Eco-Viikki: a new ecologically-sustainable neighbourhood on the outskirts of Helsinki

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On the outskirts of Helsinki exists a true ecological marvel. Let’s find out more!

Eco-Viikki is a totally eco-friendly residential neighbourhood built on the outskirts of the Finnish capital, close to the university and around a green belt, an important natural reserve of the city. It occupies a space of over 6.400 m2 and contains buildings for residential use, public services and basic necessities (a school, a medical-social center, a hospital), trade services and entertainment.

In the year 2000 the Ministry of the Environment together with the Association of Architects of Helsinki, launched a competition to develop an ecological neighbourhood. The winning project was realized in the form of Eco-Viikki, completed in 2004. The project was financed mainly by the Ministry of the Environment, the National Technology Institute (TEKES) as well as the European Commission as it was included in the European Commission’s priority list of efficient projects.

The neighbourhood was built according to strict criteria of environmental sustainability, established by the City and defined by a specific national program. Eco-Viikki is a neighborhood built to balance energy savings and consumption.

The buildings, primarily small and compact, were built with, non-toxic natural materials (especially wood), and insulated with peat and hay bales. These are non-synthetic, non-polluting materials which are great for walls and floors.

Rainwater is recycled (for domestic use not for consumption), so is the waste. Even the road surfaces were made from waste materials. The heating is geothermal and comes entirely from renewable energy sources (solar panels and from wind turbines), meaning that Eco-Viikki pollutes 20% less than traditionally build neighborhoods. This area gets energy from the largest photovoltaic plant in Finland with solar panels covering an area of more than 1,400 m2.

Eco-Viikki is an experiment tackling both environmental and social problems in modern society. This neighborhood is an ideal place for getting to know other residents thanks to the numerous recreational areas, public green spaces, parks and public gardens. All these spaces are connected exclusively by pedestrian and cycle paths. There are other communal places, such as saunas (wood-fired), and shared laundries, that save energy and bring people together.

Would you want to move to this paradise?

RACHEL

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