Pihlajisto draft planning principles propose urban infill and new services along tramways – comment online and at events

The City of Helsinki is preparing planning principles for the Pihlajisto area to guide its development in the coming years. You can contribute to the planning process by commenting on the draft plans online and at events.
A demarcated aerial photo of the planning area.  Photo: Helsingin kaupunki
A demarcated aerial photo of the planning area. Photo: Helsingin kaupunki

The planning principles present an approximation of what would be possible to build in Pihlajisto in the future and where. The work also involves examining the nature and recreational areas, services, public facilities and traffic connections of the district as a whole.

The plans aim to develop Pihlajisto in a balanced manner. The idea is to increase the diversity of the housing types in the area and, in particular, the number of attractive family homes. The planning principles will guide the preparation of smaller detailed plans, which will provide more detailed information on the placement of buildings, transport solutions and park areas.

The plans are based on the Helsinki City Plan 2016, which instructs operators to densify the urban structure along light rails. The City would like to hear its residents’ views on the current draft planning principles. The aim is to present the planning principles to the Urban Environment Committee in spring 2024.

More services and family housing in the area

The draft planning principles now open for comments are based on planning work, various studies and input from residents.

The Pihlajisto district was built in the early 1970s and has a higher and more compact building stock than many other suburbs of the same era. Today, there is a lack of services in the area and the run-down shopping centre is perceived as unattractive. Residents in the area have been calling for new activities, such as a café, kiosk and pharmacy, to be added to the vacant business premises in Pihlajisto.

The planning principles of Pihlajisto present the possibility of planning urban infill with a focus on family housing, new block areas and a concentration of commercial services along the central area of Salpausseläntie and Aulangontie. Demolishing the current shopping centre, which people perceive to be unsettled, and replacing it with a new building will be allowed.

The area around the square known as The Pit, located below street level next to the shopping centre, must be developed as a public space open to all, and the access routes and perceived safety must be improved.

The Helsinki City Plan 2016 already facilitates detailed plan changes that allow additional and supplemental construction in the planning area. The planning principles mainly outline the extent to which the current urban structure can be expanded and where different functions can be placed. The planning principles also specify the objectives of the City Plan.

Preserving valuable green areas, developing pedestrian and cycling routes

The planning principles direct that the extensive and varied green areas of Pihlajisto be preserved, and that no development be allocated to valuable forest areas. On the other hand, new block areas can be planned in the Pihlajistonkallio area along Lahdenväylä.

Light rail line 15 has changed the position of Pihlajisto in the urban structure. Light rail line 15, also known as Jokeri Light Rail, between Itäkeskus in Helsinki and Keilaniemi in Espoo started to operate in October 2023. Pihlajisto will be located near the intersection of two light rail lines in the future, once the Viima light rail line from Viikki to Malmi is completed.

When Pihlajisto was planned in the late 1960s, the traffic scheme for the area was based on separating pedestrian traffic from car traffic. The pedestrian and cycling connections are currently low-quality in places, and many underpasses in the area are in poor condition and in need of repair. Facilitating smooth traffic for all modes of transport will improve the pleasantness and accessibility of the area and people’s sense of safety.

Share your opinion on the plans online and at events

The City welcomes comments and ideas on the draft planning principles for Pihlajisto from residents and anyone interested in the development of the area. You can view and comment on the draft plans via a Kerrokantasi online survey from 11 January to 8 February 2024 at https://kerrokantasi.hel.fi/pihlajisto(Link leads to external service).

Residents will also have the opportunity to see the plans and discuss them with a City expert. The event will take place in the corner space of the Pihlajisto K Group shop at Hattelmalantie 2, where a City representative will be present at 14:00–19:00 on 16–17 January and at 8:30–14:00 on 18 January.

In addition to this, you can come and discuss the plans at a resident event on 24 January 2024 at Pihlajisto Primary School (the temporary premises of the main school at Salpausseläntie 1C).

The City will refine the planning principles based on further planning, studies and feedback, with the aim of submitting the finalised principles to the Urban Environment Committee for approval in early 2024.