The focus of the cooperation agreement includes urban research, innovation and design.

Sustainability themes are emphasised in the closer cooperation between Aalto University and the City of Helsinki

The focus of the cooperation agreement includes urban research, innovation and design.

Aalto University and the City of Helsinki have signed a strategic cooperation agreement that aims to develop a functioning and sustainable city together. The agreement is valid for five years. Cooperation is seen as particularly important in the current pandemic situation, when the effects of the crisis are strongly reflected in the activities of both the city and the university, and the need for research information is great.

‘Helsinki is an important and inspiring partner for Aalto University, and themes related to cities and living environments are central areas of expertise for us. The importance of research and art is becoming even more evident now that society is struggling in an exceptional situation caused by the pandemic,’ said Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä.

‘The rapid pace of change in the world and the effects of the coronavirus crisis require us all to innovate quickly, identify opportunities and make better use of our own ecosystem. The cooperation between the City of Helsinki and Aalto University is based on our shared view that we must prepare for major changes in the world and use them to build a more functional and safer world. Together we can make Helsinki and the entire capital region the most attractive place in the world to live, study and work,’ said Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.

The agreement emphasises the themes of sustainability and regional competitiveness. Its focus areas are urban research and the use of the information it produces, innovations and entrepreneurship, cooperation in the field of education and training, as well as design and the creative industries.

Urban research is a research area that combines expertise in many disciplines. Aalto University and the City of Helsinki have done a lot of work in this area, especially in urban planning, transport systems and architecture, and also urban economics in recent years. Both are also involved in the joint Urban Academy which includes other cities in the Helsinki metropolitan area and the University of Helsinki. The Urban Academy promotes the interaction between urban research and practical urban development.

Versatile collaboration from coronavirus modelling to Aalto Junior

The City of Helsinki and Aalto University have been cooperating in many areas for a long time. A recent example from this spring is a project led by Aalto University Lecturer Lauri Viitasaari and Assistant Professor Pauliina Ilmonen, in which researchers created a model for predicting coronavirus situations to help allocate resources in Helsinki hospitals. The material from this project will also be used by a wider network of researchers modelling the spread of the coronavirus.

Aalto University and Finlandia Hall have cooperated before and now a follow-up project is being planned. The project is related to the safe commissioning of the Finlandia Hall during the coronavirus impact period and includes the Aalto University Department of Architecture and the Corona Biodesign project. The aim is to also use the observations and insights more widely for the safe organisation of other events and the use of facilities.

Last February, during the school skiing holiday, Aalto University and the City of Helsinki jointly organised workshops in the Oodi central library, where about a thousand children and parents were able to do science and art over three days. Aalto University Junior also develops cooperation with Helsinki upper secondary schools and upper secondary school students have the opportunity to complete Aalto University courses.

The City of Helsinki and Aalto University have strong cooperation in building innovation clusters, for example, in the field of health technology and artificial intelligence. The aim is also to jointly promote the development of business incubator services in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

Read more about cooperation projects:

Aalto University Junior workshops in Oodi

New tools for evaluating Helsinki's design activities

The Climate School at Helsinki City Hall increases understanding of significant climate actions

The City of Helsinki joins the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (In Finnish)

Smoother street work requires new kinds of ideas (in Finnish)

Urban Academy

Photo: Laura Oja, City of Helsinki