Helsinki aspires to be a design-oriented city. Design has long been important in Finland, but following on from early work on open data and a series of national and local design initiatives, Helsinki was the World Design Capital in 2012. Subsequently it has been awarded City of Design status in 2014 as part of the Creative Cities Network established by Unesco.
Using an approach that is both collaborative and practical, Helsinki uses design as a strategic tool to improve city life (i.e. to develop a more human centric city), by exploiting the added value of design in customer/user orientation and empathy, engagement and co-design, development through experimentation, visualisation and concretisation. The Helsinki City Strategy Programme 2013-2016 involves design from three different perspectives: (1) in how to become a competitive city; (2) as a tool to reinvent public services; and (3) as a way to enhance the competitive edge of companies operating in Helsinki.
To learn more, please download: International cities: case studies – Helsinki