World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 brought people and science together

Helsinki's term as the design capital of the world has been successful for the University of Helsinki in several ways. All through the year, the Think Corner, the new Helsinki University Main Library and other meeting places have offered people new perspectives on the university.

World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 brought people and science together

The University of Helsinki participated in the project under the theme "Designing Society through Thinking", focusing on design as a people-oriented way of solving challenges through teaching and research.

"Our approach to overcoming challenges in society was reflected in the projects we carried out during the year. The Engaging Learning Environment at Siltavuorenpenger shapes the future of learning. Our Green Roofs in Urban Areas research programme helps cities become more sustainable. The Think Corner and the new main library generate new community-centred learning oases," says Ira Leväaho, Project Manager of WDC Helsinki 2012 at the University of Helsinki.

Since its opening in September, the new Helsinki University Main Library at Kaisa House has attracted about 500,000 visitors. The Think Corner has also served to introduce people to the university. More than 700 presentations related to various fields of science have already been given at the Think Corner, which is visited by 300 to 500 people each day. The feedback has been ample and positive.

"The first nine months have proved that the Think Corner is a welcome addition to the city scene. The university is now a more active part of the city centre than before. In addition, our partners have been delightfully active in participating in the Think Corner’s operations," Leväaho says.

The WDC Helsinki 2012 project has laid a foundation for new partnerships and enhanced the university's impact on society. According to Leväaho, a project of such magnitude would have been impossible without extensive cooperation across sectors.

"Our partners and the entire university community have played a significant role in making the year a success. They were enthusiastic about the project from the very beginning. The year is nearing its end, but the project will continue to have positive effects over the long term," Leväaho says.

Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson is also pleased.

"The year brought us a great deal of positive visibility," he says.

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Text: Karin Hannukainen
Photo: Ari Aalto
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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