Get a grasp of (your) Haaga

After the mid-term break the studio work took a direction towards a planning synthesis. First step is to zoom in to the elements of your solution: get concrete, get physical, get into details…

If you are following research track in your work, prepare material that makes obvious to rest of the group what data you are operating with, how you are going to get it and what do you expect to find. If you are doing interviews of survey, have questions prepared and rough idea how the work is done. If you are following design track prepare material that explains from which elements you plan/design is made of and what is your main goal to achieve.

Prepare the material in any way you like: do a blogpost, make a short ppt-presentation, bring pile of sketches …. We will start the day by putting your target area in a map in order to get idea of the overall coverage/boundary of your work and to see potential overlapping themes. (There will be a separate document in student page where you can start adding your site specific information already before Friday)

Task for the mid-term 19.10.

The USP group has now worked five weeks exploring varying and potentially conflicting aspects and interests in the surroundings of Haaga. At this point there is plenty of interesting starting points but even the boundary of the study area has remained uncertain, so we are in right track. Now it seems like the right time for more targeted questions and answers.

A bold statement by Kai Wartiainen concerning present day planning is that city planning has shifted in reverse mode – working increasingly from the needs of construction industry towards the needs of inhabitants (Wartiainen 1996). This is not by any means a Finnish phenomenon. The problem of the so-called comprehensive-rational planning has also been recognised elsewhere. Rem Koolhaas (2002) even calls the product of modern planning junkspace – a residue that the mankind leaves on the planet.

Therefore, in contrast to traditional general planning, which starts from (often not so talented) estimation of future population, our task is to find truly interesting development trends and matching solutions. Keeping in mind that your own objective is only one voice in the debate exploring the future of Haaga. In this first semester course, we are not looking for one-size-fits-all solutions, but trying to tease out your personal interests in planning and uncertainty.


Based on your own perspective, describe in a blogpost (max 1000 words), the most important development threads and how you would approach them. Read the blogposts written by your peers and outline the area of interest that you would like to explore more either by deepening the analyses, or seeking transferable and robust solutions. Root your observations in local, national. and global context. If needed, use additional references to focus your research/planning question more precisely.

The text is meant to be your subjective interpretation of research/planning questions that can be answered within a course framework. The overall “plan” outlined in the publication of this course will be the amalgamation of supporting and conflicting perspectives for the future. You don’t have to claim solving all problems of mankind, but find a corner in our uncertain future that can be approached in an academic, argumentative manner.

Bear in mind that in the local context of Haaga, sustainability, or any other generic aim for that matter, cannot be a target on its own. Despite the fact that for instance sustainability must remain an inevitable ethical tailboard for any contemporary urban planning activity.

We’ll discuss your texts on Friday morning (19.10) and we will do the preliminary work outlining the joined publication.

Kai Wartiainen (1996). Helsingin kauneuden logiikat. Kulttuurisesti moniulotteinen kaupunkirakenne. Helsingin kaupungin tietokeskuksen keskustelualoitteita.
Koolhaas, Rem (2002). “Junkspace”, October, vol 100. Obsolescence, MIT Press. 

Magical mix

This week’s exercise continues from last week, so each of you should complete either this or the “Measuring unmeasurable” exercise. The ‘trans-‘ catchword of the week is transaction, which I have borrowed from the seminal article of Nobel laureate Roland Coase (1937). In his paper “The Nature of the Firm“, Coase stated that the essence of any firm is to minimize transaction costs. Later this has been suggested to cover (mutatis mutandis) all partnerships and organizations. Go figure…

In principle, diversity “counts” the variation of observed items in a container. In comparison to density, diversity quantifies some other qualitative features than just volume. It is not only about size, but about characteristics. What are the important transactions that people look for? What is the range of different things in specific locations?

Like density analysis, diversity is not a single measurement but a family of measurements. It is a measure of heterogeneity and is found in many variations across disciplines. For example even the measures of entropy in statistical mechanics, or information theory, are sheer measures of diversity. An important aspect when talking about urban,  is the kind and diversity of choices that we have for daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal transactions.


This week’s task is twofold:

  1. From your own study line or disciplinary perspective, figure out what is the feature of diversity relevant to good/bad urban environment?
  2. How can it be measured and/or articulated further?  How can the results of these analyses be explained? <IF NO ANSWER, GO BACK TO QUESTION 1.>

Write a short (around 500 word) blogpost in your site (post category: usp-304-studio-i). Intertwine your short discussion into Haaga and other coursework from the USP study week on Economics.

Measuring unmeasurable

This week’s exercise is built around dynamics of urban form. Models of present day cities and city regions do not follow the logic of concentric zoning around urban core, but instead represent more complex patterns of accessibility. The ‘trans-‘ catchword of the week is thus transport, although we are not interested of the short term fluxes, but the uneven distribution of urban activities that it creates.

In principle level, density is a trivial concept with only two unknown variables – it quantifies entities per reference area. Therefore it is difficult to use static local measure to describe the ever enlarging opportunities people have to interact with their surroundings. Despite this (not-so-minor) assumptions that all density analyses contain, they still remain basic tool kit of urban analyses.

Density analysis is not a single measurement, but rather a family of measurements that  quantify important features in relevant spatial container. This said, weekly task is twofold:

1) From your own study line or disciplinary perspective, figure out what is the feature of density relevant to good/bad urban environment?

2) How can it be measured and/or articulated further?  How can the results of these analyses be explained? <IF NO ANSWER, GO BACK TO QUESTION 1.>

Task: Write a short (around 500 word) blogpost in your site (post category: usp-304-studio-i). Intertwine your short discussion into Haaga and other coursework from earlier this week.

Beyond Wikipedia

Exercise of Week 39

This exercise is the continuation of the week 38 task. The ‘trans-‘ catchword for the week is “transition”. The aim of this weeks blogpost is to explore the growth of Haaga settlement during the past century or two. In order to avoid repeating what others have already done, the individual challenge is to find documents from which you can extract information that you consider important for Haaga’s past and present development.

HowTo: Visit archive, read a book, ask your teacher, interview locals, make cross comparisons with documents your peers have found – anything but rely on the first document you find in the internet.

Task: Write your reflection on the weekly lectures, GIS exercises or the discussions in studio, in the form of a blogpost (500 words or so) where you present your own insight to the development of Haaga.

To let others know what you are working on, start your blogpost early by identifying a document you found interesting. Write also few first observations, but finalize the post only after Friday’s discussions.

Reconstruct Haaga (pre 17-th century)

Exercise of Week 38

Several intellectual disciplines position nature against culture creating a strict dichotomy or at least features lying opposite ends of axis. Urban planning has a historical baggage to do the same, although recent theories reach actively beyond this dualism. The aim of exercise it to trace the natural elements from Haaga from the time before urban processes got the dominant role over the ones that preceded them. Thus the ‘trans-‘ catchword for this week is “transparency”.

Earlier this week Eric Sanderson lectured on his research entitled “Mannahatta”. In similar way this Reconstruct Haaga exercise encourages student to think what Haaga was like, before the human-led processes took over , say four centuries ago. Perspective of the work how ever can be chosen freely to reflect students interest and background.

Task: Write a blogpost (500 words or so) reflecting the weekly lectures, GIS exercises or the discussions in studio give your own insight to weekly theme in Haaga surroundings.


Topics: Knowledge – Synchronisation – Awareness – Aesthetics – Composition – Duality – Integration – Memories – Feelings
Duration: 20 min
Format: Individual work
Product: Landscape format photo to be uploaded on the student blog + max 1/2 A4 page narrative
How to: …ask your student fellow to take an image of you… be precise with the setting of yourself in the surrounding…no selfie
Where: choose the place according to your personal reaction with an unknown area – should be done during Thursday …upload the photo including title latest by Thursday evening on the student blog
Presentation: Discussion of the photo and narrative 5.10.2018 time t.b.a


Topics: Inhabitants – Infrastructure – Nature – Urban – Terrain Vague – Periphery – Materials
Duration: 30 min
Format: Pairs
Product: 30 sec sound clip and map the sound on a map
How to: …use your phone to record the sound….put the location of your sound on a map and write down the sound source…back at school use a sound software to compose the sound-files to a 30 sec sound clip. Sound clip, as well as map with indication of sound sources will be discussed during the presentation.
Where: between Lunch and check-in
Presentation: 5.10.2018 time t.b.a


Topics: Scale – Dimension – Materials – Smell – Sound – Urban – Terrain Vague – Periphery – Landmarks – Geology
Duration: 30 min
Format: Group work (max 4 students)
Product: Collage of a section sketch with photos of material samples, descriptions of findings…including precise measures according to your own measurement system
How to: …collect the material on site, make sketches, take measures… put the material together during the evening…produce the collage within the next weeks
Where: before lunch!
Presentation: 5.10.2018 time t.b.a