Author: Arja Lukin, Project Director, Airport City Aviapolis
20 Jul 2017
While the skies have dominated the way people travel and conduct business for decades, airports are typically some distance from residential and corporate hubs. However, as new centres emerge, a wave of vibrant business and residential destinations is growing up around airports, creating locations where the whole world can be easily reached.
One such place is Aviapolis at Helsinki Airport in Finland. The airport was constructed in 1952 for the Olympics, and in the years since it has developed into an attractive business area, due to its rail, road and air connections. The ease of access it provides to Europe, Asia, and the wider world has seen it become a destination of choice for businesses.
As Aviapolis is on course to become one of the world’s foremost international business hubs, a master plan for the city is ensuring it follows a template that is smart, connected and green. The aim is to ensure the area provides a bright future for those who live and work there.
As well as transport, Aviapolis offers a wealth of locations suited for a variety of uses with the full support of local government and stakeholders
Location, location, location
The location offers a stable and modern environment for the growing number of businesses deciding to call Aviapolis home. As we evolve into an ecosystem where businesses want to be located close to each other in order to utilise, for example, shared spaces, equipment or energy sources, new kinds of business models will open up. The workplaces of the future will be built in Aviapolis.
Over 1,800 enterprises have already moved in, supporting a workforce of 35,000 people. While the majority of businesses directly support the airport, a growing number of service industries have also established a presence. International companies are also signing up, supporting approximately a third of all jobs in the area.
As well as transport, Aviapolis offers a wealth of locations suited for a variety of uses with the full support of local government and stakeholders, thanks to the master plan governing the development’s future. One such focus of the plan is making sure Aviapolis’ workforce is fully supported with intelligent urban design. High-quality and appropriately scaled routes to meet walking, cycling and public transport needs will be created. What’s more, smart parking design will also reduce traffic in the area.
With this coordinated planning methodology, Aviapolis is transforming into a smart and clean airport city, avoiding the common issues that surround many other airport developments. Improved communication and networking between an airport and its surrounding region will enable the success of airport cities in the future. This approach has made sure the area only suffers a limited impact from the sounds of the airport, and ensures flight paths are not over populated areas.
This is all alongside the development of Helsinki Airport itself, which sees more than 17 million passengers pass through annually. Ongoing development projects at the airport have seen it emerge as a major connection between Asia and Europe.
Work life balance
As well as employment, Aviapolis is also becoming a huge residential location. Boasting impressive housing density and a wealth of jobs, the overall master plan will also foster a modern city lifestyle for residents. Furthermore, as the whole region transforms, an international design competition is shaping the future of the area. The Aviapolis Urban Blocks competition received 49 entries offering innovative solutions to designing a 15.6 hectare area. The winner will be announced in autumn 2017.
Overall, this complete planning approach will ensure business and residential areas will grow in harmony with one another. Aviapolis is unique among evolving airport areas; it is being built as a vibrant city, where work, living, services and recreation are combined in an urban way.