New look for Töölönlahti Park – short-term improvements coming as soon as next year

The City of Helsinki is responding to citizen wishes with plans for renewing Töölönlahti Park. Both short- and long-term improvements are on the books. We are looking for inspiration and opinions from the businesses and residents in the region.
Töölönlahdenpuisto Park is one of Helsinki's best known recreation zones. Photo: Hemmo Rättyä
Töölönlahdenpuisto Park is one of Helsinki's best known recreation zones. Photo: Hemmo Rättyä

Töölönlahti Park is one part of the larger Töölönlahti green zone, which is one of Helsinki's best known recreation zones. The park is surrounded by many of the City’s cultural facilities, such as Finlandia Hall and Villa Hakasalmi, and is a part of the route that circles Töölönlahti Bay. On the south side, the park ends at Töölönlahdenkatu. Because of its central location, many have wanted improvements to the park over the years.

The previous, 2014 park design for Töölönlahti was abandoned as being too expensive, and the current, temporary park was completed in 2016. The plan currently under development aims for permanent improvement.

“Töölönlahti is an important nature and recreation area for the Helsinki residents. In recent years, various cultural facilities have been built around the area, which have boosted its identity as a central location for culture. Now is the time to consider the role of Töölönlahti Park and its central location as a part of the future of the Helsinki inner city. There is potential there to create even further wellbeing”, says the Urban Environment Division's executive director Ville Lehmuskoski.

Firstly, the park renovation requires an idea and concept plan. This is a general overview of the changes we want – such as how the plant life in the area will be developed and what kind of activities we will plan for the park.

Little Finlandia has been a popular café and event centre in Töölönlahti during the renovation of the Finlandia Hall. Enabling café activities in the park also in the future will be taken into account in the upcoming plan.

A popular cycle route runs through the Töölönlahdenpuisto Park.  Photo: Roni Rekomaa
A popular cycle route runs through the Töölönlahdenpuisto Park. Photo: Roni Rekomaa

Now collecting resident opinions on how the park should be developed

The City of Helsinki is collecting resident opinions to serve as a base for the planning. The resident survey can be found at (in Finnish)(Link leads to external service) and will remain open until 31 December 2023. We will also survey the opinions of the businesses and communities in the area in January.

We are using a previously collected, larger material bank as the basis for the planning and the survey. Five years ago, we surveyed the local residents on how to develop the Töölönlahti area and received 1,100 responses. The responses included, among others, wishes for a green, natural oasis. On the other hand, there were also wishes for cafés, art, and community events.

The idea and concept plan for Töölönlahti Park will be complete in summer 2024. The plan and its material will be published in the Voice your Opinion service late in summer 2024, opening it for comments. The park design will begin in autumn 2024, which also includes an interactive part. The more detailed schedule of the implementation, i.e. the park renovation, has not yet been decided.

Before the renovation, we will implement short-term improvements at Töölönlahti Park. The quick actions for next summer are still on the drawing board.  These measures aim at improving the park with a variety of plant life as well as trials of different functional areas and structures. We will monitor these trials and make use of the observations in further planning of the park.

This year, we implemented two projects in the park, which were chosen by the residents in an OmaStadi vote, i.e. through participatory budgeting. “Lawns into Meadows” and “Planting cherry trees on the north side of the park” are projects that, as evidenced by their names, improve the greenery in the area.

Other projects in the Töölönlahti area

The Hesperianpuisto and Hakasalmenpuisto Park areas, between the bay and Mannerheimintie, are also receiving new park plans. The drafts for these plans will be presented to the public in early 2024. Additionally, plans for the renovation of the Hesperia esplanade, west of Mannerheimintie, are also underway.

Preparations for a new zone plan in the Linnunlaulu area are beginning soon, with the intent of protecting the villa and park grounds as well as improving the accessibility of the parks. An outdoor gym area is being planned at the corner of Linnunlauluntie and Helsinginkatu.

There is also an ongoing investigation into establishing a natural preserve and green zone at Töölönlahti, which is based on a municipal initiative.

Some of the projects in the Töölönlahti area are already being implemented. The Finlandia Hall renovation will be completed and the Hall will be opened to public in January 2025. The large-scale renovation of Mannerheimintie will be completed in 2025. Over on the other side of the tracks, the renovation of Kaisaniemenpuisto Park has begun, which aims to develop the area into a cosy and event-capable park. The Kaisantunneli tunnel, which connects the two sides, will open next spring.

You can keep up to date with the Töölönlahti Park plan at the project website.