Many Finnish municipalities have started city centre development projects that aim at making city centres more active and inviting. However, municipalities can rarely invest heavily in the development, and that’s why they have to look for new ways of encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs, property owners and city residents to develop their city on their own terms. Pargas decided to make use of Nordic Works in facilitating the development of its city centre. Six Design Sprints with interesting themes were organised during an urban event. In addition to coverage by the local media, an episode of Yle’s ‘Kaupunki Uusiksi’ television series was shot in Pargas.

What happened in the workshop?

Studio Puisto’s and Heikki Muntola’s theme was the ideation of Pargas’ new Central Quarter 1. We asked city residents how they saw the current brand of Pargas city centre and how they would like to see it develop in the future. Is Pargas a ‘picturesque small town’, ‘a maritime port’, ‘the archipelago capital’ or ‘a beautiful city of culture’? The residents saw that the future character of Quarter 1 ought to be ‘a maritime art town’.

How did the project continue after the workshop?

The workshop got property owners to discuss the development of their properties. In particular, the owners of the so-called ‘Venetsia’ property, led by Ted Wallin, wanted to develop the quarter for their part. Wallin participated in the workshop very actively and based on the workshop, he started planning a new commercial and residential building together with Studio Puisto and Heikki Muntola. The development required an alteration of plan, and the new plan came into effect in June 2016 and the construction began in late 2017.

What value did Design Sprint produce for the client?

The commissioner of the Design Sprint was the city planning, trade and marketing departments of the city of Pargas. City planning and the city’s vitality link strongly together. The urban event can be considered very successful because ever since it took place, several projects besides Art House have made concrete progress, including the guest harbour. The event has also sparked general discussion about the development of the city. The residents have, for example, founded a group called ‘Our New Pargas’, which is a sign of strong ownership. In terms of the Art House project, the city has earned back the money it invested in the project by more than one measure. The costs of the Design Sprint were covered manifoldly by land use charges, and more importantly, the property owners made a major investment in the centre of Pargas, which for one adds to its vitality. A New Pargas urban event is a great example of how municipalities can encourage and support entrepreneurs, property owners and residents in developing their city.

Do you want to hear more about the Art House project?

Heikki Riitahuhta / Studio Puisto
Tel. +35850 433 2757

Uusi Kaupunki Kollektiivi Oy | Punavuorenkatu 1, 00120 Helsinki | +358 40 5741926 |