Marketta Kyttä, an environmental psychologist from the Technical University, now rejigged into Aalto Univrsity, was on the radio this morning. On this blog we have often referred to children’s visible presence in Helsinki – gaggles of school kids of various ages using public transport, primary school kids who know how to negotiate traffic, the cultural conventions of (sweet) shopping and playground etiquette, walking on their own or in groups, gradually learning to inhabit and, hopefully, to enliven their city with their very presence. Well, according to Kyttä’s research (which she has been working on for a good many years, her Doctorate was awarded in 2003), parental paranoia has already meant the beginning of of Finnish kids being confined to cars, timetabled hobbies and, one assumes, consumerism. After all, the new careful, carful city is irrevocably a privatised city.
I asked a taxi driver the other day if there was a post office in Munkkivuori shopping centre. He wasn’t sure. “Taitaavat olla katoavaa kulttuuriperintöä” (“I reckon they’re disappearing cultural heritage”) he said. It does have one. Though finding anything through the piles of snow was a challenge as I wandered around this rather sweet and successful “ostari” or shopping centre.
The phrase “going, going, gone” suggests itself. (spot the helping hand in the 2nd photo).