City branding, culture and Berlin

Berlin is a globally known hub of culture and arts. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the city has begun to utilize its cultural history to overcome “the bulk it’s history” during the 20th century. (Bottá 2008, 304) According to Can-Seing Ooi and Birgit Ströber (2010), the city of Berlin has been the agent of driving the city’s brand away from its history, but also the image of a coarse industrial town. The aim has been achieve by two strategies. The first one is to promote Berlin as a culturally exciting city. The second is using the international recognitions the city has been awarded (by UNESCO, MTV, festivals). The international recognitions are used to strengthen the message of authentically exciting cultural city. (Ooi and Ströber 2010, 69–72)

In the early 2000s, the city brand of Berlin began to promote the idea of the creative city, which began to emphasize the creative people over iconic sites in the city branding. The city was facing economic hardship, but at the same time the city’s creative economy was flourishing with a 11% share of the city’s GDP and 9% share of the workforce. Therefore, the city-branding began to concentrate on the city’s parts with creative spaces such as studios, music venues and art galleries in the former East Berlin (such as the spree river, Prenzlauer Berg, Augustustrasse in Mitte, Friedrichsain and Kreuzberg). The part of the city ignored for a decade became the focus it’s image. (Claire and Ares 2010, 6–)

In the turn of the decade, the city-branding of Berlin changed. The official initiative in the branding process became the company Berlin Partner. One of its initiatives was the Be Berlin campaign that run 2008–2012. The underlining idea behind the campaign was to create a clear identity for the city. The first step was to make Berliners proud of being inhabitants of the city. In the second part, this image was begun to be projected nationally and internationally. The core of the identity promoted by Be Berlin was change. The campaign was carried out online and in radio, posters, ads, PR and press work and included stories and biographies of Berliners. (Järvisalo 2012 45–56, Christopoulou 2016)

Task for the mid-term 19.10.: Online questionnaires to bring forth the voice of Haaga

During the fall I have completed three assignments that have been related to Haaga. In the first one I proposed a way to construct the 17th century Haaga from aerial photographs and by using old maps as primary sources. The information could be supplemented by paintings, photography and written sources. In the next task I approached the development of Haaga through the Historiallinen sanomalehtiarkisto (Historical newspaper archive). The approach was chosen because it allows to consider the social aspects of the municipal development of the area. From ten newspapers emerged themes related to social problems rooting to the arbitrary border between Haaga and Munkkiniemi in the 1920s. In addition, the township development of Haaga caused problems with infrastructure when the inhabitants of Haaga were required to fund the electricity of the area. In addition, there was a vocal discussion about founding a school in Haaga, which was complicated by the entanglement of the times political struggles between the Finnish and the Swedish language. In the diversity/density assignment, I presented a subcultural theory rooted in urbanism by Claude S. Fischer (1973). In this text I propose yet another approach to the development of Haaga. This approach brings forth the voice of Haaga’s inhabitants. However, first a look in our collective work regarding Haaga.

We have all worked hard on different approaches to the development of Haaga. In our work rises several themes. As it is impossible to go through all of them, I will first describe some of the trends I consider focal and continue to some themes related to my own approach of dealing with research of Haaga. The first one is the census development of Haaga, which was one of the most popular of our topics. The population of Haaga grew from less than 5 000 inhabitants to circa 30 000 in 1950–1965. After this, the population has swayed but never been below 25 000. On a (speculative) side note, this reflects the population development of Finland overall. [1] However, as the population growth has stagnated, the building efficiency is in the rise. This is due to the fact that: “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.”

As we all know, the district is also growing towards two “poles” in the north and the south. Some of our assignments had been able to grasp the experiences and thoughts of Haaga’s inhabitants that is also my aim. In these, the distinction between the two areas existed but was not presented unambiguously. According to a message board post the “two Haagas” were completely different when the northern part was built in the 1970s. In this post is stretched questions related to the safety of the area. The inhabitant sees the difference to rise from the rapid construction of northern Haaga, which created a social gulf between the “natives” and the “newcomers”. According to the writer, the areas have been pursed together in the following 30 years. The same dichotomy existed in another assignment that dealt also with online comments about the area. In this post, the inhabitants emphasized that differences – especially in relation social problems – do exist between the two areas. In addition, a pair had made an assignment where they interviewed inhabitants of Haaga. According to them, the locals “seemed to be happy that these areas really form a united neighbourhood. The share of green areas, calm atmosphere and age distribution were founded as the main similarities”.

Kai Wartiainen (1996) has proposed that city planning today works from the needs of construction, not the inhabitants. [2] I propose that in our work for the “Haaga book” we consider the experiences and thoughts of the inhabitants of Haaga. To argument for this approach, I conducted a preliminary questionnaire in the Haagan ilmoitustaulu (Haaga noticeboard) Facebook group. I received 15 comments and one e-mail about what Haaga is for the inhabitants of the district. All in all, the data is 4 sheets. The comments are readable for anyone here: This preliminary questionnaire was made on purpose with as few guiding questions as possible to avoid my influence on the answers. The four questions I presented were “What functions in the area? What does not? What vexes you? What kind of thoughts or wishes you have for the areas future?”

From a qualitative content analysis of the data, the diverge between northern and southern Haaga was present. A majority of the writers start by stating of which part of Haaga they come from. The dominating theme of living in Haaga is nature. Nature was mentioned in all of the writings except for one where the 1950s agriculture was discussed: “When I was a child in the early 1950s, here existed wooden houses/villas, cows and horses”.[3] In this relation, also the joys and sorrows of the neighborhood emerge: Nature is a major part of recreational life and appeal of area. However, the reduction of the amount of nature due to construction and city plans was associated with negative feelings and experienced as harmful for living quality. The local services are received with mixed feelings: A few more mentions about the distance to the nearest grocery store were in the data over the praise of the services’ reachability. Transportation connections of the area were perceived as good. Another major reason for irritation was the change the area has gone through – from the building efficiency point of view – during the last ten years. A theme for “suburban gentrification” emerged also as a disturbance.

For me, it seems like online questionnaires are a good and relatively effective way of producing data that includes the point of view of the inhabitants of Haaga. In practice, the questionnaires could be conducted using the e-survey service of the University of Helsinki: (free of charge!). Of course, methodological and ethical concerns exist. [4] Below are presented pitfalls for online surveys.

Source: Joel R. Evans and Anil Mathur Zarb. The value of online surveys. Internet Research 2005:2. pp. 195-219.

In addition, I propose that the gathering of information is not made on a broad basis but as a supplementary or a focusing addition to another research question. For example, if a group researches or develops the transportation connections of the area, a questionnaire about how the inhabitants experience the existing transportation infrastructure or our proposal, is conducted.

However, I do have several other application ideas. For example, an oral history collection about the development of the area, a questionnaire about who is “haagalainen” – in other words, how and from what things the inhabitants perceive their local identity to be constructed. Or just a questionnaire about the bicycle roads and lanes conducted with bicyclists who live in the area, and who drive through it.

P.S. Other interests: Someone noted the Huopalahti station is now empty – it is not there exists an art/communal space inside of it! Google “Asematila”!! There exists also a “youth service” segment of Helsinki city for the youth of Haaga that could result in interesting research findings!

[1] Haapala 2003, 81.

[2] Wartiainen 1996.

[3] Q1:1.

[4] For ethical concerns see e.g. Buchanan and Hvizdak 2009.

All* of the Studio I posts concerning Haaga in one file


as I compiled this I might as well share it. Here are all* of the posts in concerning Haaga from our earlier course assignments. The assignments made during the excursion have been excluded. In other words, it consists Reconstructing 17th century Haaga, Beyond Wikipedia and the density/diversity assignment.

*The post has been compiled on 15.10.2018 and I didn’t include my own posts to what I consider as a working file…

Here it is:

P.S. 44338 words !

Measuring the unmeasurable: Urbanism, subcultures and diversity

The numbers in the text refer to the two assignments. I’m not totally sure whether this answers better the question about density or diversity; the phenomenon are interwoven in the answer.

1) My background is economic and social history, but my main interest is in youth and subcultures. While the dominating theoretical view on subcultures is the viewpoint developed by the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). In their approach, subcultures and the associated subcultural style is seen as a solution by the working-class youth to the social pressure of upward mobility facing the British society in the 1960s and 1970s. [1] Although over 40 years old, the approach is still so widely spread that it remains as a relevant object of criticism. [2] The main criticism is a construction of a too rigid and narrow concept of subculture that is rooted in social class. [3]

The influence of CCCS has overshadowed other subcultural theories. Developed contemporary to the CCCS, Claude S. Fishcer suggested “a subcultural theory of urbanism” in 1975. While the CCCS approaches subcultures from the point of view of the collective identity of youth groups, Fischer’s approach is more macro-oriented and is based on the influence of urbanization on social life. According to Fischer “there are independent effects of urban size and density” that – simply by the sheer amount of people – create the possibility for unconventional subcultures to grow. [4] As the CCCS, Fischer associates deviant practices as a part of subcultures. However, as the subcultural theory has developed, deviance is not anymore seen to be a part of activities associated with young peoples’ social groupings. [5]

Therefore, Fischer’s approach allows to approach the influence of masses on diversification of social life. Fischer’s theory includes four points that can be summarized as:

  • Population concentration causes distinctive populations through intensification of social processes that lead to diverge ways life; including the temptation of central areas for migrants
  • The larger the population, the greater the structures that support differentiation and intergroup relations that strengthen the differences
  • The larger the population, the bigger the possibility for the adaptation of exponentially differing lifestyles
  • The larger the population, the greater the amount of unconventiality

Therefore, the model is a hermeneutic entity where the different principles strengthen each other. [6]

2) While Fischer discusses the relationship between population size and diversity to a great extent, he does not provide quantitative amounts that could be used in the model to actually somehow “quantify diversity”. However, the keyword of Fishcer is critical mass. The concept is used in other subculture literature. For example, in Nick Crossley’s research on the punk and post-punk worlds in UK reaching critical mass is seen to have multiple different positive effects on the subculture from encouragement to sharing of rehearsal spaces and equipment. [7] However, as an analytical concept it is practical and vague as it is possibly impossible to pinpoint a number, or ratio of population/diversification. On the other hand, it is practical because it is vague. Therefore, the idea of critical mass behind the diversification of urban life is useful mainly as a theoretical tool.



Bennett, Andy. ‘Speaking of Youth Culture’: A Critical Analysis of Contemporary Youth Cultural Practice. In: Woodman D., Bennett A. (eds) Youth Cultures, Transitions, and Generations. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 2015.

Blackman, Shane. Subculture Theory: An Historical and Contemporary Assessment of the Concept for Understanding Deviance. Deviant Behavior 2014:6.

Crossley, Nick. Networks of sound, style and subversion: The punk and post–punk worlds of Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield, 1975–80. Manchester University Press. 2015.

Fischer, Claude S. Toward a Subcultural Theory of Urbanism. American Journal of Sociology 1975:6.

Hoikkala, Tommi & Suurpää, Leena. Finnish Youth Cultural Research and its Relevance to Youth Policy. Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research 2005:3.

Muggleton, David & Weinzierl, Ruper. What is ‘Post-subcultural Studies’ Anyway? In: Muggleton, David & Weinzierl, Ruper (eds.): The Post-subcultures Reader. Berg, Oxford. 2003.

[1] Blackman 2014.

[2] Hoikkala & Suurpää 2005, 290.

[3] Muggleton & Weinzierl 2003, 3-5.

[4] Fischer 1975, 1320.

[5] Bennett 2015.

[6] Fischer 1975, 1324–1330.

[7] Crossley 2015.

Walk the section: Communal life in Myllypuro


As our group kind of dissolved during the trip, I ended up doing the sectioning of Myllypuro on my own. My interests are in urban communities and communal life. From the getgo I was looking for signs of communal life. In addition to the pictures presented in the intersection, the lens of my phone captured communal gardens, common spaces in housing areas and artwork in urban area.

The intersection ended up being a mapping of the first pedestrian “boulevard” we cycled through. As you can see, in the beginning of our trip was located a Neighborhood house (Asukastalo). This was located in the relatively large mall slash housing block. The next communal area in the intersection is the church and a children’s playground. The last communal space is another church that is located at a smaller mall.

As is easy to see from the map, the church and the playground are located in immediate proximity of each other. I argue that this is not a coincidence. Neither is the fact that these two facilities are located relatively in the central of the boulevard that divides the area of Myllypuro. Following the logic, the two malls are located in both ends of the boulevard. However, the church located in the small mall is not an originally planned building but a small sect that has begun to use a vacant space. However, the space used to be a kindergarten. Therefore, it seems like the area has been at one point been planned as to have social, or communal, spaces in the ends and middle of the boulevard. Of course, the area has also developed towards the metro station that opened in 1986.

its all about the sound: anarchist knitting group unveiled

Tried to embed the map and the sound file but seems like its not possible.



Unfortunately, my sound recordings done outside were unsuccessful. The microphone picked up only the gust of wind and the end result is unparalleled noise. However, I did one recording inside of a cafeteria. It is the sound of knitting! In other words, we encountered a group of elderly ladies knitting in a cafeteria in Oulunkylä. With their permission I was allowed to record their knitting sounds. However, it turned out the group is no grannies! The knitting party is the Anarkistimartat, which is an anarchist version of the Housewives’ Association of Finland!

In the clip, in addition of knitting, you can hear obviously the ladies’ conversation. By attentive listening, there is hearable a lot more. Classical music in the background. There’s at least one clink of a coffee cup or something similar in the beginning. When cars pass by, the motor’s roar is hearable also inside. While difficult to pinpoint with certainty, the even hum in the background is probably made by some apparat in the cafeteria (e.g. AC).

Beyond Wikipedia: Haaga in the 1920s – Problems with Borders and Schools

For this week, I approached the development of the Haaga area through historical newspapers. The newspapers were derived from The historic newspaper archive (Historiallinen sanomalehtikirjasto) hosted by the National Archive. A search was conducted with the parameters “Haaga -Haag” to avoid hits about the city in Netherlands. The titles chosen for the search was all titles that refer to Helsinki, Southern Finland, the province of Uusimaa and Finland over all. The timeframe of the archive is from the early 19th century to 31.12.1929. By a general look, most hits are from the period between 1900–1929. All in all, 3126 hits were found. There is “misses” due to persons named Haaga etc.

From the newspapers, ten were chosen by picking newspapers that discuss Haaga, and not only mention in its relation to something – e.g. court cases. With the exception of one newspaper from 1915, “the data” is from 1925–1928. The choosing was also influenced by the length of the article. Longer pieces were preferred over short. The ten articles were read and categorized in Atlas/ti via qualitive content analysis. A few themes in relation to the regional development of Haaga emerged from this surface scratch to the newspaper data.

As we know, the market town of Haaga (Haagan kauppala) was founded in 1923. With its independence several societal problems rose to the surface. As we know from the Joutsiniemi lecture on Monday 01.10.2018 – the Great Helsinki (Suur-Helsinki) plan of Eliel Saarinen (1915–1918) included the Haaga-Munkkivuori district. Based on one newspaper, before the foundation of the market township of Haaga, the two districts were socially grown together. By 1927, this was still causing troubles. (Translation by yours truly, sorry for any inaccuracy.)

“As no municipal border is planned between Haaga and Munkkiniemi and as inhabitants have spread without concern for any municipal border, creating one unified housing area, it cannot be considered acceptable that the area is divided into two municipalities, of which the other in is a township and the other a rural commune and a dense community.” [1]

According to another source, Haaga included the districts of Ruskeasuo and Uusipelto in the beginning of its independency. However, they were merged by a mandatory consolidation to Helsinki in 1926. The reason given was that they were seen to be in a marginal position in relation the Haaga township. Due to this marginal position, the two districts’ inhabitants were compelled to fund the streetlights of the districts by themselves, the health standards of the areas were subpar and social disorder could not be coped with (controlled). [2]

The most prominent theme in the newspapers was the question of building a school in Haaga. According to one source, the Swedish school was located on the border, in Munkkiniemi. The Finnish school was located in two buildings that were split from Huopalahti as the township gained its independency. The Finnish school was insufficient as a building for its purpose.[3] A plan was made for a building that would host both of the schools, but it was resisted by the Swedish party. In 11.06.1929, the construction was late already by two years but no settlement seems to be in the horizon. [4]

As a concluding note, it seems like the historical newspapers could be a good source to understand the social development of the Haaga area. The restriction of the archive utilised now is the periodization, which only reaches the early 20th century. In addition, the newspaper material could be supplemented by history books such as Haagan kauppalan historia (John E. Roos, 1950) and Haagan kauppalanvaltuustolle (Artturi Kannisto, 1926).

[1] Uusi Suomi 26.06.1927, page 8.

[2] Suomen sosiaalidemokraatti 13.05.1927, page 8.

[3] Uusi Suomi 04.02.1926, page 6.

[4] Uusi Suomi 11.06.1929.

reconstruct Haaga (pre 17-th century)

Environmental history is a branch of science that deals with natural landscape and the affect humans have had on it over time. While environmental history is a wide branch of science with varying periodizations from millions of years to short intervals, a typical research project for environmental historians could be to reconstruct the natural environment of a certain location at a certain time. This essay will deal with ways to begin the process of reconstructing the natural landscape of Haaga – a district in Helsinki – before human interaction in the 16th century.

The contemporary Haaga lies in the northern parts of Helsinki and is dived into a northern and southern part. The district was founded in the beginning of the 19th century as a market town. However, Läntinen viertotie, the main road out of Helsinki to the inland has located in the immediate vicinity of the district since the early 1700s. The township was combined to the city of Helsinki in 1946. The historical Haaga consisted of four contemporary districts of Helsinki: Etelä-Haaga, Pohjois-Haaga, Kivihaka and Lassila.

The attempt to understand Haaga’s landscape before the foundation of Läntinen viertotie and intensifying human interaction is a difficult task. However, it is not an impossible one. As Eric W. Sanderson’s Mannahatta project brings forth, human’s have settled in once natural settings by adopting to the existing “infrastructure” provided by the nature. Of course, four hundred years of human intervention, including swift urbanization from the end of the 19th century, has shaped some parts of the “natural Haaga” almost incomprehensible. However, it is actually the aerial picture of Haaga today suggested as the starting point of this process.

The idea is to look at what is in plain sight. In other words, what kind of landscapes still exist that can be presupposed to be relatively equal to the 16th century landscape. In other words, to start to look where is the forests, rock formations, waterways and other such long durée natural phenomenons. This approach owes to Fernand Braudel’s book La Méditerranée et le Monde Méditerranéen à l’Epoque de Philippe II (1949) in which he, to some historians scoff, describes the extremely slowly changing geographical time of Mediterranean with the surrounding  flowery mountain tops.

Of course, mere examination of today won’t allow the researcher to understand what was in Haaga 400 years ago. Therefore the next natural step is to utilize historical methods. Archives are full of maps made by human’s to facilitate land usage and other (usually) economic acts. This means also that the the maps need to be interpreted creatively and by combining different sources to create a coherent picture of the historical task at hand.

A place to start could be the Helsinki city archive. The archive’s material can be accessed through SINETTI-service. According to a search with the parameters “Haaga” and as the period “1600–1800” the earliest map in existence covering the area is from 1765. Three other maps were made in the 1770s. Of course, the Helsinki city archive is just the start of digging through the archives. The historical map archive of Jyväskylä and the National Library and National Archive are the instant follow-up.

Huopalahti area in 1765 (pre-view quality map from the Helsinki city archive.)