Helsinki is in a period just like it was 100 years ago. Hmm, that would have been when Helsingfors guys like Bertel Jung and Eliel Saarinen, the architect-planners, and Julius Tallberg, the businessman with visions, were dreaming up ambitious, crazy stuff, and designing slightly less crazy stuff that many of us take for granted today.
Just like then, there’s a lot of future-talk again in Helsinki: we will have so and so many thousand new homes; so and so many square metres of office space; so and so much retail space. Numbers, numbers, numbers…
But of course, we must also have soul, ideas and flamboyant ambition (not forgetting innovation, creativity or design, but then again, how could one?)
But in the 21st century a city plan starts with the public. “The public”, it appears, has to have something “concrete” too. Architectural drawings are too difficult, so that means providing fun in 3D, something you can touch. Here’s an example from Helsinki’s “future new centre”, Jätkäsaari.
Helsinki’s public was once again invited to come and see what Jussi Pajunen (mayor) has in store for it. It was admittedly lovely to see an architectural model (even nicer than the computer-animation on the wall nearby). But you can’t help thinking that these not-quite-legos are not quite what planning is really about.
After all, much of what makes Helsinki the magical place it (still) is, is thanks to the work of Saarinen and Jung and their contemporaries 100 years ago. We mean the stuff they were allowed to build as opposed to the crazy stuff they came up with that they were not allowed to build. Can’t help thinking they had no children’s play-area or even “New Helsinki info-area” to inspire them.
Wonder what did inspire them.