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Inclusion sparks conversation between stakeholders

NCC Property Development brings various stakeholder groups together to participate in preliminary project planning. The company is constantly testing new ways to gather user insight, ideas and wishes. Eelis Rytkönen, Marjo Totro and Markus Pahikkala were present at the library of Sello Shopping Centre during the Lähiöfest urban placemaking week, collecting the residents’ ideas and wishes for the services they were missing in Hatsinanpuisto, Leppävaara district of Espoo. The open workshop sparked a lively conversation with the local residents of different ages.

Restaurants, a dog park, sports facilities…these, and many other services were high on the wish list of Leppävaara residents for the Hatsinanpuisto area.

NCC’s “placemaking hippie” Eelis Rytkönen wrapped up the feedback using post-it notes attached to the different service sectors and saving the data in the Menti.com web service. “This was our first experiment on an open workshop with the local residents,” says Rytkönen, the man behind the idea.

“We are used to holding workshops with other stakeholder groups such as the future tenants and real estate agents. The residents’ opinions are collected also on forms at residential gatherings,” Marjo Totro of NCC Property Development, Marketing continues.

Ideas and feedback gathered through applications

We Land is our office project in Ruoholahti. For this project we are using CHAOS Crowd, an application which anybody visiting the area can download on their mobile phone and tell us what they are missing in the environment,” NCC Project Director Pirkka Pikkarainen explains.

NCC is also taking steps to improve interaction in the buildings’ operation phase.

“Urban Sense by NCC is an application which is still in the conceptual planning phase. It will be made available for the public as a means to connect with the building, local service providers and each other. The purpose is to enhance the user experience,” Pikkarainen says.

Students, residents and customers to participate in the planning

“We have given a lot of thought to different ways of engaging people in the preliminary project development,” Rytkönen says. “Many different aspects must be covered to create an equally attractive urban milieu for all when we want to consider the varying demands and the unique character of the area in the planning. This requires co-operation between the residents, customers, students and the city government officials.”

“The planning work could be fitted into the curriculum of civil engineering students, so that they would earn credits for it and the work could end up as part of the implementation design as well,” Rytkönen proposes.

At Property Development Sales, a continuous daily dialogue is maintained with the customers. “We listen carefully to their demands. We bring up fresh ideas, also those from abroad,” Teemu Rämö who is in charge of NCC Property Development Sales describes the activity.

The City of Espoo appreciates early inclusion of the residents

The company works in close co-operation with the city authorities, and the City of Espoo likewise supports good interaction between builders and the City.

“Inclusive urban planning practices are still being tested, and there are no guidelines as yet for them. Inclusive interaction should be focused on the earliest possible planning stage,” confirms Project Director of Leppävaara Area Mika Rantala from the City of Espoo.

Rantala who was listening to the opinions of Leppävaara residents at the Espoo Live event regarded the new generation operating method represented by NCC’s Rytkönen as a dynamic and fresh approach.