Haaga, through FiFoo Filter

What have I done?!

From the first session of the class till now, we have discussed the Haaga from its very beginning till now. I described Haaga in my own perspective and in accordance with my own background. I tried to look for problems which I was familiar with. but in this post, I want to identify the problems, opportunities, and strength of Haaga from posts of my talented classmates.

I spend nearly 12 hours reading every post that existed till 16.10.2018 and took the items identifying the problems and classified them. and by those classifications, I tried to see if the problem exists and map it if possible. The result is:

In this post, I will go through all of this problems one by one. Fortunately, in GIS class, we were provided with useful data about the population that gives us a better insight into problems within Haaga and the current situation of it. thus I will present maps according to the problem if possible.

1. Identity problems

This problem was mentioned several times by many people from different backgrounds. The problem is Haaga itself lack some sort of Identity, People do not have a very strong and well-known place in Haaga. As Anna put it:

“the use of hashtags # tells us roughly where users visit and especially where they want to be seen have visited. It tells us what hashtags are most frequently used when referring to Haaga”

As she mentioned, you barely can see any hashtags closely related to a place in the Haaga, or some festivals or some other activities. Arttu, on the other hand, mentioned some details about the origin of Haaga. He discussed the closeness in this area to Helsinki and also mentioned that the lands in this area were prepared to be sold in the future. This evidence shows the origin of Haaga in some way. Others like Faany and Toumas and some others mentioned the main people who moved to Haaga in its early days were mostly working class, but unfortunately, according to Toumas, the working class houses have almost completely disappeared. this means, during the major development of Haaga, the main reason for its existence is destroyed. So this may cause serious identity problems.

The reputations of the Haaga, on the other hand, makes things even worse. according to Sirpa, “Haaga and its neighborhoods are the worst places in Helsinki.” Sirpa analyzed the car accidents in the area and the frequency. this means the area is relatively dangerous for pedestrians, therefore children. There are some problems with gangs and pubs mentioned in several posts, Asta and Katie’s interview with two brothers and also Karolina’s investigations in conversation forums tell us about the bad reputation of Haaga and its causes especially in Asta’s post gives us some evidence about the origin of the gangs.

Asta: “Just to further clarify, when we speak of gangs in our interview posts, we don’t mean organized crime. We use the term ‘jengi’/’gang’ loosely to mean that the kids in North and South Haaga formed their own groups which both gave the kids identity/sense of belonging but also created a set of rules about use of spaces within Haaga (i.e. territoriality). It was simply a thing for boys to be very territorial in the ’50s-70s, possibly also earlier, at least there is some mention of similar behaviour in for example the Sörkka slang article from our Urban history week. Our interview subjects felt that this behaviour is no longer present in the area, but was simply something that was part of their subjective childhood/teenage experiences.”

Thank you Asta!

2. Segregation within Haaga

Haaga seems to have major problems between its zones as well. Although Haaga is 5.3 kilometers, There should not be too much difference in its parts. but posts say another thing. Many mentioned the differentiation between the northern and southern parts of it. From the posts, I realized the bad reputation is for the north part of Haaga. For instance, the map we created in GIS class for basic education, perfectly shows the segregation within the district:

this ma shows the percentage of basic education in cells. as you can see there is a visible difference between north and south.

3. Density

Some people believe the density of Haaga may cause some problems, especially in the future. Mika believes :

“if density is relatively low when demand is high, the prices will rise leading to an unfair and economically unbalanced situation from which almost everyone … Haaga is one area with the huge potential of infill construction”

He clarifies the density role in present and future of Haaga. If we continue with this density, we will face many problems not only for people who live here but for the ABB company and other close industrial area and job markets, because their workers cannot afford to will next to these places.

4. Public transportation access

This problem requires careful analysis, especially in GIS. Karolina mentioned several times that people here have problems with accessibility, and accessibility to certain functions and land uses which I will discuss in the Public Services section. but there was some discussion about public transportation access to the city center. Haaga is in center of Helsinki Metropolitan area, the problem with access to a close place like the city center, resembles a big problem with public transportation.. one of the things we have to analyze during the planning phase is the future trams and public transportation.

The most obvious thing about the accessibility to transportation network is, all of the buildings in the area have a good access to public transportation, but the thing is, we have not discussed the type of transportation and also the destination of the residents. this map shows the access to all types of public transportation via network analysis. The distance is 400 meter. This is a standard distance for people at any age to walk towards the station.

So everything should be fine, yes? the answer is no. Although nearly all areas in the Haaga have good access to public transportation. If you want to go to city center, things may change. you may need a transfer point, The buses may take forever to take you to your station. but that requires more deep studies into transportation network.

5. Public space and services

There are several things wrong with this area. I will discuss them one by one:


There are difficulties as Katie mentioned in her post about two brothers. accessibility to schools is a major key for families with children to move into the area and choose accommodation here.

This map shows the lack of educational facilities near some areas. This accessibility shows that if you are a parent your choice in this neighborhood is limited. you have to take your child to school or daycare by your own car or bicycle, which bicycle option is not available during cold and rainy weather.  you cannot expect a child who is less than 10 years old walk more than a kilometer in snow or cold weather. if we want to make a place for families, we need to correct this.

there is another point visible in this map. the accessibility to adjacent districts is very limited. meaning people at the edges of the Haaga cannot use other districts urban space easily. so it is like their back is against the wall and they have nowhere to go, except hop on their personal vehicle and ride to other places.

Major stores

As Karolina mentioned in her post, there are problems with major functions such as big shopping centers or grocery stores. Haaga is 5.3 square Kilometer, an area this big must be self-sufficient and must not depend on other districts for a major need such as groceries.

Enjoy the public space

To be honest, it seems Haaga is not designed in a way to people live in motion. people who are walking in the city space are counted as modern people. they have to rush to metro, train bus and etc. move to work, come back and go directly to their home (as Jan Gehl described in his speech) this means we have to do something for people so they can read their surroundings and enjoy their neighborhood. it seems a problem with public transportation may have roots in this part as well. people are bored with their surroundings and just want to move faster and get out of this area as soon as possible. this phenomenon changes the behavior of people in this area in a way that they only use this area for sleep. and they will lose their sense of belonging and will contribute less in events of the Haaga.

What should we do?

Creating Identity, in my opinion, is one of the hardest things in planning. it requires extensive studies in sociology and a carefully plan covering all of the aspects. It takes too much time as well. but it is not impossible.

There are some good things about this place after all. the geographic location of Haaga, Train stations, Beautiful nature (mentioned the most in posts) and some monuments are opportunities that can be used go give Haaga a symbol, an identity. Many believed that higher density will result in higher diversity in activities and make more lively places in cities. If we can connect the major areas around Haaga, design them in a way when people coming back from work pass through them, we can make a meaningful place. we need to reconsider the density in this area, we need to ad more diverse functionalities and land uses so people will use their own neighborhood to fulfill their needs.

When people use their space, the will have a sense of belonging, then they will care for it, and finally the make an identity for it.

Measuring unmeasurable


“Physical density is a numerical measure of the concentration of individuals or physical structures within a given geographical unit.”(Ng, 2009) according to this definition, we went after the data, especially GIS ones to calculate density and create meaningful charts and maps from them. The data source for buildings and total gross area of the buildings up to 2013 is from SeutuCD 2013 and the rest belongs to datasets provided by HSY website. According to Ng, it is very important to choose the right area for your analysis. We choose the whole Haaga area as the reference geometry for calculation of density, but in heatmaps we created, we used the grid area for density calculation just to show the dense places in Haaga.

Through our search for effects of density on urban and urban life, we encountered many interesting things in many scales. Some of them were talking about the good side and others about the bad side. Density can have an impact in many places. For instance in transportation, according to data provided in the book of Ng, if we make our city denser, the distance we have to travel for daily routines will reduce.

Increase in density may increase the social interaction in a settlement, as Jacobs discuss, place with more people may have more diverse activities within them. People presence in the streets and urban space make the place safer and lively resulting increase in quality of urban space.

Although the increase in density has many positive effects on urban space, too much density may rise may problems which may require an extreme amount of money and time to solve. Therefore, Planning dense areas should be done carefully and with intensive studies, otherwise, the outcome will harm everyone.

Density and morphology in Haaga

Data periods that we are using and comparing in this analysis

To understand density in Haaga region better and find out what can influence development changes, we use several data sets that we were able to gather. This includes job market situation in Helsinki in 2017, housing prices from period 2007-2017, new building development in Haaga in three periods (until 1960, 1960-1997, 1997-2013). We are also comparing building development in Haaga with the whole development in Helsinki during the same period. Moreover, analysis of population is strongly connected with building data and we are comparing the changes that appeared in it during the last sixteen years.

1. Haaga`s building development by years:

Before 1960`s there were only a few villa type developments in Haaga area. A new development after 60`s boomed with a lot of new building of different sizes.  Between 1961 and 1997 (36 years) the amount of new construction (m2) increased almost 2,5 times than in the previous time period. After that, the increment was very small and compared with the previous period – only + 11%.

The biggest amount of new houses in the 1961-1997 period was for 500-1000m2 as well as until 500m2 and 1000-2000m2 houses. It would be important to find out the exact type of those houses and then compare m2 size per capita in Haaga and Helsinki with other countries information. By doing that it is possible to define a Finnish type and maybe forecast a unique demand (this is an assumption).

(We chose 1997`s as a development phase because this is the earliest the most informative data we could get. It also showed some small development changes which looked interesting to analyze.)

2. The number of newcomers in Haaga

It is visible that during sixteen years the number of people in Haaga slightly decreased. This maybe is due to new better living opportunities that emerged in other areas of Helsinki and competed with old Haaga`s old development.

During 2013 – 2017 the amount is increasing, density is increasing, but we do not have data of buildings yet to support this assumption and to show morphologically what is happening and where in the neighborhood (are there more new buildings, reconstructions, new floors added, conversions).

We could overlay the population data with new developments data for period 2013-2017 and see if the growth in the number of people is because of totally new developments, or because of changes in the existing housing structure.

3. Helsinki development in comparison with Haaga (1997 – 2013)

To find out how the city of Helsinki developed during the period when in Haaga there was a visible stagnation in densification (1997-2013), a map on Helsinki development at that time was created. During this period there was a densification of an existing structure mainly in the suburbs of Helsinki. Haaga (in grey) positioned in between densification of outskirts and city center territory did not experience a lot of new developments. There is a need to understand the political and economic background to define reasons why this geographically and strategically good location had no attention from planners at that time.

4. Helsinki job market influence on new developments in Haaga

(2017 data)

From this map and historical information about the job market today we assume that Haaga development was strongly connected with an industrial center that formed in Strömberg (red circle). Moreover, Haaga`s position in the Helsinki region is extremely comfortable employment wise. The distances from the city center and other surrounding business points are less than 10 km. With a developed public transport system this is the most optional area to live in.

The connection between Haaga and Strömberg development

Gottfried Strömberg was an independent entrepreneur for electrical machines in 1889. He started the business in Kampus and then later the company moved to the location which today is under his name “Strömberg”. Several mergers between companies appeared which increased the number of job places. In 1988 the ABB Group was born when Asea and Swiss Brown Boveri joined their electrotechnical business. For this reason, the number of job positions should have increased and attracted potential newcomers to the area of Haaga. (https://new.abb.com/fi/abb-lyhyesti/historia/suomalaiset-juuret)

5. Prices comparison – the existing situation

Comparing housing prices and apartment transactions, we can gather valuable information about the demand in the area in relation to the whole region or surrounding areas. In Haaga, the number of transactions has been rather stable, but the slight decrease is visible.

Interestingly the average price of housing has risen quite significantly, following the trend of rising housing prices in Helsinki area. This indicates that demand is high in the area, even though there is a slight decrease in population density in Haaga. This also suggests that the rate we are building is not sufficient and we cannot supply enough housing at the moment. High demand for housing gives a reason for densifying areas, planning more housing and granting more building permits in order to push the prices down.


Egle Pilipaviciute

Paula Piirainen

Babak Firoozi Fooladi


Ng, E. (2009). Designing high-density cities for social and environmental sustainability. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849774444

Ottelin, J., Heinonen, J., & Junnila, S. (2015). New Energy Efficient Housing Has Reduced Carbon Footprints in Outer but Not in Inner Urban Areas. Environmental Science and Technology, 49(16), 9574–9583. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b02140

Kiinteistömaailma. Asuntojen hinnat Helsinki. Hintaseurantapalvelu – Kiinteistönvälitysalan keskusliitto / Tilastokeskus, Paavo – Postinumeroalueittainen avain tieto, 2015 / Suomen virallinen tilasto (SVT): Kuluttajaindeksi [verkkojulkaisu]. ISSN=1796-3524. Helsinki: Tilastokeskus. https://www.kiinteistomaailma.fi/asuntojen-hinnat

Beyond Wikipedia, Haaga beyound 1900s

The Transition task was made with a group consisting of three students: Anna Ahlgren, Babak Firoozi Fooladi and Paula Piirainen.


The first animation expresses the development of residential areas in Haaga from 1906 to 2013. The points depict residential buildings and the size expresses the total floor area of the building. Buildings built before 1906 are not shown, so the animation only deals with the development after 1906.

As you can see from the animation the rapid development phase started in the 50s. Around 1950-1970 there were a lot of small residential buildings build as well as in the 90s. In early 2000, fewer residential buildings were built but the total floor area of the individual buildings was greater.

This kind of animation is good for quickly assessing the area: the main directions for development, in which year or years the development took place and where it is centered. Another thing that is also visible is that after the 90s, there weren’t any new residential districts created: only infill development in the existing areas.

Zoning map

In the Zoning map the areas, which are built mainly in the same era, are outlined and marked with individual gradients/colors. The infill development is not shown or depicted in this map.

But why are we interested in zones?

-The buildings and residential areas built in the same era might have similar characteristics, because of a current stylistic trend, traditions or region. In addition, we can divide the development of Haaga into decades or other intervals to make clearer, which areas were developed and when.

Bubble chart

This chart represents the data of the buildings and their floor area. Using the GIS data and further processing of that data in excel provided us with this chant. in the y-axis we have the count of the buildings built in that year and on the x-axis, we have the year. Size of the bubble is showing the average are generated by buildings built in that specific year.

by examining the chart we can see the main construction and development of Haaga actually started from the 1950s. In the beginning, the buildings were small in large counts, after that we see in the 1970s bigger houses in smaller counts. but there is a spike in 1990 in the count and small houses. after that, we reach the era we have inward development, many houses built in these years were massive in size, but smaller in counts.

In this chart, we examined the population changes and buildings data from 1997 to 2013 (the years we had consisting and reliable data in GIS format).

There are three periods that we have some major changes. the yellow area shows a jump in floor per capita. we also have a drop in population as well. so we may conclude many families turned smaller and new houses were occupied by small families.

In the second period (orange ones) population still decreases, but many new houses are generated. Also, the change in capita is massive in its scale. so we can assume children and next generation have moved to other places and many new buildings are filled with small families.

the third period says something different. population and building increase, but the ratio drops significantly. this means the new housing must be small apartments for families. this explanation is also aligned with market demands since Haaga has a good access to the city center and counted as a good place for working class according to the monocentric city model.

Historical pictures

We searched old pictures from Haaga and managed to find quite a lot from the 20th century. Anna from our group searched newer ones from Instagram and discusses the meaning of these in her blog

We did a little bit of comparing, but it was difficult to find pictures from the same places due to changes in the landscape and the lack of clear landmarks. Also, pictures on Instagram are usually from places or things people regard beautiful or worth of capturing photos, but the old pictures felt somehow more random because they weren’t meant to be in someone’s personal photo blog.  As in Instagram, all the pictures are ones that people have chosen to put up there for everyone to see.

Moving back to the older pictures, this particular picture caught our eye:

1953 . Haagan raitiovaunu Kivihaan kohdalla Haagassa Nuijamiestentien varrella.

This is a picture from Haaga during 1953 when there was a tram line operating from Etu-Töölö to Haaga. The picture tells us quite a bit about the housing, vehicles, vegetation, roads, density and most importantly, everyday life. Pictures can tell us something that statistics or GIS analysis can’t. They can dive into the eye-level of people and show us how the world was seen in that era, but of course, we can’t feel the atmosphere or hear their thoughts.  Gis analysis can provide important tools for analyzing the “bigger picture” and the old photographs just add to that giving the “big picture” more details.

The Reconstruction of Haaga

Source : https://kartta.hel.fi – Aerial photographs.

In this task, we have to give a description of the past of Haaga. the task was to difficult especially for those whom do not know the Finnish language and are not familiar with the Finnish history.

I started investigating the foundations of Haaga. I looked at all materials I could find to see the main reason for the creation of Haaga and see how the city changed in years especially in the past two decades. The location of this area during the 1800s is close to a major road going straight to the Helsinki city. I believe this area was used to cultivate crops for Helsinki.

My findings suggested that this area was used primarily for farming during the nineteenth century. this area was mostly used to cultivate meadow. even in aerial photos from the 1930s and 1940s, you can see there are large parts used for agriculture.  But in recent aerial images seems the functionality of the city changed.

Population data from 1997 till 2017, says some interesting things about the Haaga.

The population decreased from 1997 to 2008. but from 2010 the population increased rapidly. this data shows that after enormous growth in GDP and economy, the demand for housing large cities especially Helsinki increased so did Haaga. The population growth rate between 1997 to 2017 is 5.78 percent which is too high and shows houses in this area are being occupied rapidly. there is a jump between 2012 and 2013. this indicates that demand for housing has increased years before. but the projects for housing for supplying those demand finished during 2012 and 2013.

In this map, each point represents a building. and the color is the year of construction. there are scattered points (brown) in the area which are older than their neighboring buildings. I believe these buildings are the farmers’ houses. It appears during the early 1900s the farmers sold their lands for housing construction. most of the buildings in this area are built during the 50s. but as you can see there are some development happened in the center of the Haaga.

In conclusion, Haaga is an old area compared to other areas of Helsinki, because of its location and access to transportation, this area is a good choice for housing and has many potential lands for further development. It’s past shows that this place was a farm for meadow, but I believe it was not because of the soil or fertility, but because of the accessibility. Accessibility is one of the most important factors in choosing a property, so the demand for this area is high as we have seen in the data.


  • Helsingin kaupunkisuunnitteluviraston asemakaavaosaston selvityksiä 2012:2
  • https://www.hsy.fi/fi/asiantuntijalle/avoindata/Sivut/AvoinData.aspx?dataID=7 population data
  • Seutu building registry file provided in QGIS 2018 course.


Howto Cite articles, books etc. using Mendeley.

Hello guys!

Have you ever worried about your citation or bibliography at the end and related stuff? I wondered about it myself, I have a good solution for that!

I tested dozens of apps to see which one can handle reference management better and easier to use without losing the options. testing Qiqqa, Zotero, Mendeley, endnote etc. I found Mendeley easiest to use and with powerful features and plugins for Microsoft Word. If you already used to use a software other then Mendeley, stick to that. but if you are interested, follow me!

Mendeley is developed and backed up by Elsevier (I think you know who I’m talking about!) and the homepage of the software is here.

This software is free although it is not an open source application like Zotero. but it covers all operating systems. The Instructions are for Windows users cause I do not own a Mac and I have no access to it!. by the way. you can download and install it. please install the plugins for Word as well!

there are some useful plugins for this software:

I will post the instructions for citing later. just need a bit more time and a plan! ;D

Howto Geo-tag photos in QGIS

in this article, I will explain how can you use the GPS data recorded while you were taking pictures with your smartphone or your camera which has GPS module.

Before your trip!

please notify you should activate an option on your device, called Geo-Tagging. This option requires you to turn on your GPS, which may consume power. If you on a long journey, bring a power bank with yourself or at least plan some legs so you have time to recharge your device if necessary.

this option varies among different devices, you can check the internet to find how can you activated. most of the time it is activated by default.

Where is the GPS data stored?

For Windows users, you can check if your picture has GPS data or not by simply go to your picture, right-click on it and choose properties option. then go to details tab and scroll down till you find GPS data as shown in the picture:

If you found the GPS data, congratulations! your picture can be used for Geo-tagging!

store all your photos on same category (such as day 1 or whatever as you like)  in one folder accessible by your machine, so you can have a neat database.

Start your QGIS engine!

Now we have our photos someplace on our system, start your QGIS software. you can find this software here.

IMPORTANT! Install 2.18 version since plug-ins we use in this process are still not compatible with 3.XX version yet.

I have a PC and I can not afford a mac to show you the instructions but you should be okay since the interface of both Windows and Mac are identical.

here is what you see when you start your QGIS.

1. Gather the proper tools.

We need to provide QGIS with proper tools for this process, the plug-ins we need are :

You can find how to install plug-ins in QGIS here ( I have not created the article yet, but I will!)

2. Lets start!

1. open the Photo2shape window as shown in the picture:

2. After that you can see the window below:

Directory with images, the name explains itself, you should choose the folder that you put your photos there.

Output shapefile, this option asks you the location and the name of your output file which is a *.SHP file.

after assigning those values hit the OK and your shapefile is created.

We need Openlayer tool for putting a satellite image or other map service behind our points so we can see actually where our points are located exactly.

Choose your favorite service as shown below:

the layer is above your points so you have to adjust it by moving your points layer to the top in layers panel as shown below:

Ok, we are all set but we need to activate the option so we can access to our photos inside QGIS. for that matter right-click on an empty area and choose database panel:

After that, you can see a few tools added to your toolbar, choose the one with ID shape as shown and then click on your points, you should be able to see the picture right away.

Howto Geo-tag photos, QGIS 3.X

For some people who might want to use the most recent version of QGIS, there is the instruction for QGIS 3 geo-tagging. Since QGIS 3 is rather new and most developers still are working on their plugins to work on it, there is a different tool for geotagging in QGIS 3.

Windows users are only required to install plugin, but Mac users need a bit more stuff to do.  The instruction for Mac users is written in READ ME file in the home page of the plugin.

the plugin is:  ImportPhoto

After installation, you can add it to your toolbar as shown below:

the plugin has two buttons, one is to import your photos, and another one for viewing them just by clicking on the points in the map. for importing our photos, same as before you have to store them in a folder where you have access.

after doing so click on import photos:

After clicking this window will show up. same as before the first one is for choosing the folder, but the second one is a bit different. this plugin does not make an SHP file.  the file is different but you can always export it as an SHP. the functionality is the same so don’t worry.

After you imported your photos, you use the second button for viewing them.