Aalto Thesis

Project City of Espoo - Population Growth as a Possibility

The Aalto Thesis project for the City of Espoo kick-started in December 2019 and ended in August 2020. The student team of two solved the challenge of how to change rapid population growth into a possibility for the City of Espoo. Read more below!
A bird perspective picture of Sinimäki area in Espoo, with housing stock and roads.
Sinimäki area of Espoo / photo: City of Espoo

The partner

The City of Espoo is the second-largest city in Finland, and it is facing one of the fastest population growth percentages of all Finnish cities. This demographic change has significant consequences to Espoo’s economy, city planning, construction, and nature. The minimum estimated population growth by 2050 is 150 000 new citizens, with the current number of inhabitants at 285 000.

The challenge

The rapid population growth of Espoo requires an understanding of its future impacts on different areas of Espoo. The core of the challenge is:

  • What kind of possible sustainable solutions there are to Espoo from economic, social, cultural, and environmental points of view?

The case study of this Aalto Thesis project is Sinimäki. The area is located in the south-east of Espoo, and it has been mostly planned for business and office buildings, as well as for industrial and warehousing activities. Relative inaccessibility via public transport, the noise and emissions from the side-lining Turunväylä motorway, old buildings needing renovation, and low in demand offices have led the area to decline in value, and concurrently to open possibilities to change its planning and purpose to something else.

The objective

The objective of this Aalto Thesis project is:

  • To provide insight for the City of Espoo on what the future of the Sinimäki area can look like, and how the process to shape it can already be started today.

The project will provide information to support decision-making in the short-term and long-term future. The project and its results aim to directly benefit both the City of Espoo and the stakeholders of the Sinimäki area.

From Aalto Thesis, we expect new knowledge about the city and its functions, and novel ideas that we can use in various planning tasks.

Johanna Palomäki, Planning Manager, City of Espoo

The student team

In this project, the student team consists of two Aalto Master’s students from different fields focusing on various aspects of the partner's challenge:

Riia-Leena Wallin

International Design Business Management | School of Business

  • Community participation in the initial stage of urban planning - methodology analysis of case Sinimäki. How urbanization puts pressure to evolve urban planning with community participation and design thinking management

  • What is the importance of community inclusion to the urban planning process? In what ways can community be included in urban planning? How should design thinking be applied to the planning process?

Babakolade Ojuri

Creative Sustainability | School of Engineering

  • Sustainable Urban Regeneration: The Use of Participatory Planning Approach in the Urban Regeneration of Sinimäki Area Espoo, Finland

  • What is sustainable urban regeneration? What are the challenges of the urban regeneration process? How can sustainable urban regeneration be achieved in Sinimäki?

The time frame of this project was December 2019 – August 2020.

The opportunity the Aalto Thesis offers will significantly add to my resume and help boost my chances in the employment market.

Babakolade Ojuri, Creative Sustainability student

Opiskelijatiimi soveltaa osallistavaa viitekehystä kestävien kaupunkien kehittämisessä

Espoon kaupunki oli kumppanina Aalto Thesis -yhteistyöprojektissa keväällä 2020. Kahden maisteriopiskelijan tiimi ratkoi muuttuvan kaupungin haastetta Espoossa opinnäytetöidensä avulla.

Read more about the project outcome!
Riia-Leena Wallin sitting on a chair and laughing while being filmed on camera.

Aalto Thesis is a newly launched model for an integrated project-based and work-life oriented Master’s thesis, executed as a part of a multidisciplinary student team. In the programme, a group of 2-4 students from different Aalto Schools is formed to jointly solve a multidimensional challenge given by a real work-life partner. Each student writes an individual thesis from the perspective of their field, guided by their supervisor, but the topics of all the students are connected through a common challenge.

Aalto Thesis -tiimi

Silva Saulio

Silva Saulio

Project coordinator
School Services, BIZ
Laura Sivula

Laura Sivula

School Services, BIZ
Aalto Thesis
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