This is an extract of Practical Four, group work with Mathew Page and Babak Firoozi Fooladi.

Please refer to submission in Moodle for assessment purposes. 



One of the greatest pull factors of rural to urban migration is access to the concentration and diversity of employment opportunities available in cities. Indeed, agglomeration can also benefit businesses who gain access to shared infrastructure and knowledge as well as a larger labour pool (Swinney, McDonald & Ramuni, 2018). In Finland, these agglomeration effects can be seen in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area which comprises only 0.2% of the total land area but represents 19% of the population and contributes 30% of national GDP (Saarimaa, 2018).

In this task we aim to depict spatial industry structure within the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, comprising Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. Using heatmaps and heatmap analysis, we will be able to identify significant employment poles, the geographical spread of industry clusters, and compare across industries to identify patterns of correlation or opposition.

Results and Discussion

We compared the job locations for four employment categories; namely Commercial, Scientific, Industrial and Educational jobs.

Figure One- Heatmaps of Science & Technology, Commercial Trade, Industry and Education

We can immediately see that the majority of commercial and scientific jobs are located in the city centre of Helsinki, with a wide spread of lower density clusters throughout the great Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Figure One). However, there is also a significant high-density cluster of scientific jobs in Otaniemi. These two clusters coincide directly with the education jobs, in Helsinki and Otaniemi (the campuses of the two Universities running the USP programme). This suggests some cooperation/co dependence between the education and scientific fields. By contrast, Industrial jobs are located far from the city centre, with two main clusters located around Pitäjänmäki and Karamalmi, and this was the only one of the four industries which did not show a ‘hot-spot’ in the city center. Commercial trade and industry also show some correlation around the southern border of Vantaa (Figure One).

Jobs are clustered in different areas due to cost, transport, customer base and space. Jobs in the retail, commercial trade, tourism, governance services, public governance & defense,arts, entertainment, recreation and international organisations are all clustered around the city center (See full report). It could be assumed this is due to density of population, access to tourists and good transport links within the central area of Helsinki. Business also seek to minimise their operational overheads, and the location of the office may be driven by commercial rental prices. Furthermore, industries which need a large amount of space such as car sales, construction, primary production and mining are located further from the central business district (See full report). These industries seek cheap land with transport connections accessible to trucks and other heavy machinery. Primary production and mining industries may also have outputs and emissions that are unfavourable, eg. smell, noise and it would be bad planning for them to be located near tourism and retail industries in the city center. Conversely, industries such as finance and public governance and defense can share expertise, resources and collaborate for better business decisions.

Figure Two- Breakdown of Jobs within the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

Almost two-thirds of the jobs in the region are located within the municipality of Helsinki, with the remainder split fairly evenly between Espoo and Vantaa (Figure Two). In terms of coverage/accessibility, the entire municipality ofHelsinki has a range of jobs throughout its geographical area, however this is not the case for Espoo and Vantaa. Espoo only has significant clusters in the south and the east, close to the border with Helsinki (Figure Three). Likewise, Vantaa has most jobs located at its southern border, with a particularly strong corridor heading north along the railway line toward Kerava and around the airport.

Figure Three- Heatmap of Total Jobs in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

People generally like to live close to their place of work. The geographical spread of jobs usually influence where people live and what type of people live in each region. As the majority of jobs are located within the center of Helsinki and the population density is also higher. Population data in 2017 shows Helsinki Municipality Area has 635,181 people, roughly three times as many as Espoo and Vantaa with 274,583 and 219,341 respectively (KTI Finland, 2018). There is a strong correlation between total jobs and total population in the Municipality areas. Of the Helsinki municipality area, 56% of the population reside in the municipality of Helsinki and where 63% of the total jobs are located.

Figure Four – Employment Figures by Industry and Municipality

The breakdown of jobs per industry also shows that the job market in the Helsinki municipality area is not heavily biased towards one industry. The highest number of jobs are in commercial trade and health and social services, 13.43% and 11.35% respectively. There are 12 industries containing between 3 and 8% of the totals jobs, representing two thirds of the total job share. This shows diversity of job prospects within the Helsinki municipality area (Figure Three, Four and Full Report). Due to the close proximity and good transport connections, between Vantaa, Espoo and Helsinki labour markets can be shared. Therefore, the effect of job location on home location is unclear as movement of people from homes to work is made easier by an efficient transport system. However, people working in an international organisation or an arts and entertainment sector mainly located in the city center, must be prepared to pay higher living costs or commute further to work. This is the opposite for people working in mining or primary industries, who if desiring an inner city urban lifestyle must commute out of the city center for work.

There may also be other local municipality factors in play, such as policy or incentives that influence the geographical distribution of jobs. For instance, in Melbourne, Australia, organisations have previously been given incentives relocate from the city center to regional centers. The theory behind the relocation is to decentralise the city center, encourage people to move from Melbourne, take pressure off the housing supply and to ease peak hour traffic congestion (Victorian Parliament, 2009). Businesses also benefit from cheaper property, rents and other overheads as these are cheaper in regional centers. As the City of Helsinki grows and property prices increase, a decentralisation model as adopted in Melbourne could be explored for the future.


By analysing the YKR employment data set through heatmapping we were able to depict the spatial industry structure within the Helsinki Metropolitan Area using GIS. In addition to the expected concentration of service sector and commercial jobs in Helsinki city centre, significant employment hubs were identified in Otaniemi for education, scientific and technology jobs, and near Pitäjänmäki and Karamalmi for the industrial sector.

The importance of transport for employment locations was evidenced by the large number of jobs around the railway line and airport. The dominance of jobs in central Helsinki correlates with the population statistics, suggesting people are choosing their residence based on proximity to the available jobs. As a further exercise it could be interesting to connect residence with workplace to assess the impact of the employment spatial structure on residential density, affordability as well as transport implications.



KTI (2018). The Finnish Property Market 2018. Published by KTI Finland 2018
Saarimaa, T. (2018). Urban Economics and Planning – Introduction [Powerpoint Slides]
Swinney, P, McDonald, R. & Ramuni, L. (2018). Centre for Cities. Talk of the Town, accessed
15 October 2018,
Victoria. Parliament. Rural and Regional Committee, et al. Inquiry Into Regional Centres of
the Future: Final Report. Melbourne: Government Printer for the State of Victoria, 2009.

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