Cities of the future will be built on values

Jalmari verkkosivu

Studying urban studies and planning at the University of Helsinki has provided Jalmari Sarla with new perspectives on urban planning and the building of future cities. The studies have helped him to comprehend the complexity of the world.

Urban planning is trending both in media and everyday discussions. Urban studies have opened Jalmari's eyes to the current debate and taught him to evaluate it critically.

“I have come to understand that the various concepts used in the debate, such as urban density, biodiversity and urbanism, are not as unambiguous as you would think,” says Jalmari. “In order to be able to understand phenomena, you need to evaluate concepts critically.”

According to Jalmari, urban planning is always political. Planning of a well-functioning city requires researched information and expertise. Research helps in understanding the effects urban planning has in the lives of people.

“I want to understand the complexity in these topics. Planning is always in one way or another political. It is always about making choices that will have to be justified in some way. Good urban planning is based on researched knowledge.”

Multidisciplinarity enriches thinking

Jalmari applied to the University of Helsinki attracted by its good reputation and high-quality teaching.

“We have amazing experts lecturing here. It has been fantastic to get to hear their argumentation sometimes even in more intimate circumstances than mass lectures. Students can genuinely interact with lecturers and receive practically-oriented information from them.”

The varied backgrounds of both students and teachers enrich the University as a whole.

“The strong suit of my studies is their versatility and multidisciplinary nature as well as the fact that professors and students with backgrounds in different disciplines are brought together to debate these issues. It forces all parties to critically evaluate even their own actions. Students in our programme have a strong team spirit and we have become friends very effortlessly. This is due to everyone being truly excited about the topic.”

Right choices require correct information  

Political decision-making is always based on values. Jalmari's studies have not only opened a window to the world of urban planning but also helped him to understand his own values. The most important values in urban planning for Jalmari are a human focus, equality and environmental friendliness.

“Cities must be planned in terms of both people and natural environment so that we can combat climate change and prevent some people from falling by the wayside and ending up in poverty. Cities must be open, interesting and well-functioning environments to all. ”

In the future, Jalmari sees himself as impacting urban planning in one way or another.

“Studying here has made me understand how expansive the whole field of urban studies is, and you can never be certain what your own role in it will be some time in the future. It has become very clear that you can never step outside these difficult questions. No matter what you are engaged in, you always have to make choices of some sort.”                    

Apply to the University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is one of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world. Our teaching is based on research conducted in an international environment. Together we seek solutions to global problems.

One of the many study options at the University of Helsinki is the Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning. A good basis for the Master's programme is provided by studies, for example, in ecology, history, cultural studies, geography, social sciences or economics.

Explore all our programmes in the degree finder.

Find out about admissions at the University of Helsinki and keep updated by signing up for the Admissions Newsletter.


Building future cities based on val­ues

Studying at the University of Helsinki has provided Jalmari Sarla with new perspectives on urban planning and the building of future cities. He was attracted to the University of Helsinki by its good reputation and high-quality teaching.