First USP book published

This book takes the reader to the themes studied in Urban Challenge Studio 1, a course by the Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning in Autumn 2017.

Combining the students work to commentaries by professors and teachers across a multitude of disciplines, the book provides a stimulating and interesting commentary on urban identities. The book is a result of a great amount of work by the USP community, which we are very proud of. We hope you enjoy it, too.

Fore­word of the book

by Anssi Joutsiniemi, Matti Kortteinen, Hannu Linkola, Kristin Swan, Mari Vaattovaara

This book is the first product of the Master’s Program Urban Studies and Planning (USP) that started in autumn 2017 as a joint programme of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The theme of the first studio course was “Confusing Suburban Identities.” It followed the main goal of the Program – an attempt to combine the perspectives of both research and planning.

So far, Finland has been one of the few developed nations in which the education of experts in urban studies and urban planning has been arranged separately. This has caused difficulties in mutual communication and understanding the concrete challenges in urban renewal. The USP Program was created to overcome this problem, i.e. to bring together the expertise of research and planning.

The lack of common ground has been acknowledged both on the fields of research and city administration, and as a result, a well-functioning network of cooperation has been created within the programme. The base of this cooperation has been set up by the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, and the major cities of the Helsinki Region – Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa – have enriched the Program with a strong presence of their representatives. From an academic perspective, the base of the Program is exceptionally wide. It reaches from social, humanistic and environmental studies to architecture, real estate, planning and landscape expertise. The different challenges that inevitably emerge from this multitude of perspectives have been overcome without complications due to the common enthusiasm.

We are all accustomed to discussions on multi-, inter- or transdisciplinary initiatives, but this Program is a more ambitious project: we are trying to link the expertise of science (trying to find out what pertains at present, on the basis of empirical analysis) to that of planning (trying to develop a better future with an objective in view). We aim at practical approach that responses to concrete challenges. Our aim is to educate people who can do profound research and people who can plan, but who are – at the same time – able to understand each other. It would be great to transmit the challenges of planning into research, and to integrate the results of the research into planning practices. If the problem of integration is approached from this perspective, instead of using the Occam’s razor principle, the endeavor is refined with a sense of purpose.

USP Studio Publication 1
Confused Suburban Identities : A Case Study of Helsinki Region

Editors: Anssi Joutsiniemi, Hannu Linkola, Mia Puttonen, Kristin Swan, Mari Vaattovaara
Publisher: Urban Studies and Planning / Master’s Programme of Urban Academy in Helsinki
Layout design: Natalia Vladykina

ISSN 2489-8007 (print)
ISBN 978-951-51-4193-4 (print)
ISBN 978-951-51-4194-1 (PDF)

Painotalo Plus Digital Oy
Lahti 2018