29/9/17 ‘People-Driven City’ Seminar – in English

  • 27.9.2017


‘People-Driven City’ 29/9/17

  • Location: University of Helsinki main hall
  • Time: 10–18 (TBC)
  • Languages: Finnish (morning) & English (afternoon)
  • Tickets: 145€, Early Bird until 15/8 85€ (VAT incl.) via Eventbrite
  • Students, nonprofits and city activists may apply for a sponsored ticket 55€ (VAT incl.) by contacting the organisers: info(at)lahiofest.fi
  • Would you like to volunteer? A limited amount of free tickets are reserved for volunteers who help with the arrangements of the seminar and the festival events. Want to know more? Contact us: info(at)lahiofest.fi
  • Follow: Facebook ‘People-Driven City’

Lue seminaarista suomeksi!

This is the programme of ‘People-Driven City’ 2017. The programme of the 2019 edition coming up soon!


9:00–10:00 registration and coffee

I PART 10:00–13:15 – in Finnish

– opening remarks by Katja Lindroos, Producer, Lähiöfest2017

Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki

Discussion: Matti Apunen, Director, EVA, Pasi Kuoppamäki, Chief Economist, Danske Bank, Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki
– moderated by Mikko Numminen, Journalist

Mari Vaattovaara, Professor, University of Helsinki

Discussion: Erkki Heikkinen, CEO, Kiinteistömaailma, Katja Soini, Design Director, Vahanen-yhtiöt, Jaakko Särelä, Principal Consultant, Reaktor
– moderated by Reetta Räty, Journalist

Discussion: Aram Aflatuni, Co-Founder, Gutsy, Emilia Palonen, Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki, Pauliina Seppälä, Founder, Yhteismaa, Olli Sirén, CEO, Miltton Creative
– moderated by Susani Mahadura & Yagmur Özberkan, Journalists

lunch approx. at 13:15 *

II PART 14:15–18:00 – in English

Egbert Fransen, Director, Pakhuis de Zwijger

Case Studies & Discussion: Philippe Castaing, Chief Curator, MakeShift, Simon van Dommelen, Director, LOLA, Jaanus Juss, Director, Telliskivi Creative City
– moderated by Hanna Harris, Director, Archinfo Finland & Tuomas Toivonen, Architect, NOW Office

Madeleine Nobs, Business Developer, NCC Building

coffee break 20 min., approx. 16:30

Xander Vermeulen Windsant, Architect, XVW architectuur

Kees Christiaanse, Urban Planner & Architect, KCAP


*not included, see organisers’ tips for locations near the venue

The organiser reserves rights to changes in the programme and the schedule.


Interested in how to develop cities and neighbourhoods in a human-centric way?

Lähiöfest2017, or Festival for neighbourhoods, is a festival about the city and what unites it. Lähiöfest2017 puts emphasis on areas of the city in the midst of change. With this festival we look to inspire broader discussion and thus we invite all to share thoughts and experiences in its first international seminar.

The seminar ‘People-Driven City’ brings together experts and activists involved in projects that combine placemaking and city planning, entrepreneurship and community work.


Helsinki City Plan, Boulevard Visualisation

The seminar presents different intiatives that represent both grassroots work and more traditional structures. We look how and where ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ initiatives can meet. What creates value and identity in a place? What kind of new catalyst roles could the civil servants and research institutes such as universities and larger entreprises take? How does social entrepreneurship work in neighbourhoods? What can we learn from other cities and each others’ experiences?


© Marcel van der Burg

The seminar organizers are happy to invite some of the most prominent city planners, researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators from the cities of Amsterdam, London, Rotterdam, Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki. They will share their insights on large scale city planning, renovation and renewal of existing neighbourhoods, social entrepreneurship, placemaking, inclusiveness and sustainability.



Ms. Anni Sinnemäki is the Deputy Mayor for the City of Helsinki, leading the new sector of City Planning and Real Estate in one the fastest growing capitals in Europe. Mr. Kees Christiaanse from KCAP is widely recognised as one of the leading figures in city planning. Mr. Xander Vermeulen Windsant is the winner of this year’s E.U. Mies van der Rohe Prize for his project DeFlat with NL Architects. Ms. Madeleine Nobs from NCC shares the learnings of case Fittja in Stockholm that brought the company Nordic Built Challenge Prize in 2013. Mr. Egbert Fransen directs Pakhuis de Zwijger, a leading hub and catalyst for discussion and innovation concerning cities and creative businesses. Ms. Mari Vaattovaara is the Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Helsinki and an active participant in societal debate concerning urbanism.



In addition to our keynote speakers, we will have in-depth conversations about how urbanisation drives economy, what helps to increase value in areas, and how to renew neighbourhoods in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way. The participants of these discussions include Mr. Pasi Kuoppamäki from Danske Bank, Mr. Erkki Heikkinen from Kiinteistömaailma, Ms. Katja Soini from Vahanen and Mr. Jaakko Särelä from Reaktor. The seminar will also present some of the most interesting and inspiring recent initiatives from European cities: among them PopBrixton, Lola Lik, Telliskivi Creative City, Yhteismaa, Restaurant Day, and many more.


Restaurant Day / Tuomas Sarparanta

We are honoured to have such a prestigious lineup, and are looking forward to an inspiring day! We are also happy to hear all suggestions or comments concerning the programme and themes. We can be contacted by e-mail: info(at)lahiofest.fi, or on Facebook: @lahiofest2017

Keynote Speakers

Anni Sinnemäki

Kuva: Pertti Nisonen

Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment, City of Helsinki (FI)

In December 2014 Anni Sinnemäki was appointed as the Deputy Mayor for the City of Helsinki, responsible for City Planning and Real Estate. Since June 2017 she is in charge of Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division, which includes City Planning and Real Estate.

She was Member of Parliament for 15 years, representing The Green League of Finland (1999 – 2015). Ms. Sinnemäki was Member in the Council of State as Minister of Labour from 2009 to 2011 i.e. 2 years. She has been Member of the City Council since 2005.

She has published two collections of poems ‘Sokeana hetkenä’ (2003) and ‘Aleksis Kiven katu’ (2009) and she also wrote lyrics for albums by Ultra Bra group.

Ms. Sinnemäki holds a degree from The University of Helsinki,2001, Faculty of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, her main subject was Russian literature.

Ms. Anni Sinnemäki is married to Mr. Anton Monti and she has two children; Siiri 27 years and Rufus, 5 years.

Ms. Anni Sinnemäki will give her keynote in Finnish during the first half of the seminar.

Kees Christiaanse

© R. Broekhuijsen

Urban planner & Architect, Future Cities Laboratory Programme Leader, founder and partner of KCAP (NL)

Kees Christiaanse studied architecture and urban planning at TU Delft. In 1980 he joined the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and was appointed partner in 1983. In 1989 he founded his own company, now KCAP Architects&Planners, in Rotterdam. In 1990 he co-founded ASTOC Architects and Planners in Cologne and was partner until 2002.

Kees focuses in his work on urban assignments in complex situations and on guiding of urban processes. He is an expert in the development of university campuses and in the revitalisation of former industrial, railway and harbour areas and is a supervisor of several international urban developments.

Throughout his career Kees has always combined teaching and research with his professional work within KCAP, which has generated fruitful cross-fertilisations. From 1996 until 2003 he held a professorship for architecture and urban planning at the Technical University of Berlin, since 2003 he has been chair of the Urban Planning Institute of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. In 2013, he was appointed Chairperson of the External Advisory Board of the Architecture and Design Department of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

In 2009, Kees was curator of the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) with the title “Open City. Designing Coexistence”. Since 2010 he has been involved in the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) in Singapore. Kees Christiaanse is author of a multitude of books and essays about architecture and urban planning and was awarded with the lifetime honour ‘2016 RIBA International Fellowship’ for his particular contribution to architecture.

Mr Kees Christiaanse is invited to the seminar by Aalto University.

Xander Vermeulen Windsant

Architect and founder of XVW architectuur (NL)

Xander Vermeulen Windsant is principal architect and director of XVW architectuur. Xander studied at Delft University of Technology from 1999 to 2004 and graduated with Honours. After working with one of the leading architecture offices in Amsterdam, he established XVW architectuur in 2010 in order to independently address a new agenda for architecture emerging in the ongoing economic crisis.

Since starting his office he worked on a range of predominantly residential projects, both private and collective. In the collective housing projects collaboration with the future inhabitants is a key aspect of the development process. In 2017, one of these projects, Kleiburg, was named the winner of the EU prize for Contemporary Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017 (designed in collaboration with NL Architects).

He has been a visiting critic at the Faculty of Architecture, Delft university of Technology. He regularly writes for Dutch Online Architecture platform Archined.nl.

Mr. Xander Vermeulen Windsant is invited to the seminar by Architecture Information Centre Finland.

Madeleine Nobs

Photo: NCC

Business Developer, Sustainable Business, NCC Building (SWE)

Madeleine Nobs (SWE) has a background in architecture and works at construction company NCC. In the seminar Madeleine will talk about NCC’s Fittja People’s Palace suburb development project, in which extensive residential refurbishment was done in a sustainable and economical way, taking into consideration also the people in the area. Fittja People’s Palace won the Nordic Built Challenge competition in Sweden in 2013.

Ms. Madeleine Nobs will join the seminar courtesy of Lähiöfest2017 cooperation partner NCC.

Egbert Fransen

Photo: Michiel Goudswaard

Director at Pakhuis de Zwijger (NL)

Egbert Fransen is Director of the Pakhuis de Zwijger. He was cultural intendant of the EU2016 Arts & Design programme Europe by People, and initiator of the Amsterdam based sustainable, temporary FabCity, member of the Rotterdam Council for Arts and Culture, member of the board of directors for Appelsap Fresh Music Festival, a member of the Urban Agenda Think Tank, and a member of  Innovation Relay 2016, and publisher of the magazine New Amsterdam / New Europe – Cities in Transition.

Pakhuis de Zwijger celebrates its tenth birthday. It started with a dream, sprung from Cultuurfabriek and the directorship of Over het IJ Festival almost 20 years ago, which became reality in 2006 at the southern part of the IJ-bank – at that time a bare plain with old warehouses far away from the city centre. A major challenge to start a successful cultural enterprise, to say the least. Transformed by architect André van Stigt, today the former refrigerated warehouse functions as a debate centre of the 21st century, putting dialogue before debate and connection before opposition. It stimulates collaboration towards a livable city, puts urgent matters on the agenda, linking them to the creative industry. It is about integrating, connecting domains and disciplines, sharing knowledge and experiences, and designing and imagineering the future of everyday living.

Mr. Egbert Fransen is invited to the seminar by Embassy of the Netherlands in Finland.

Mari Vaattovaara

Professor of Urban Geography, University of Helsinki (FI)

Mari Vaattovaara, Ph.D., is Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Helsinki. She was also nominated to be the Vice Dean in the Faculty of Science, responsible for external relations starting the year 2014. Her research interests relate to the social and spatial developments in urban areas, segregation, immigration, housing preferences, and housing choice as well as to the housing policy. In addition she has been working in the projects related to accessibility, creative and knowledge industries as well as to the competitiveness of urban regions. She has close to 80 publications in these fields. One of the latest publications with her colleagues from Norface –Nodes project was the most downloaded publication in 2013 in a high impact journal in Finland.

She has broad experience in doctoral training, as she has been the Chair and Vice Chair of nationwide multidisciplinary doctoral programmes of Housing Change as well as the Doctoral Programme of the Built Environment. Beginning this year she has been nominated to be the member of the board of one of the four doctoral schools at the University of Helsinki.

In addition to the academic research Mari Vaattovaara is a requested discussant in the public forums. She has over hundred appearances in the national media. She is also a member of the supervisory board of the Mortage Society of Finland Group, the only expert organization specializing in home financing and housing in Finland. She was awarded the prestigious Snellman Award from the University of Helsinki in 2013. The award is given for meritorious work in disseminating academic and scientific knowledge. In selecting the award winner, special attention will be given to work that has considerably promoted the public’s recognition of the research carried out at and the main goals of the university.

Ms. Mari Vaattovaara will give her keynote in Finnish during the first half of the seminar.

Case Studies & Discussions

The seminar wants to create opportunities for sharing and learning and thus will have several moderated discussions.

Philippe Castaing

Chief curator and connector at MakeShift (UK/FR)

Serial social entrepreneur, Philippe Castaing has been running businesses in London’s hospitality and retail world for the last 20 years. An alumni of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, Philippe applies his passion for enterprise into developing local communities.

He is Makeshift chief curator and connector, leading their charge to understand and develop communities. Philippe is a regular speaker at conferences and events.

Simon van Dommelen

© Hapé Smeele

Initiator & director, LOLA (NL)

Simon van Dommelen is initiator, advisor and mediator of social and cultural projects in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is director of LOLA, a coalition of social organizations that find alternative temporary destinations for vacant property in Amsterdam. LOLA is turning these locations into spaces for inspiration and connection.

The most recent project out of six buildings is Lola Lik, a former prison where refugees are being connected with Amsterdam networks and boost their integration. Besides, Simon is founder of the Noorderpark Trust, a social enterprise and community project within a public park.

Finally he is participating in various management and advisory boards in the cultural sector. Simon has a background as a cultural scientist and urban developer.

Mr. Simon van Dommelen is invited to the seminar in collaboration with Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux.

Jaanus Juss

Founder and CEO of Telliskivi Creative City (EE)

Jaanus Juss is the founder and CEO of Telliskivi Creative City, an award-winning development that serves as a community platform for the creative industry in Tallinn, Estonia. Once a derelict Soviet-era industrial complex, Telliskivi has been converted into a vibrant hub for 250 companies and 1,000 people in ten buildings.

Jaanus took a curator’s approach to tenant selection, providing deep discounts to small tenants in creative industries and balancing that with enlightened companies from more traditional sectors. Encouraging active cultural participation among tenants and the local community, Jaanus mixes business and culture without compromise. It has proven to be a sustainable and profitable model that is already being applied to new projects under way.

Jaanus is also the Managing Partner at Arcis Real Estate which focuses on co-investment opportunities in the Baltic property markets through hands-on asset management. Prior to founding Telliskivi Creative City, Jaanus served as COO at Eastern Europe Real Estate Investment Fund.

Mr. Jaanus Juss is invited to the seminar in collaboration with Estonian Embassy in Helsinki.

Case Studies & Discussions (in Finnish)

Pauliina Seppälä

Entrepreneur, activist and founder of Yhteismaa (FI)


Erkki Heikkinen

CEO, Kiinteistömaailma Oy (FI)

Katja Soini

Design Director, Vahanen (FI)

Pasi Kuoppamäki

Chief Economist, Danske Bank (FI)

Matti Apunen

Director, EVA (FI)

Emilia Palonen

Senior Lecturer, University of Helsinki, PhD (Essex)

Olli Sirén

CEO, Miltton Creative, urban activist

Jaakko Särelä

Principal Consultant / Senior Data Scientist, Reaktor (FI)

Aram Aflatuni

Journalist, Producer, Activist / Co-Founder in Gutsy (FI)


Hanna Harris

Photo: Niklas Mäkelä

Director, Architecture Information Centre Finland (FI)

Hanna Harris is a curator, producer and researcher with more than 15 years of international experience in leadership and curatorial roles in the arts. Her education is in urban studies, design, new media and art. Since 2016, she is Director of Archinfo Finland, an organisation whose aim is to increase general awareness of architecture and urban design, to strengthen their impact within society and to promote Finnish architecture and urban design at home and abroad.

Prior to joining Archinfo, she served as Programme Director of Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival in the Nordic region as well as having set up and launched its all-year-round online media platform, the Helsinki Design Weekly. From 2008 to 20013 Harris directed the Arts & Culture Programme at The Finnish Institute in London where she conceived and produced a series of critically acclaimed design and architecture commissions. Previously Harris has held curatorial and production roles for various festivals and in television.

Since 2005, she has worked as an urban researcher at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University and abroad at the universities of Cambridge, Westminster, Milano-Bicocca and Sorbonne. Harris is finalising her PhD in Urban Studies and regularly lectures and publishes widely across the arts and academia.

Tuomas Toivonen

Architect (FI)

Tuomas Toivonen is an architect working in Helsinki. He has been involved in designing buildings, urban spaces, objects, sounds and images. He has taught architecture theory and design. He has been writing, talking and singing about the city – on paper, on air and on records. Currently, the primary concerns of his practice revolve around housing; affordability, alternative ownership and development models.

Moderators (Discussions in Finnish)

Mikko Numminen

Journalist (FI)

Reetta Räty

Journalist, entrepreneur (FI)

Susani Mahadura & Yagmur Özberkan

Journalists, radio hosts

Opening remarks

Katja Lindroos

Producer, Lähiöfest2017 (FI)


Main Partners: Danske Bank, Kiinteistömaailma

Content Partners: Aalto University, Urban Academy, Architecture Information Centre Finland, AaltoPRO, NCC , Caisa

Thanks: Embassy of the Netherlands in Finland, Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, Estonian Embassy in Helsinki

Tickets: via Eventbrite

The organisers reserve rights to changes.