Of campuses and lateral buses

Protagonist: What a wonderful privilege it must be to study in such a beautiful setting as Alvar Aalto’s Otaniemi campus, built to house the technical university in the 1960s.

Narrator: The one in Espoo, you mean, nestling in the shadows of the Nokia headquarters?

Nokia by Roo Reynolds on flickr

Nokia by Roo Reynolds on flickr

P: Kind of. Only you’ve got the geography wrong and the history wrong.

N: As ever.

P: Well, it happened in a different order. The technical university, of Helsinki by the way, not Espoo…

N: Which is just a suburb of Helsinki surely.

P: Gawd, don’t let my cousins hear you say that. It may look like a wood interspersed with half-empty motorway but officially it’s Finland’s second city.

N: Population-wise, I take it.

P: Exactly. But yes, it’s to Helsinki what New Jersey is to New York City. But let me get back to the campus I was talking about. It was built to house the budding engineers of this engineer-obsessed country in what was then pretty far from the town centre. But hey, the same principle of campus architecture had already had a good few decades of success in North America and even becoming fashionable in the UK and continental Europe so it’s not surprising it was planned and, of course, built. It was only later that Neste, the oil company, arrived and later still that Nokia arrived. Now the area along the waterfront is being filled up with even more offshoots of university-industry synergies. Well, throw in government too while we’re at it since they’re supporting all this building with above-average amounts of public support.

N: And does this bother you?

P: Hm. Not particularly. Why do you ask?

N: Merely because so much does.

P: Do you want me to tell you about this place or not?! As it turns out, I’ve got to go now. Must go have a sauna on an island in the middle of Helsinki on public land reserved decades ago for hard-working Finns. Or something like that. See ya.

N: You didn’t get to the bus.

P: No. Gotta go get a tram. But this bus is so interesting there’s a wikipedia page dedicated to it, http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jokeri-linja

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One response to “Of campuses and lateral buses

  1. Pingback: Arabia-on-Viikki Bay « Jees Helsinki Jees

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