Helsinki Smart City evolves with climate positive pilots

Agile piloting accelerates development of resource-efficient urban lifestyles in Kalasatama smart district

The Smart Kalasatama project underway in a new Helsinki inner-city district proceeds with agile piloting: five climate positive pilots focus on smart city parking and electric car charging, resident-generated solar power, urban green solutions, and the carbon footprint of households.

The Kalasatama district is under construction at the site of a former commercial harbor. The City of Helsinki has designated the district as a platform for smart city development, Smart Kalasatama, involving new digital services to ease the lives of residents. One of the goals and benchmarks of the development is to give residents one extra hour per day freed from everyday chores.

The current five pilots, conducted from February to July 2017, continue a piloting series started in 2016.

(1) Witrafi’s Rentapark is a sharing-economy service for parking spaces that takes away the trouble of finding parking in the city by putting available spaces into productive use. A digital app allows drivers to book a space and pay for it in advance. There is no more driving around looking for a space.

(2) In the Smart Minigrid pilot Parkkisähkö brings a service model for housing companies for smart electric car charging stations. In Kalasatama Parkkisähkö upgrades electrical outlets for car block heaters into smart electric car charging stations remote-operated by smartphones. Smart Minigrid stations can use locally generated solar power. Check their video presentation.

(3) The Finnish startup Elwedo conducts an experiment based on the solar-power generation technology installed in Kalasatama residential buildings. Elwedo’s solution allows buildings to feed their excessive solar power to local grid and distributes the revenue among the residents.

(4) Innogreen pilots outdoor green walls used to control urban runoff and to increase biodiversity while providing greenness to urban blocks.

(5) The Natural Step Helsinki creates climate smart practices and incentives for the residents by combining real-time carbon footprint data, everyday choices and sharing economy opportunities.

Active resident participation is key to the success of the Smart Kalasatama development. So far 800 of the district’s 3,000 current residents have joined the experiments, as well as launching their own initiatives including landscaped construction sites. Kalasatama is projected to house 25,000 residents and to provide 10,000 jobs by 2030. The smart urban lifestyle development in the district is based on the new construction and a dense urban structure.

The Smart Kalasatama agile piloting program 2016–2017 comprises up to 20 pilots.

The 2016 pilots included a solution from the Finnish mobility start up Tuup designed to make car ownership unnecessary with mobility packages integrating rental cars and all forms of public transit to cater for the transportation needs of citizens.

Another solution was designed to reduce food waste with sensors placed in refrigerators to remind tenants of food expiration dates.

The second call was run together with Helsinki Department of Social Services and Healthcare concentrating on wellbeing and local services.  Auntie is providing solutions for life-crises and tested some of their low-threshold consultation concepts based on video-calls and chat sessions, such as Did I Raise a Monster? consultation for parents of difficult teenagers.

Smart Kalasatama is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, a non-profit company that develops smart city solutions in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The current pilots are conducted with the Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean program, which seeks to develop the metropolitan area into a smart & clean testing ground.

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