Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria) is the first academic multi-disciplinary urban research unit in Finland. Our aim is to cultivate internationally high quality research and education as well as improve the societal impact of our experts and their research.
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Our main duty is to offer academic knowledge to the complex challenges and problems by the global urbanization development. The education in urban and regional studies at the University of Helsinki is ran by the multidisciplinary Urban Studies and Planning Programme. We bring togerter people, expertise and ideas from various disciplines and faculties. In addition to the collaboration within the academic worls, we work for the the stronger dialogue with the stakeholders and general public. The Institute is part the Urban Academy strategic collaboration and focuses particularty closely to the city collaboration in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

The Institute inclused four faculties: the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty on Biologial and Environmental Science. 

The Urbaria Institute is a part of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences HELSUS, that tackles sustainability transformations with interndisciplinary research and education. The HELSUS research focuses on four themes: sustainable urban, consumption and production, artic and theoretichal and methodological development.

Read more about our activities

The Helsinki Insitute of Urban and Regional Studies:

  1. Collects and develops multidisciplinary urban and regional research within academia and with key stakeholders 
  2. Strengthens the city collaboration especially with the city of Helsinki
  3. Plans and develops science communications and public engagement and encourages and trains researchers to do so
Institute Management

Mari Vaattovaara is a Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies. 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 on projects related to accessibility, creative and knowledge industries as well as to the competitiveness of urban regions. In addition to the academic research, Mari Vaattovaara is a requested discussant in the public forums.

Juri Mykkänen acts as a Deputy Director of the Urbaria Institute. Mykkänen works as a senior university lecturer in political science. He has been a member of Urbaria’s steering board since 2018 and deputy director since May 2019. In terms of research foci, he is omnivorous, but specifically, he is interested in political institutions, political communication, social theory, research methods, and cultural analysis of the economy.

Liaison manager

Mikko Posti works as a Liaison Manager at the Urbaria Institute. He is in charge of coordinating the research network, Urbaria seminars and events, stakeholder management as well as planning and executing projects in communications and societal impact. 

You can contact Mikko on all issues related to urban studies! 

Contact details:

Phone: +358 50 471 6334  

Urbaria Steering Board

Urbaria Steering board advances urban research and societal interaction in the university of Helsinki and nationally. It supports Urbaria director in steering the institute. The board decides on the activities, finances and staffing of the institute as well as supervises the quality control, reporting, communications and other relevant activities of the institute.


Chair of the Board

Vice Rector Kai Nordlund

Faculty of Science

Dean Sasu Tarkoma (Vice Dean Samuli Siltanen)
Vice Dean Sami Moisio (Professor Tuuli Toivonen)

Fac­ulty of So­cial Sciences

Vice Dean Timo Kaartinen (Vice Dean Jari Eloranta)
Senior University Lecturer Juri Mykkänen (Assistant Professor Veikko Eranti)

Fac­ulty of Biological and Environ­mental Sciences

Vice Dean Atte Korhola (Professor Sirkku Juhola)
Professor Ian MacGregor Fors (University Lecturer Johan Kotze)

Fac­ulty of Arts

Vice Dean Mikko Saikku (Vice Dean Minna Palander-Collin)
Professor Laura Kolbe (University Lecturer Terhi Ainiala)