Kalasatama becomes the Smart City district of Helsinki


In autumn 2013, Helsinki launched the Smart Kalasatama project, which aims to make Kalasatama a model district for intelligent city development – Helsinki’s very own Smart City district. The area is being developed flexibly and through piloting, in close co-operation with residents, companies, city officials and other stakeholders. 

The goal of Smart Kalasatama is to manage resources so intelligently that residents will gain an extra hour of free time every day. The project will lay the groundwork for new city services and innovations as well as create a wealth of business opportunities. Service creation will be supported by ICT technology and open data.

Kalasatama will house 20 000 residents and offer work to 8 000 people. The district will be completed in the early 2030s, but it already has 2000 inhabitants.

Encouraging experimentation

The core idea of the smart city at Kalasatama is easy everyday life. Projects are user centric, encourage resident participation and focus on service design. The Living Lab of Kalasatama covers the district and its residents, as well as all the networks of co-operation and collaboration in the area. Start-ups, residents, SMEs and educational institutions alike are encouraged to launch new and innovative experiments together with larger stakeholders, such as property developers and the city.

Companies and the city are bringing their own development projects to Smart Kalasatama, too. The agile piloting programme gives out small grants to companies and communities for product development and piloting. This allows good ideas to be quickly tested in a real life environment.

Smart and sustainable resource management

Sustainable development, energy efficiency and waste re-use are the cornerstones of Kalasatama’s development. The intelligent energy systems project by Helen, ABB and Fingrid works on Kalasatama´s smart grid and its co-products, such as an electric car network and energy storage. The new vacuum-based waste removal system, Imu, is already operational. Kalasatama – just like the rest of Helsinki – is investing heavily in opening up public data and making the most of it. The aim is to utilise the data in city services, for example to provide information about local air quality or car-sharing options nearby.

Smarter everyday saves time

The vision of Smart Kalasatama is to give an extra hour of free time to each Kalasatama resident every day. Smart services will allow people to manage their time more effectively. Free-flowing traffic, logistics and good local services will all help save precious time.

A collaborative working space, new ventures, Kalasatama Developers Club and events

Kalasatama will have its own collaborative working space, which will bring together companies’ research and innovation activities, city service development, and the ideas, hopes and needs of Kalasatama’s residents. Managed by Forum Virium Helsinki, the premises will host regular events with entrepreneurs, residents and developer communities.

Kalasatama Developers Club is a collaboration network for everyone involved in developing the district. The club, which meets up four times a year, helps the builders and creators of Kalasatama to build networks, discuss and make future plans. Thanks to the club, participants can regularly share news and get information about upcoming events and future projects.

The aim of Kalasatama Developers Club is to make it easier to find collaboration partners and plan projects together. The club represents a new kind of district-based co-operation.

Six City funding for three years

Smart Kalasatama is part of the City of Helsinki’s 6Aika Six City Open innovation platforms spearhead project in 2015-2017. Funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund, the City of Helsinki and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Forum Virium Helsinki is the coordinator of the project. The 6Aika Six City Strategy is a strategy for sustainable urban development carried out by the six largest cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku). The goal is to make Smart Kalasatama an internationally recognised model of smart city innovation. At the same time, it will serve to establish best practices for innovation activities.

Picture of the page: Helsingin kaupungin kuvapankki
Picture in the frontpage slider: Jussi Hellsten, Visit Helsinki / City of Helsinki Media Bank

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