Planning process

Planning is divided into different levels, from general to more detailed planning.

Planning consist of different levels

Where can we build, and where can’t we build in Helsinki? Is an area reserved for housing, work, or recreation? How do we handle traffic in the city? These kinds of questions are addressed with planning. 

  1. The master plan provides guidelines for long-term planning

    The master plan is a generalised plan that provides guidelines for developing the entire city long into the future. In Helsinki, the master plan is prepared every ten years, and it is used to steer detailed planning. The master plan can be revised for a smaller area using a local plan.  

  2. Detailed plans regulate the uses of the area

    A detailed plan regulates what an area can be used for, and what can be built there. A detailed plan can be for a whole residential area or just a single lot. Typically, a detailed plan governs: 

    • the area’s intended use – for example, housing, office space, or shops   
    • the amount of construction, its location and height 
    • things regarding the exterior design of buildings  
    • the location and number of parking spots 
    • the location of streets and green areas 
  3. Street and park plans follow the detailed plan

    When the detailed plan is approved by the City Council and enters into force, the city will prepare street and park plans for the streets and parks in the detailed plan. They determine the following for the streets and parks to be built 

    • their exact location 
    • surfacing materials 
    • plantings  
    • location of fixtures  
    • lighting and drainage solutions 
Planning is divided into different levels, from general to more detailed planning.
Planning is divided into different levels, from general to more detailed planning.

Questions of the planning process


  1. When we start preparing the plan, you can, for example, provide feedback on the plan's goals or about how you can participate in preparing the plan at a later stage These matters are described in the participation and evaluation plan, which is abbreviated as PEP. 

  2. When our proposed plan is ready, you can provide feedback on it, submitting a notice before the Urban Environment Committee makes its decision on the proposed plan.  

  3. When the City Council has approved the plan, you can appeal the decision with the Helsinki Administrative Court. 

  4. You can provide feedback on street and park plans when the draft plans are ready. Additionally, you can submit a notice about the proposed plan before the Urban Environment Committee makes its decision on the plan.  

  • The Plan Alert Service is the easiest way to find out when you can comment on plans. The Plan Alert Service sends you an email every time there are plans available for comment. 
  • Our website,, lists the plans that you can give feedback on right now. Approved plans are available at (In Finnish)
  • We mail notifications to area landowners, property managers of housing companies, and neighbourhood associations when planning is set to begin.

You can provide feedback on all the plans in preparation by contacting the preparer or by sending written feedback to the city’s registry office. We will also have resident events or online discussions for some plans. You can find more details about participation in each plan’s Participation and Evaluation Plan. 

Because planning often involves balancing conflicting interests, it’s important that we consider the widest possible range of opinions when we start planning. As planning progresses, feedback on the drafts helps improve them. Opposing feedback will not stop the planning process because it follows the goals set by the City Council. However, we will let the politicians who decide on the plans know about the opposition against them, so they can consider this when making decisions.

A landowner or tenant of city-owned land can start an initiative to prepare or change a detailed plan. The application does not automatically lead to a plan being prepared, but we evaluate the appropriateness of zoning requests on a case-by-case basis. (Link to the rezoning page in the Builder section).  

Helsinki residents, companies and associations can also start an initiative to prepare a detailed plan. The initiative starts as a municipal initiative, and you can create one on the (In Finnish) (Link leads to external service)online service. We will evaluate initiatives on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a detailed plan will be drafted. If an initiative has the support of at least two per cent of Helsinki’s voters, the council will handle the initiative within six months of when it was made.

In Helsinki, the Urban Environment Division prepares land use and street and park plans. You can find the contact information for the planner in the plan details, e.g. in the map service. 

The City Council makes the final decisions on detailed plans, local plans and master plans. The plans are approved by the Urban Environment Committee and City Board before the City Council considers them. If a detailed plan has no significant effects, the Urban Environment Committee decides on it alone. 

The Urban Environment Committee decides on street and park plans. In case of large implementation costs for street and park plans, the plans are approved by the City Board and City Council.     

A detailed plan or master plan comes into force after the appeal period and an announcement published on the website.  

If an appeal is filed against the plan, it will come into force if the court dismisses the appeal. In this case, the plan will enter into force with an announcement that will be published after the judicial process.