and potential implementable projects, become an arena for companies, research institutions, public agencies to collaborate, and provide application support for funding applications. In the third, regulatory actions from the city would help create a simplified regulation processes and facilitate cluster participation to co-develop guidelines. 

Team Ramboll x Sustainable Urban Mobility

In collaboration with Ramboll, a leading design and consulting company for sustainable cities and societies, students were asked to think how to make cities safe, accessible, and interesting places to pedestrians. Team Ramboll established principles for more walkable cities such as legibility, enclosure, coherence, tidiness and transparency. Based on this, and focusing on the geographical area of Jätkäsaari in Helsinki, they proposed ideas to enhance the area. These include: 1) Art and Community-based solutions such as murals and sculptures 2) Elevated walkways: for enhanced winter serviceability, and cheaper than tunnels between 3) vegetation along walkways: to create a green boundary between pedestrians and vehicular traffic, and being able to allow or forbid vehicular entry depending on density 4) integrated wayfinding: Unique IDs for sections of walking paths that can serve as wayfinding for users and location tags for emergency services and finally 5) in-between spaces: Spaces that are semi-private/semi-public (large windows, outdoor seating, rain shelters, short hedges or sparse tree covers). 

Team ResQ x Sustainable food

In collaboration with ResQ Club, an Impact & FoodTech company that aims to reach zero food waste, students were asked to think whether there was a way to organise food surplus in a better way in an urban context. Team ResQ then, focused on ways to monitor the food waste from the production process, with a focus on instant sharing of statistics and improving material efficiency. As a solution, the team suggested actions at the macro scale, such as: Monitoring food waste/efficiency from the production process to the end-user phase and more collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the process. Complementary to this, they made suggestions for the small scale landscape too, which included: Forecasting help from a computer-aided software to optimise the food order/supply/production, making the public aware of the issue at hand, introducing surprise bags in supermarkets and stores, and other activities such as physical showcases, local forums in the Uusima region, educational activities, and social media awareness through Youtube videos, shorts on TikTok.

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Kazuki Mori, Emma van Dormalen, and Paul Wong - City of Helsinki Circular Economy
Kazuki Mori, Emma van Dormalen, and Paul Wong - City of Helsinki Circular Economy

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