Welcome to From Rurban to Urban – a blog about the past, present and future of Finnish cities and urban life.
This blog is my personal attempt to draw attention to the urban environment in Finland. I’ve graduated in 2010 with a master’s degree in Planning Geography from the University of Helsinki and after working for a while I’ve just recently gone back to university to gather more knowledge about cities. The programme I’m now doing is a one-year master called European Urban Cultures (POLIS) and it is taught in Brussels, Tilburg, Manchester and Tallinn over the course of this academic year,
My passions are greatly connected to the urban environment: Urban design, urban hikes, traveling and exploring new cities, the history of cities and the urban environment, and third places to name a few. I wrote my master’s and bachelor’s theses related to the urban sprawl phenomenon in Finland (only available in Finnish) and its connection to American planning ideals and practices. Working on my theses was in many ways a tiring process, but I did enjoy exploring the issues that interest me the most and being able to include some thoughts of my own in the text as well. I discovered that I enjoy writing my ideas and thoughts down. And this blog is a continuum to that process.
My aim is also to design my new thesis with the POLIS programme related to the context of this blog. In one way or another.
A fundamental motive for me wanting to discuss the urban environment in Finland is that no one has really taken the initiative. We love to discuss many other aspects of the Finnish city like traffic systems, technical details and dimensions of buildings, and recreational amenities, but never what our urban environment essentially looks like or functions as a whole. We settle for what gets done.
I believe we should and could do so much better. Idealistically, I share a lot of views with the New Urbanist movement which I got acquainted with during a semester spent studying at San Diego State University. Our common concern is that during the past 60 years we’ve sadly lost just about all of our skill and vision to create urban spaces worth caring about.
The urban habitat is our future and we need to seek ways of making it as good as we can. I want to be a part of this process and this blog is a first step in my goal to try to make a difference. The blog is also a tool for me to explore our cities in greater detail.
I want to write in English, because I enjoy it and it also enables non-Finnish speakers to get some sense of what has been and is going on in urban Finland. I am not a native speaker, so please forgive all language mistakes you might (or already have) me(e)t.
Feel free to contact me at urbanfinlandblog[at]gmail.com or connect with me on LinkedIn: Timo Hämäläinen
The blog banner photo is by Joneikifi from Wikimedia Commons.