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European City in Comparative Perspective: Seventh International Conference on Urban History  

Τίτλος:Urban green space in Helsinki 1900-1950: roles, implications and fuctions
Κύρια Υπευθυνότητα:Lento, Katri
Θέματα:Garden cities -- Finland -- Helsinki
City planning -- Finland -- Helsinki
Greenbelts -- Finland -- Helsinki
Public spaces -- Finland -- Helsinki
Κηπουπόλεις -- Φινλανδία -- Ελσίνκι
Πολεοδομία -- Φινλανδία -- Ελσίνκι
Ζώνες πρασίνου -- Φινλανδία -- Ελσίνκι
Δημόσιοι χώροι -- Φινλανδία -- Ελσίνκι
Ημερομηνία Έκδοσης:2007-12-18
Abstract:Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917 intensified the image building of its capital city Helsinki which set out to strengthen its urban identity through the planning and building of the city. The city’s open spaces and green areas were part of this process. Public discourse around Helsinki’s green space during the first decades of independence was mainly conducted among a very small group of people. The group included the state and municipal authorities as well as professionals; architects and city planners. These often intertwined as many of the people were involved in more than one role, and the interest groups and political coalitions behind decisions were blurred.Exchange of ideas on the professional level and cultural borrowing from abroad was active and Finnish planning experts eagerly sought to form contacts with foreign colleagues. The Finnish Union of Cities (founded in 1907) was a member of the International Union of Cities. Delegations from abroad frequently visited Helsinki and Finnish union members made trips to foreign cities. These contacts had a major impact on the greening of Helsinki and, as they were extensively written about in the Finnish media, they also introduced the wider public to urban developments outside Finland.What were the opinions of the so-called normal city dwellers about Helsinki’s urban green space? City dwellers were active users of green areas, but rarely took part in public discussion. The use of green areas was often, at least attempted at, being controlled from above. Teaching especially the working classes to appreciate nature was an aim that was realised by the municipality by e.g. arranging summer camps for school children from poorer families. These were written about very favourably in the Helsinki media as well as in the municipal records. A forum for inhabitants to themselves express views about their urban environment came with city district societies. They marked the strengthening of the role of inhabitant involvement and the decreasing influence of professional and municipal control on urban space. The first city district society in Helsinki was founded in the garden suburb of Käpylä in 1940. The first city district news bulletin was also founded by the Käpylä society in 1953.
Βιβλιογραφική Παραπομπή:Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Urban History: European City in Comparative Perspective, Panteion University, Athens - Piraeus, Greece, 27-30 October 2004, Session: Green spaces in cities since 1918: politics, ideologies, and perceptions
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