This paper was presented at the IPENZ Transportation Group 2018 conference, Queenstown, New Zealand, 21 – 23 March 2018
Imagine a city where you can meet your every day-to-day needs within your own neighbourhood. Your home is in a place that is safe and attractive. You can walk and cycle to schools, shops, cafes and jobs. In less than a block, you can get their hair cut or go to the dentist. You can meet your friends at many nearby places and it’s easy for you to move around your neighbourhood, or to travel further.
This city of your imagination has frequent, comfortable and safe transport facilities and services are available on neighbourhood roads: bike lanes, trams, buses, taxis etc. You can also drive a car to and from your home, but you don’t have to own a car. Your neighbourhood is vibrant and there is an urban buzz that keeps the economy moving.
The City of Helsinki hasn’t just imagined it. They have built it. The land use pattern and transport solutions are like you have imagined in Helsinki inner city. Growth in Helsinki, i.e. urban densification, is constrained by the current disconnect between transport and land use. The city planners have identified an opportunity to promote growth through copying the inner city structure of today and expanding it along current arterial motorway-like roads. This includes also changing these arterials into typical city streets that are surrounded with buildings. These streets are called city boulevards.