Urbanum and MESTA inter-city excursion experiences

Students in excursion in Hiedanranta.

Urbanum, the student association for Sustainable Urban Development from Tampere University teamed up with MESTA ry, Helsinki University students of Urban Studies and Planning on an inter-city excursion in late October. The aim of the excursion was to better the relationship between similar study fields, experience the transportation between cities, and for our students to visit a few relevant companies. The activity was partly sponsored by STUE Action Grant.

The excursion day one began by the Urbanum students taking the train bright and early to Helsinki on a Wednesday morning. We were met by MESTA on the doorstep of Demos Helsinki, who gave a presentation on their work. We were very inspired by the innovative and collaborative working environment and the meaningful perspective Demos provides to stakeholders on developmental projects.

Students listening to presentation by Demos Helsinki.
Listening to presentation by Demos Helsinki.

We got a small tour of Helsinki center by walking together to the university campus for lunch. After lunch we had a presentation done by Esri Finland and how GIS can be a multifunctional tool in urban planning. The students did a workshop on the benefits of GIS and everything it can be used for, inspiring many of us to focus a little harder on our GIS skills.

From the university campus we took the metro to Pasila to meet with Dodo ry and Femma Planning. We were introduced to an old rail turntable turned into greenhouse by Dodo ry ; their work focused on community gardening and communal advocacy  for the environment. Afterwards we were introduced to Femma planning, who specifically focus on intersectional participatory urban development, taking into account voices which may otherwise be marginalized.

Students in Turntable turned into a greenhouse.
Old rail turntable turned into a greenhouse.

The following day, MESTA and Urbanum students headed together to Tampere on a bus. After some fun activities on the bus, the MESTA and Urbanum students went to visit Sitowise in Tampere. We were introduced to a more engineering perspective on opportunities for careers, yet the consideration of sustainable development remained clear.

After lunch on the Tampere University campus, the students took a bus to Hiedanranta, getting to see some of Tampere cityscape and the public transport options. In Hiedanranta, we were greeted by Matti Huhta from Hiedanrannakehitys Oy to show us around the development taking place in the old industrial area. It was interesting to hear about the history and future for the development of a completely new suburb of the city. Huhta was interested to hear our perspectives on Hiedanranta’s development, such as on the island. Many stakeholders have a part in the ideation of the development, hoping to make it a smart and sustainable part of the city.

Students in excursion in Hiedanranta.
Hiedanranta walking tour.

From Hiedanranta, the students took the bus and the tram to Hervanta, to Teekkarisauna Mörrimöykky. At the sauna MESTA and Urbanum students had the chance to relax after the intensive days of excursion. Many memories were made and new connections formed. We were exceptionally grateful to STUE for sponsoring a part of the excursion with STUE Action Grant.

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