A New Book by OOPEAA Presents an Urban Toolbox for Developing Sustainable Cities with a Human Scale

The newly published book Vision and Toolbox for the Future Seinäjoki City Center provides a framework for developing the city as a socially sustainable, active and green urban place with a human scale. It is the result of a two-year research process of urban analysis and conceptual development realized by OOPEAA in collaboration with the City of Seinäjoki as the commissioning client and Gehl as an expert on matters of the social dynamics of urban public space. A series of three workshops gave also the citizens of Seinäjoki an opportunity to actively engage in the process.

You can download the book in English HERE

You can download the book in Finnish HERE

The book presents an urban toolbox of architectural tools and strategies for developing our future cities in ways that builds on the current structure of the city, draws from the historical layers of its heritage and adds a contemporary element to it. The goal is to create a socially sustainable city that provides a richly layered and well-balanced environment for future growth. The Vision and Toolbox offers a set of three strategies for interventions focused on activating the city by providing services to its citizens, on creating a coherent urban structure, and on making the city green. While the vision was created to address the needs of the Seinäjoki City Center, the Urban Toolbox offers a set of tools that can be applied to other cities as well.

The urban toolbox contains four sets of urban tools that address different aspects of the city: Urban Form, Urban Surface, Urban Green, and Urban Service. The toolset for Urban Surface focuses on interventions on the surface level of the urban structure in order to offer ways of creating an easy to navigate and pleasant experience of the city. The toolset for Urban Green offers a wide range of ways of introducing an element of green to the city center in order to create a healthy environment. The toolset for Urban Service provides ways of offering a wide range of services to the citizens in order to support well-being and a sense of community to strengthen social sustainability. The toolset for Urban Form focuses on interventions on the level of the built structure in order to create a sense of human scale in the city. These can be achieved by densifying the city structure, adding variation to the design of facades and roof geometry, applying different entrance typologies, and making use of street furniture to activate the street scape. The tools can be combined in multiple ways to create interventions of varying intensity and scale, from light and easy to implement ones to ones that demand more time and planning to execute.

Three case studies provide examples of how the urban tools can be deployed. They also identify potential areas for concentrated design interventions. These case studies are located in areas that also have the potential to connect pockets of dense urban development, activity, and historic importance. Case Study One focuses on the diversity of functions in the urban space. Case Study Two looks at the potential for activiating the city’s historical identity. Case Study Three highlights the possibilities for engaging the street as an active part of the urban social space of the city. Looking at the city with a focus on interventions that can be created with the help of the tools, the vision for future development stays intimately linked with the urban needs of the city and the well-being of its people.

For more information on the Vision for the Future Seinäjoki City Center project, see HERE