Sunset in Helsinki.

Third Helsinki Symposium focuses on transformation of cities

The Helsinki Symposium activates the debate about urban policy and the role and significance of cities in solving the greatest challenges of our time. The third Helsinki Symposium focuses on the role of the cities amidst the transformation, both from the domestic and the international perspective and challenges its participants to discuss the prowess and capabilities of the cities in building our post-pandemic society. The Helsinki Symposium is arranged as a virtual event, open to the invited guests and all interested parties on 24 March, 13:00–16:00.

This year, the theme of the Helsinki Symposium is “Cities 2.0”, or the transformation of cities. Previously by invitation only, this year’s iteration has been expanded into an open seminar, which can be viewed live on the Helsinki Channel. The event will also see the release of an urban policy publication on the transformation of the cities, which comprises eleven articles written by urban researchers. The publication is available at

The event is divided into two segments, of which the latter is aimed at both the domestic and the international audience. The early afternoon segment in Finnish starts at 13:00 and it is alternately moderated by Suvi Auvinen and Saska Saarikoski, whose guests are author-philosopher Pontus Purokuru and CEO Katja Lindroos from Urban Practice, and journalist Senja Larsen and entrepreneur, equity investor Jyri Engeström.

The international segment, which starts at 14:30, will feature a speech by Mayor Jan Vapaavuori as well addresses by four speakers, HSBC Group Advisor and Chair of the Board at Connected Places Catapult Greg Clark, founding principal of Resilient Cities Catalyst Michael Berkowitz, founder of SecDev Group and Igarapé Institute Robert Muggah and Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

Importance of cities in solving global challenges increases

The cities are increasingly playing a key role when the world looks for solutions to global challenges. Examples can be found in energy production, smart traffic, inequality and migration.

The cities have a connection to the everyday lives of their residents and they are in general more pragmatic and agile than states. This is why cities are often better equipped to lead transformations in critical areas of society.

The Helsinki Symposium reflects on the future of the cities and on how the societal problems caused by the pandemic, and the recovery from it, have changed the tools, roles and position of urban areas.

Live broadcast on the Helsinki channel on 24 March, 13:00–16:00.

Watch here: Helsinki Symposium - Kaupungit 2.0 | Helsinki Symposium - Cities 2.0

Duration of the international segment 14:20–16:00.

Check out the entire programme:  Helsinki Symposium 2021

To participate in the discussion, use the hashtag: #helsinkisymposium