Research projects

See below for research projects related to the sustainable transformation of urban environments at Tampere University. If you have a project with similar interests and wish to collaborate (and be listed here), please contact Research Coordinator Alisa Vänttinen:

ORSI Towards Eco-Welfare State: Orchestrating for Systemic Impact

ORSI studies and develops steering practices that enable the promotion of an eco-welfare state with ecologically effective and societally legitimate and fair measures. The focus is on four themes in particular: 1) Transformative governance and budgeting, 2) A just transition in the everyday life of citizens, 3) Responsible innovation processes and 4) Regulating consumer choice. We invite key decision makers (national and regional), citizens and businesses around the same table to develop solutions. Funded by the the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, 2019-2022/25. Led by Professor Liisa Häikiö/Tampere University.

CICAT2025 Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems

CICAT2025 aims to facilitate the transition from linear to circular economy. The project supports Finland’s strategic goal to become a global leader in the circular economy by 2025. The consortium consists of Tampere University, University of Turku, University of Jyväskylä, University of Eastern Finland, Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences. The extensive and multidisciplinary consortium brings together expertise in technology, business, policy-making, the arts, linguistics, legislation and stakeholder relations. Funded by Funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, 2019-2023. Led by Professor Leena Aarikka-Stenroos/Tampere University.

RESCUE Real Estate and Sustainable Crisis Management in Urban Environment

RESCUE looks at the crisis preparedness (e.g. pandemics, ageing population, climate change). The interdisciplinary projct provides a better understanding how spaces, buildings and land use should be planned, used and managed to support different stakeholders (such as households, office workers, real estate owners, space occupants, firms, public sector) in different crisis situations. The study presents concrete solutions and policies concerning e.g. location, space divisions, land use structures, flexibility and services connected to real estate in crisis management. Funded by the Academy of Finland, 2020-2023. Tampere research team is led by Assosiate Professor Sofie Pelsmakers.


LONGRISK aims to develop decision support to improve strategic management of chronic environmental crises in Finnish municipalities, with situation rooms as a key tool. The project collaborates with cities of Tampere, Kotka and Helsinki. Funded by the Academy of Finland. Tampere research team is led by professor Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen.

Spaces of confinement in the institutions of care and control in Finland

The aging population and the recent reports of mistreatment in psychiatric hospitals and retirement homes indicate a need for a more diverse study on the institutions of care. Leaning on the conceptual framework of carceral geographies and critical legal geographies, the main theoretical objective is to find new conceptual tools for understanding the processes of care and control in institutions. Funded by the Academy of Finland, 2017-2022. Led by Associate Professor Päivi Kymäläinen.

The right to suburban space

The Right to Suburban Space research project explores: 1) the possibilities and restrictions created by physical and social suburban spaces, 2) the processes that create suburban margins, 3) the production of suburban meanings and belonging, and 4) the actions and practices of urban politics and planning to advance suburban neighborhoods. Research material is gathered from: Varissuo (Turku), Kontula (Helsinki) and Vuosaari (Helsinki). Funded by Ministry of the Environment, Finland (Lähiöohjelma), 2020-2022. Led by Associate Professor Päivi Kymäläinen.


Within this project, we aim to understand how major changes to home heating and heating technology over the last 70 years have been designed, managed and experienced, how they have impacted our lives and what lessons we might learn for the current transition to low carbon systems. We do this through oral history interviews where members of the public in case study locations around the UK, Sweden, Finland and Romania tell us in detail about their memories of keeping warm at home throughout their lives and the ways their lives have been affected by changes to home heating systems and routines. Artists appointed in each country will build exhibitions to show how heating has affected our lives in different ways over time and to start public conversations about a fair and progressive low carbon future for heating. The Finnish team is led by Associate Professor Sofie Pelsmakers.

Ecosocial well-being and inclusion. New dynamics of urban segregation (EKOS)

In EKOS project we are looking for ways to strengthen the vitality of the suburbs and to understand the differentiation of residential areas in the current sustainable transformation.We consider how people living in the suburbs can participate in and influence sustainable urban development. Funded by Ministry of the Environment, Finland, 2020-2023. Led by Professor Liisa Häikö/Tampere University.

Helsinki Urban Rat Project

Mul­tidiscip­lin­ary research pro­ject on eco­logy, evol­u­tion, ge­net­ics and so­cial sciences of urban rats in Helsinki area. Our research project aims to uncover the spatio-temporal variation in rat populations, how rats share and spread parasites and pathogens and how humans feel and think about rats in urban setting. Joined project of Helsinki and Tampere University researchers. Funded by the Kone foundation and KAKS (kunnallisalan kehittämissäätiö), 2020-2022.

SOL-TECH – Human-centered solar smart technology design for healthy aging

The project will develop smart solar technology for healthy aging. The research takes a human-centred socio-technical approach to develop solar-powered smart sensors that monitor elderly people at home to detect and prevent falls. Funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, 2022-2024. Led by Associate Professor Paola Vivo/Tampere University.

Housing in Change

Major social, demographic and environmental changes are currently having a significant impact on the needs of the living environment. For example, urbanisation, climate change, changes in family structure, working life, tele working, and ageing all affect the use of living space facilities and services. All of these factors create a new kind of tension between housing-related privacy and community solutions. The Housing in Change project focuses on how the living environment responds to the needs of its residents in a holistic way in this changing situation at the neighbourhood and individual dwelling scale. Funded by Western Finland Public Benefit Housing Foundation and YH Kodit housing company, 2020-2022.

The Finnish Home and Sustainable Welfare Interconnections​

The context of our study is the Finnish home. We seek to provide understanding of residents’ everyday life and the diverse practices, needs and meanings that are connected to the concept of home and to create interdisciplinary knowledge of the connections and implications between sustainable welfare and our living environments. Book publication in 2022. Funded by Tampere University’s Sustainable Welfare Systems PROFI5 seed-funding.

PILKKU – Qualitative growth trajectories of small towns

The research aims to find out how Finnish small towns could strengthen their role as actors of more even regional development by using methods of urban planning and development. It is important to take care of small towns, as they establish a crucial part of Finnish areal structure by providing a geographical framework and infrastructure for a significant proportion of population, economy, and services. The project applies approved and well-tried development methods to tackle future challenges, like the fight against climate change and urban shrinkage. The regional contexts of the study are South-Ostrobothnia and the Tampere Region. Duration of the project is 2022 – 2023, funded mainly by The Foundation of Municipal Development (Kunnallisalan kehittämissäätiö). Project leader at TAU is Professor Ari Hynynen.

Space, Justice and Everyday Democracy: The Limits of Language and Urban Marginality 

The project examines everyday democracy and issues of justice. The idea of ​​everyday democracy offers an alternative perspective to the idea of ​​active citizenship and top-down participation. Funded by Kone Foundation, 2022-2025. Led by Associate Professor Päivi Kymäläinen.


Together with AAA in Denmark, TU Dublin in Ireland, UniBo in Italy and Taltech in Estonia, ASUTUT research group at Tampere University lead ARCH4CHANGE project to radically change the architectural design curriculum towards a carbon neutral built environment. Funded by Erasmus plus, 2020-2023. Led by Associate Professor Sofie Pelsmakers/Tampere University.


This ARCH4FUTURE mobility project aims to: 1) create China-Finland architecture knowledge exchange for a carbon neutral society, 2) tackle skills gaps for students and teachers in both countries, and 3) diversify access to knowledge and tools via a digital platform. Funded by EDUFI, 2020-2023. Led by Associate Professor Sofie Pelsmakers/Tampere University.

Temporary Uses in Latin America

This project explores the phenomenon of temporary uses of vacant and abandoned urban spaces as they unfold within the context of Latin America. Delving into online arenas, following several cases, and applying the diverse analytic methods of narrative inquiry, the project aims to explain why and how temporary uses develop in different Latin American cities.

Citizen Science Pilot Project

The project aims to create a framework and community of practice to facilitate greater inclusivity, empowerment and equity in Citizen Science projects. Funded by ECIU SMART-ER program, 2022-2023. Contact:, and

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