Infill development in growing urban areas: experiences in Finnish housing companies and perspectives of owner-occupiers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Continuing urbanization and calls for sustainable urban development have led to increasing urgency to housing intensification in growing metropolitan areas worldwide. Despite potential benefits, intensification policies face many regulatory, financial, policy and social barriers. In addition, the property ownership structure complicates intensification in many urban areas in which the property ownership is often organized through different apartment ownership systems. Collective decision-making of owners is required in order to infill. The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the knowledge about the possibilities of infill development on sites owned by housing companies, the Finnish version of apartment ownership. The research is limited to infill development involving construction of a new residential apartment building(s) on a site of a housing company. The dissertation focuses on the factors that support and facilitate the process within the housing company and the implications of the collective decision-making on the infill possibilities, the main focus being on the latter. To address the aim, a mixed method approach was applied. The empirical research includes a multiple-case study, qualitative content analysis of semi-structured theme interviews and a survey-instrument. Three main factors that support and facilitate infill development were identified: 1) the role of the public sector and its policies, 2) the need to use professional help and advice during the infill process, and 3) the necessary preconditions for the collective decision-making. The findings on preconditions for collective decision-making relatedly show, firstly, that the perceived disadvantages of infill development are unevenly distributed among the shareholders, especially due to the location of the infill development on the plot and its consequences, such as loss of views from windows. This challenge should be addressed in relation to possible devaluation of the apartments in question. Furthermore, an improved comprehension of non-monetary considerations of owner-occupiers could support the infill process. In addition, there is a need to establish mechanisms to balance the uneven distribution of perceived disadvantages among the shareholders. Secondly, the implications concern governance practices and procedures related to the infill process that are often informal but affect the process. These practices should be developed further, allowing also better shareholder inclusion in the process. This thesis contributes to the academic research on infill development, as well as on the implications of apartment ownership structures on densification possibilities. The dissertation provides empirical findings from an institutional setting that has received less attention in the literature. This thesis contributes to the evidence base of this research area by concentrating on the views and experiences of owner-occupiers and the people managing the decision-making process. In addition to academic contribution, this thesis has several policy and practical implications to be utilized in Finland.
Translated title of the contributionTäydennysrakentaminen kasvavilla kaupunkialueilla: kokemuksia suomalaisissa asunto-osakeyhtiöissä ja asukasosakkaiden näkökulmia
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Viitanen, Kauko, Supervising Professor
  • Falkenbach, Heidi, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8898-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8899-0
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • infill development
  • housing company
  • collective decision-making
  • owner-occupiers

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