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. Led by Liisa Häikiö. Funded by the the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, 2019-2025.

ToBe Towards a sustainable wellbeing economy: integrated policies and transformative indicators

Research-based knowledge on the sustainability of well-being and the economy is needed as Europe strives to become the first carbon-neutral continent in the world. For example, a high gross domestic product (GDP) does not yet tell us on what basis economic wellbeing is built and who benefits from it. A research project funded by the European Union is developing policy practices and transformative indicators that promote sustainable wellbeing, economy, and sustainability paradigm. Tampere University leads a consortium of 14 partners on three continents. Led by Liisa Häikiö and Tuuli Hirvilammi. Funded by the European Union in the framework of the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme 2023-2026.

KARHU Circular economy value creation and tomorrow´s capabilities in the Satakunta technology metal cluster

Satakunta’s technology metal cluster plays a significant role in Finland’s green export industry. The challenge for companies in growth is the lack of training and workforce, as well as the need for closer R&D cooperation to build innovation ecosystems in the circular economy. The project has two goals:1) to create scenarios for university education that would better support the skills and workforce needs of the Satakunta-based technology metal cluster; 2) to support the cluster’s interactive value creation and accelerate circular economy R&D and innovation activities and the birth of new research projects. Funded by European Regional Development Fund 2023-2024.

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. Led by Päivi Kymäläinen. Funded by the Academy of Finland, 2017-2022.

T-winning Spaces 2035

Due to digitalisation, more people are working at home, in public and semi-public spaces. The characteristics of workspaces (including e.g. space size, layout and location) affect employee performance and wellbeing, and remote work can influence how we use spaces,commute, consume and spend leisure time, with environmental and health consequences. There is an urgent need to maximize the potential from digital remote working for the green transition. T-Winning Spaces aims at increasing understanding of the sustainability challenges of future digital remote working and how those could be tackled with optimal spatial solutions and practices for households and employers. The study brings together a unique team and methods from spatial planning, housing design, architecture and land use planning, facility management, urban physics, environmental impact analysis and policies, real estate and futures studies from Aalto University, Tampere University, and Turku University. Funded by the Academy of Finland 2023-2026.

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 Päivi Kymäläinen.

New urban co-development paradigm for Nordic Superblock

The research goal is to co-develop the Nordic Superblock life-cycle concept as a framework for sustainable living. The project is part of research consortium Nordic Superblocks as Decarbonization Catalysts co-innovation (NSDC). The consortium consists of PONTE team (PI Markus Laine), Human-Centered Technology team (Kaisa Väänänen) and project life-cycle team (Tuomas Ahola). Partners of the project are: Skanska, KONE, Tietoevry, Granlund, Integrio, Synocus, and cities of cities of Tampere and Espoo. Project is funded by Business Finland 2023-2025.

Visions of the city: Politics of visualisation framing urban development and planning

Today, images, videos and visions of urban future frame urban development. These visualisations are not neutral but constantly used to sway public opinion about development projects. Yet, little is known about the ways these visualisations are produced, what stylistic rules they follow and how they are used in framing political decisions. We analyse how images are used in order to advance particular visions of the city. Planning scholars have understood the importance of spatial imaginaries in relation to persuasive visualised ideas and symbols that convey messages about spatial development, but the literature on spatial imaginaries lacks depth. Our project seeks to fill this gap and bridge the disciplines of planning and visual studies. Consortium: PONTE (Markus Laine, Helena Leino) & Visual Studies lab (PI Asko Lehmuskallio) Funded by the Academy of Finland, 2022-2026.

Mining of wastewater metagenomic data to identify population health and disease trends (MiWaGen)

In this project, we will explore total metagenome from wastewater, which are a trusted source of community-level population health data. We evaluate the correlation between the health records in a given locality and the corresponding wastewater metagenomic signatures.
The project aims to identify disease risk indicators using bioinformatics and data science, including machine learning. Furthermore, the research produces a cost-effective community-level alternative to generating health information for infection epidemiology and population health research. Led by Sami Oikarinen. Funded by the Academy of Finland in 2023-2027.


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. Funded by the Academy of Finland and Horizon Europe 2022-2025.

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. Led by Paola Vivo. Funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, 2022-2024.

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). Led by Päivi Kymäläinen. Funded by Ministry of the Environment, Finland (Lähiöohjelma), 2020-2022.

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. Led by Liisa Häikö. Funded by Ministry of the Environment, Finland, 2020-2023.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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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