Ostari – place to get to know life in Haaga?

Social scientists (Junnilainen, Kortteinen) have told during the lectures that it is a good idea to go to Ostari, the mall, of the area. There you can observe people and real life in neighborhood and get into contact with them.

We visited northern Haaga mall during the field trip and place looked interesting. It looked like it has been there for a long time, there were old trees very near the building, but it has been renovated some time ago. It has many activities, an important everyday service is a grocery store Alepa and it also has some educational activities for free time for adults. We stopped there, but didn’t interview people or look more carefully, but the atmosphere there was not very inviting.

I found more information about it from project report made by Pasi Mäenpää from University of Helsinki. Project was done in 2014 and it was about developing plans and was done in a way that involved many stakeholders to take part.

There was this short introduction:  Mall was built in 1959 and it is one of the oldest in Helsinki. Before it was common to have shops and services at the lower floor of residential buildings, but this was new suburban style in planning. Mall and neighboring residential building is planned by Airi Seikkala-Viertokangas.

Museum authorities in Helsinki municipality have valued the building very high, it is an essential part of the area and is a valuable historic building. There was a conflict between restoring ideas and other developing ideas. The company that manages the building wanted to built a residential house with some shops and tear the building down.

There were also dissatisfaction among Haaga residents and they were very active and insisted that something has to be done. They also were proud that there used to be a place where Hurriganes (very famous finnish rock band in 70’s) had possibility to play and train.

Biggest problems among inhabitants in Haaga was that there are so many pubs, clients are noisy and the environment is  uncomfortable.

In project the group of reseachers made actions to influence this disturbance and also interviewed many stakeholders. They developed the activities together and had public discussions. Important message in the report was that is important that municipal services could get combined and use facilities like this mall. It could be interesting to find out what the situation in the mall is now, 4 years after this improvement project.

2 Replies to “Ostari – place to get to know life in Haaga?”

  1. Hi Sirpa! Thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts. The report you refer to sounds like a great source as a starting point if you would like to investigate further Ostari and its potential for the locals and for Haaga in general. In my postdoc I had the opportunity to conduct research in Toronto. I found out that old malls there were favoured by elders who often kept meetings there. Those malls (I specifically have one in mind) weren’t very busy, offered fewer services, and they were largely quiter. The newer malls were very busy, inclusive to all ages and ethnicities but since they offered many services they were much busier, loud, and hectic. In two malls (one new and one a bit older) at least I remember that youthcentres were incorporated. So authorities saw that since a lot of youth frequented there, why not have a youth centre. In the older mall the story was not so straightforward and in fact youths wanted their own building but at the end they had to compromise. I also heard stories that in poorer areas such community services are more common. So richer kids would need to come to poorer areas if they wanted to use a youth facility. This at first may seem strange but in fact it is not. Poorer areas are traditionally the target of social policy, which at the same time often stigmatises these areas with the benchmarking of the services proposed. However, it has become increasingly obvious that any planning should include communities early on. I witnessed that and it was quite revealing how even local political representatives are instrumental in such processes. The Ostari seems like an interesting case.

    1. Yes, thank you! Very interesting points! I hope we can see your comment tomorrow somehow when we discuss this. I write more about idea to separate post. Someone could do analysis on the income level? Maybe? We have got some data for that in our GIS-course.

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