Photo: Students Annamari Kiviaho (on the left), Ellinoora Rustholkarhu and Antti Valkonen, Merja Kukkonen, Head of Culture and Leisure time, Porvoo, Fredrick von Schoultz, Vice Head of the City of Porvoo, Susanne Dahlqvist, CEO of the Cultural Centre Art Factory, Juho-Petteri Huhtala, Academic Advisor of the project from the School of Business, and on the right Martin Söderlund, Head of Administrative Affairs, development of the city of Porvoo.
Aalto University's multidisciplinary student team evaluated now for the third time, the Cultural Centre Art Factory opened in Porvoo in 2012. The Art Factory offers a wide spectrum of services from concerts and art exhibitions to conferences, restaurant services and a shopping centre. Students examined the effect of the Art Factory on the city of Porvoo from a regional, cultural and economic perspective.
Porvoo Art Factory is an important and integral part of the city’s West Bank area. The Art Factory has operated in the West Bank as a type of anchor investment, and in addition, the entire West Bank area has grown rapidly especially in the past five years, and it has been developed in a comprehensive manner. This has resulted in a particular need to clarify the Art Factory’s impact on its immediate environment, for example, for the purposes of urban planning. Aalto University's student projects have produced useful information for the city of Porvoo specifically for this need.
In spring 2018, Aalto's project team consisted of Annamari Kiviaho from the School of Engineering, Antti Valkonen from the School of Business and Ellinoora Rustholkarhu from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The project was led by postdoctoral researcher Juho-Petteri Huhtala from the Department of Marketing at the School of Business.
Students’ enthusiastic attitude showed throughout the project
Implemented in spring 2018, the project examined the Art Factory’s regional, cultural and economic impact using meters developed in the previous years. Although is its challenging to measure a wide variety of direct and indirect impact, the students and the City of Porvoo as the sponsor were pleased with the results obtained.
‘Particularly valuable aspects of the project were its continuity, created by cooperation taking place over the years, as well as the project team’s and project manager’s clearly visible strong motivation and focus on the task. A similarly enthusiastic attitude also characterised the previous projects. The report will present new perspectives and also new understanding of how customers in the area perceive the Art Factory and how the area could be developed further’, Deputy Mayor of Porvoo Fredrick von Schoultz explains.
‘The project went, once again, very well. The project plan was drawn up in cooperation with representatives of the City of Porvoo and it was well in line with the city’s wishes and objectives’.
Residents take an active role in influencing issues in Porvoo
According to the project’s academic advisor Juho Petteri Huhtala, the assessment of impact was challenging in this case, but the multidisciplinary student group managed the task excellently.
‘The further development done on impact indicators during the project will make the residents’ voices better heard and enable Porvoo to assess the appeal of the city in a comprehensive manner. It is interesting to see how the project findings will be used in the entire Porvoo region’s further development.’
The project team was also satisfied with the course of the project and its results. The Art Factory’s positive impact was especially prominent in Porvoo residents’ perceptions. The project group says that the most surprising factor was the huge number of replies received to the resident questionnaire. This was despite the fact that the survey form was extensive and contained a lot of questions.
‘People seemed highly motivated to influence issues in their own city of residence, and without asking, we were flooded with different proposals for change and development. This is very positive, when you consider what kind of asset these enthusiastic participants are for Porvoo, when they begin their next urban development project’, Rustholkarhu says.
One possibility for further development is joint planning, in which services and spaces in the area under development are planned together with residents.
The Customized Student Business Projects concept offers students the opportunity to work on solving current challenges faced by corporate business, giving the assigning company the possibility to develop and spar new ideas together with the students.