Student competition for the development of the Helsinki city centre to be held in autumn 2023

The City of Helsinki will organise a competition for student groups in cooperation with Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.
Students meeting at Aalto University
Students at Aalto University. Photo: Aalto University.


The City of Helsinki will organise a student competition about the development of the city centre in autumn 2023 in cooperation with Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the competition aimed at student groups is to gain insights and new ideas about the city centre and its role, as well as its strengths and development targets. We hope that the competition entries will contain idea-rich and feasible proposals that will improve the quality of the urban space in the centre of Helsinki and strengthen the attractiveness and pleasantness of the centre as well as its ability to offer experiences. Multidisciplinary groups and different perspectives are welcome for the competition, as well as boldly different competition proposals.

Preliminary competition task

The task is to generate new ideas to increase the liveliness and attractiveness of Helsinki city centre and to strengthen its originality and special role, as well as to bring about a positive turn in the discussion about the city centre. The competition task will consist of three sections:

  1. An analysis section in which the student groups are asked to describe and analyse the problems they have identified regarding the city centre. The groups can limit their analysis independently to the topic of their choice. The purpose of the analysis section is to create new insights into the situation of the city centre and to create innovative solutions for its development.
  2. An action section in which the groups can present both quick concrete measures and/or longer- term visions for the development of the city centre.
  3. A small-scale communication and marketing section in which the groups are asked to describe how the change of the city centre should be communicated and discussed, i.e. to describe the key messages with which the presented proposal should be communicated to the residents.


The competition programme will be officially launched during Helsinki Design Week in September 2023, after which the registration of competition groups will begin. The competition working period will last until the end of 2023, and the results will be announced at the beginning of 2024.

Participation and credits

The competition is open to all students. The Urban Studies and Planning and Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering master’s programmes of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, which are involved in organising the competition, and the departments responsible for their teaching, will award five credits to their students participating in the competition.

Competition awards

The prize of the competition is EUR 25,000, which will be distributed among the winners as decided by the competition jury. As far as possible, the proposals of the winners of the competition for quick measures will be implemented in practice. In addition, the winners will be given the opportunity to offer the ideas generated in the competition as topics for master’s theses/final theses to the city.

More information on the practices of the student competition will be available in September 2023. Competition groups are expected to be multidisciplinary, so you should already think about participating and forming groups.

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