Summer at the Market Square of the Helsinki suburb of Malmi will be green and full of activity. Based on last summer’s feedback on the previous oasis trial, activities in the square will be extended to three separate areas on the square. The oases serve as a model for the future renovation of the square and a starting point for Helsinki’s placemaking activities.
The lush oases at the Upper Malmi Market Square will invite people to stay and play. They also serve as venues for small-scale events and workshops. Malmi is a large and vibrant Helsinki suburb a 15-minute train ride away from the city centre.
The first recreational urban green area was constructed at the end of Malmin raitti street already in mid-May, with children from a Malmi daycare centre, Puimuri, planting edible herbs and pollinator-friendly flowers in planter boxes.
Constructed by Helsinki Day on 12 June, the square will also have a dedicated playing area and a coffee place near Kaupparaitti street to enjoy treats from nearby cafés and other local delicacies.
Together with residents
The oasis experiment is part of the City of Helsinki’s first steps in placemaking activities. Placemaking means creating urban spaces in cooperation with the residents and other users.
The Upper Malmi Market Square will undergo a major renewal over the next few years. During the experiment this summer, the views and wishes of the residents and operators in the area will be collected and the use of the square surveyed as basis for the planning.
“Placemaking builds bridges between the residents’ everyday life and long-term city planning. The key is to learn from the experiments and create an attractive urban space together with the residents and other partners,” says Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer at the City of Helsinki.
Experiments support design
The placemaking experiment at the Upper Malmi Market Square, for example, can be used to lightly test ideas in the preliminary plans for the square and gather feedback from the users to be utilised in the actual planning of the renovation to be realised in the next few years.
Various experiments based on placemaking methods are going to be tried out in several locations in the coming years to see which methods and solutions are found functional and positive. Besides the Upper Malmi Market Square activities, an experiment will be carried out in the Lower Malmi park during the summer.
Experiments are also being planned for other suburban regeneration areas, including Kannelmäki and Mellunkylä. Placemaking experiments are also planned in the centre of Helsinki.
The method helps to understand the potential in the regeneration areas, especially from the perspective of the residents and other local actors.
The oases at Malmi Market Square will host many workshops and events during the summer. On the Helsinki Day, 12 June, the implementer of the oases, Parkly, and the City of Helsinki invited residents to test out the oases at the square, offering an opportunity to do street chalk art and receive plant seedlings for Malmi-related ideas.
During the market day on Saturday, 20 August, you can meet the City of Helsinki designers responsible for Malmi’s development at the oases. The programme also includes a poetry kiosk by the Helsinki City Theatre’s local culture project and an electronic beats workshop for young people.
There will also be various workshops for children and young people, art experiences and other events during the summer. Weather permitting, the oasis experiment will end with a closing ceremony on 3 September.
The Lower Malmi Event Park will be organised in the Lower Malmi park, behind the Malmi House cultural centre, from 11 to 21 August, with a programme including music and theatre performances.
Malmi is one of the four suburban regeneration pilot areas in addition to Mellunkylä, Malminkartano-Kannelmäki and Meri-Rastila. Suburban regeneration is a new approach to improving the functionality, attractiveness and appeal of old residential areas.
Read more about suburban regeneration: uuttahelsinkia.fi/en/sustainable-urban-development/suburban-regeneration