Urban Lunch Hour

Photo of a seagull catching a piece of bread

Urban Lunch Hour goes online in autumn 2020! 

Welcome to the URBAN LUNCH HOUR!

Urban Lunch Hour is a meeting of urban researchers from multidisciplinary backgrounds. During each session, researchers will get to hear one or two presentations about current urban research from organizing institutions. Presentations and the discussions are mostly held in English. During the presentation, there will be time and possibility for questions and discussion about the impact of research results to the city and society development on a wider scale.

By Urban Lunch Hour, our goal is to gather urban researchers of Helsinki Urban Region together to network and share their expertise and ideas. By these lunch hours, our aim is to increase the fruitful communication between researchers and strengthen peer support among researchers within urban themes and different methods.

Past Urban Lunch Hour seminars

The event is or­gan­ized by:

Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria), Urban Research and Statistics Unit (City of Helsinki) and Aalto Living+ platform (Aalto University).

Autumn 2020 programme: 

15.9. Urban Aesthetics 11.00-12.30 

Join the online seminar here! This seminar is part of the Nordic CityMaking Week programme. 

Research Fellow Sanna Lehtinen (Aalto University): Why do we need to talk about beauty?

Can beauty be defined in the urban context or is it simply a matter of opinion? Contemporary philosophical urban aesthetics studies the aesthetic values embedded in different types of urban environments. This talk shows how beauty is linked to other values in intricate ways, and how it can be an important indicator of wellbeing, sustainability, and social justice.

Leading Specialist Henna Helander (City of Helsinki): Beauty in the City – is there Space for Architecture?

Helsinki is a young and dynamically developing city, which is visible in it in many ways. This talk discusses, whether instead of approaching beauty only in terms of architectural styles, we should pay more attention to how beauty is linked to the quality of living, of which human scale and diversity of architecture are important factors.

20.10. Ageing Cities 12.00-13.30

Join the online seminar here! 

Postdoctoral Researcher Tiina Laatikainen (Aalto University): What is a supportive environment for active ageing?

Our populations are ageing at fast and at the same time our globe is confronting significant health challenges including increases in physical inactivity, obesity, and other non-communicable diseases. Maintaining mobility and physical activity are fundamental factors for healthy ageing, and the physical environment has been linked to various individual health outcomes. Understanding what kinds of environments can support older adults' everyday mobility can help researchers, urban planners and decision-makers find ways to facilitate and motivate older adults to move outdoors and in planning healthy communities. This talk discusses the central role of the physical environment in supporting older adults' everyday health behaviour and the multisectoral nature of everyday health promotion.

Senior Researcher Hanna Ahlgren-Leinvuo (City of Helsinki): Low income and poverty in the ageing population
Living on a low income can drain one’s mental resources. The constant stress of making the ends meet makes everyday life exhausting and creates a sense of insecurity or anxiety about tomorrow – if money is constantly in short supply then unexpected expenses caused by illness or a broken washing machine, for example, may easily collapse a household’s economy. Long-term living on low income can also limit social interaction and make it difficult to have hobbies. Furthermore, many studies have found an association between low income level and various dimensions of social disadvantage (e.g. morbidity, alcohol and substance abuse and mental health problems).
This presentation examines poverty among the elderly population in Helsinki. The material in this presentation consists mostly of Statistics Finland's data. In addition to the statistical data, I will also present some of the main findings of the study ”Poverty and deprivation in the lives of elderly clients of gerontological work”. The study was conducted in the Gerontological Social Work Unit of the City of Helsinki.”


17.11. City and the State 12.00-13.30

Join the online seminar here! 

Professor Sami Moisio (University of Helsinki): The state and urbanization
Director Timo Cantell (City of Helsinki): Urbanization and the City, case Helsinki


15.12. Nighttime cities 12.00-13.30

Docent & Project manager Giacomo Botta (University of Helsinki): Dancing in the Dark: Researching the Helsinki COVID Night

The urban night, in its array of clubs, theatres and restaurants, represents the antidote to the individualized, routinized and anonymous daytime. With music and alcohol as its mains ‘oil in the cogs’, the night brings people together and celebrates sociability in ways, which are unimaginable and sometimes unrequired during daytime. Moreover, there are night jobs, economies and policies that run parallel and often intersect with the urban night as a site for celebration, creating a complex and layered night ecosystem. The on-going pandemic has severely damaged this ecosystem and the various responses, ranging from summer outdoor raves to yökahvilat, show how unpredictable the future of the night might be.

University teacher Michail Galanakis (Aalto University): Dark Nightlife: are you wary too?

The publicness of urban public spaces is often jeopardised by exclusion. One of the main mechanisms of exclusion is constituted by our fears of becoming vulnerable, exposed to the unpredictability of public life. A main inducer of such fears is "darkness". The fear of darkness is a condition linked to instincts of survival that can freeze some and embrave others. Is then bringing light into the darkness, the best way to create lively and all-inclusive urban nightlife? Let's just talk about it, shall we? 


Commentator: Night liaison Salla Vallius (City of Helsinki) 

For more information, please contact:

University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria)
Iiris Koivulehto, Coordinator in Communications and Society Relations
+358(0)40 564 9886, iiris.koivulehto@helsinki.fi

City of Helsinki, Urban Research and Statistics
Heidi Taskinen, Special Advisor
+358 (0)9 310 36297, heidi.taskinen@hel.fi