Helsinki is once again smothered in darkness. It is November, after all, a month whose Finnish name carries traces of the word “death” (a hunch corroborated by wiktionary).
Silly schemes for extracting financial value out of filling in the city’s breathing spaces with mediocre junk, continue to grace headlines. Shopping centres in the burbs, shopping centres in “town”, road schemes, helicopter pads (sufficiently far from residential areas, you’ll be pleased to hear), luxury developments on the waterside, cheaper developments on the waterside, hotels and sports stadia, crimes against local forests (once again it’s time to write to your councillor about Meri-Rastila) etc. etc.
Justice, activists in Helsinki are saying, is eluding them. (But will they really rise up and protest, that is the question.)
Could this be because so many Helsinki planners and developers appear to be in thrall to New York City? (Or just money? Ed.) Many certainly appear to think Helsinki’s role model should be New York City. You know, not Madison Square Garden but er… that Helsinki Garden.
A great city, New York, despite the way its soul – in the shape of the spaces that make real life possible – is being shredded by the life-shy super-rich (Michael Sorkin’s account is to be recommended). Although super-storm Sandy may have changed the world, we hope New York’s confidence and can-do mentality will not be permanently affected by it.
But one thing is certain. The idea of Helsinki copying New York urban planning solutions, whether old or young, is, well, it’s pants.
As pants as this building spotted in a Daily M**l story about China. Which really is pants!