Licentiate of Social Sciences and Urban Researcher Hanna Harris has been chosen for the position of chief design officer at the City of Helsinki. There were 50 applicants to the job. Harris will start her job on 9 March. She will transfer to the City of Helsinki from her current position as director at Archinfo Finland.
City of Helsinki’s new Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris is specialised in making architecture and design visible, and making use of the opportunities they present in society. Previously, Harris has worked as programme director for Helsinki Design Week and the Finnish Institute in London.
Design and architecture are essential contributors to the international competitiveness of Helsinki. They also have a significant role in the Helsinki City Strategy.
'A comprehensive understanding of design creates conditions for both a functioning everyday life and for solving global challenges. At the same time, we are giving residents and visitors service experiences of a good city. Appointing a new chief design officer strongly supports our vision to be the Most Functional City in the World', Mayor Jan Vapaavuori states.
In 2016, the City of Helsinki was the first city in the world to hire a chief design officer. The City will continue consolidating its international profile as a design metropolis in the future. Part of the new chief design officer’s task is to emphasise the perspective of urban development.
'It is a great honour to get to further strengthen Helsinki’s profile as a design city. My job is to help the City identify how design and architecture can bring added value in the development of our city. Based on this, my goal is to create wide-ranging cooperation and to work effectively to build an even better Helsinki', Hanna Harris says.
The chief design officer position is a 4-year fixed-term assignment. Within the City organisation, the chief design officer will be located in the Urban Environment Division.
'By appointing a chief design officer, we are strengthening positive, urban city development. The chief design officer can, for instance, advance our know-how in Placemaking and the use of service design in the City organisation', Executive Director of the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division Mikko Aho states.
The City of Helsinki is an internationally recognised pioneer in the utilisation of design. Helsinki is a leading City of Design, which has made design one of its strategic choices. Since our designation and year as World Design Capital 2012, followed by the UNESCO City of Design title in 2014, Helsinki has systematically developed the design capabilities and capacity of the City organisation. By combining design with digitalisation and dialogue, we create the best urban user experience in the most functional city in the world.
Photo: Sakari Röyskö