The changing position of housing estate neighbourhoods in the Helsinki metropolitan area

Johanna Lilius*, Jukka Hirvonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper addresses the under-researched phenomena of investments in the private rental markets in disadvantaged suburbs in Finland. Despite the application of a social-mixing policy in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the Nordic welfare model, suburban housing estate neighbourhoods built in the 1960s and 1970s have experienced a socioeconomic decline since the 1990s. According to several recent large surveys, housing estate neighbourhoods represent the least popular housing environments among Finns. Nevertheless, as the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is currently facing rapid population growth, these neighbourhoods have now become the target for heavy infill development, and ambitious city-led regeneration plans. Simultaneously, housing investment has become an opportunity in Finland for both national and, increasingly, also international real-estate investment companies, as well as for private households. We explore the resurge to invest in housing estate neighbourhoods through two case studies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Using statistics and interviews with policymakers and institutional real-estate investors, as well as a review of policy documents as our data, we show the variegated ways in which the marketization and financialization of housing and urban renewal policies change the social geography of housing estates in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Financialization
  • Helsinki metropolitan area
  • Housing policy
  • Real-estate investment
  • Segregation
  • Social mix


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