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Community planning enables a city structure in which one can move without emissions and live sustainably. In Jyväskylä, the emphasis is on compact infill development.
Pyöräilijä valaistun sillan edessä. Image Maris Grunskis

As motoring still relies heavily on fossil energy, the CO2 emissions caused by it contribute to the accelerated greenhouse effect. On the other hand, the harmful traffic emissions may deteriorate air quality. 

Every city resident can choose how much they move under their own power. Emission-free moving about is promoted with community structure planning too. In Jyväskylä, work is underway to enable city dwellers to find it easy to grab a bike or to walk from place to place.

− A master plan is a city’s overall plan for land use that creates a framework for the direction in which the city starts to grow. Pedestrian and cycling routes as well as public transport are under consideration in the master plan already, the Head of Master Planning Mervi Vallinkoski tells.

In Jyväskylä, the emphasis of newbuilding is on infill development, i.e. on making the extant city structure a more compact one. Most of the new dwellings will be placed close to the services, to the cycling paths, and to the public transport connections that are already there. The objective of Jyväskylä is to have 95% of the new blocks of flats and terraced houses within reach of public transport. 

The Lyseo district as well as the districts of the old Keljo senior citizens’ home and of the old Central Hospital of Central Finland close to the city centre will be among the most significant new construction sites in the years to come. The Kangas district, which has already been built to a large extent, has acted as a sort of laboratory where it has been possible to test a wide variety of solutions in favour of a more sustainable way of life.

− Kangas has been developed as a car-free environment. The district has centralized waste collection and parking systems for instance. Instead of house-specific collection points, waste is taken to a point shared by several houses, which reduces waste truck traffic. As for the cars, they are in a shared parking house.

Children get to go to a nearby daycare centre and school

There were 206 new detached houses built in Jyväskylä last year. Mervi Vallinkoski describes planning as an enabler. For example, the idea is not to exclude installation of solar panels or other smart building solutions.

In the new areas, plots are handed over gradually in order to ensure sufficient capacity in the service network.  The objective is to have enough places for the children and young people in the daycare centres and schools of their residential area so that there will be no need to transport them by car or by bus outside.

Planning can also promote the establishment of non-public services such as shops near the residents.

− The City can provide commercial surveys in support of planning and make the shop sites attractive, but the chains of stores will ultimately decide by themselves where to set up shops.

One main route under close inspection each year

The master plan defines the main cycle routes that will be developed into smooth and fast connections in more detailed planning. 

− Jyväskylä has committed itself to investing €3M each year on the development of cycle routes. With the land use, housing and transport agreement, the state will also support route construction, so the amount will hopefully even double, Mervi Vallinkoski states.

Jyväskylä aims at having a functional cycling network stretching in all directions from the city centre. The connections remain fragmentary for the moment but the routes develop all the time. For example, the main route towards Palokka is mainly in good shape.

− It has been decided in Jyväskylä to draft each year an overall plan for one main route where the measures needed are considered in more detail and where project costs are estimated. 

− The overall planning of the Vaajakoski main route has been completed this year. The planning of the southern route in the direction of Keljonkangas will start before the year’s end.

According to Vallinkoski, increased attention must be paid from now on to making sports sites more accessible by public transport, by bike, or by walking. 

− The football hall to be built in Huhtasuo with good public transport connections from the direction of the city centre is a good example. Likewise, the Hippos area is brilliantly situated as far as accessibility by public transport for instance is concerned.


Pyöräilija oranssilla pohjalla. Image Jyväskylän kaupunki


Text: Pia Tervoja
Image: Maris Grunskis