Conflicting relationship between green and urban: the new master plan 2016 of Helsinki, Finland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Green structure and its multiple benefits are
widely recognized, but at the same its position
is questioned in accelerating urban densification
process. This research analyses the conflicts
between green structure and urbanism in the
new master plan 2016 of Helsinki (Finland). The
study is based on master planning documents
and an analysis of the development of the green
structure planning in Helsinki.

Helsinki, as many other metropolitan areas,
is rapidly expanding. The current focus on
infill development has a major effect on green
structure network and leads to new planning
strategies of urban green. This new approach
indicates a clear paradigm shift in planning
and poses several challenges to existing green
structure. Examples of these growth-oriented
strategies are objectives stressing coherent
city instead of coherent green structure, quality
instead of quantity, development instead of
preservation and urban character instead of
nature-based values. The strategies reveal a
detrimental polarisation between urban and
green and a one-sided concept of urbanism
where the values of green areas are not fully

This research paper discusses the described
paradigm shift and values attached to it. It
presents two topical case studies in the master
plan 2016 for deeper narrative analysis: the infill
development plans of Central Park of Helsinki
and the infill project of a protected cultural
landscape in northern Helsinki. As a background,
the historical development of green structure
planning in Helsinki is reviewed, in addition to the
design objectives of the previous master plans.

The paper emphasizes that the role of the green
structure needs to be redefined in the urban
densification context and new tools must be
developed to promote sustainable development.
Concurrently, the multiple values of green areas
need to be cherished as an integral part of the
urban environment and the concept of urbanism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECLAS Conference 2017 Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationCreation/Reaction/
EditorsDuncan Goodwin, Benz Kotzen, Ed Wall, Tim Waterman
PublisherUniversity of Greenwich, London
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9935909-6-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventECLAS Conference: Creation/Reaction - University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 201713 Sep 2017


ConferenceECLAS Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • green structure
  • master plan
  • Helsinki
  • urbanism


Dive into the research topics of 'Conflicting relationship between green and urban: the new master plan 2016 of Helsinki, Finland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this