Lahti 2025 – Environmental City






Cycling is popular 2014

Mobility The City has invested in the promotion of cycling. A genuine awareness of the needs of cyclists has been taken carefully into account in the design of the City centre. The network of bike paths has been established by painting clearly marked cycling routes onto the carriageways. The bike routes radiate from the City centre into different directions, and the cyclists using them are given the right of way at motor vehicle intersections. The safety of all users is improved when bikers and walkers are separated by lanes, and when driving speeds are reduced in the centre and in residential areas. More of the proven-popular covered bike garages are built in the City centre and on access routes.

Many businesses and educational institutions follow the example of Lahti University of Applied Sciences and offer their employees and customers shared bikes. Regularly arranged cycling events are highly popular and the people of Lahti eagerly await the traditional Spring Cycling event. Electrically-assisted bicycles have become a new fad, by which people are able to comfortably travel long distances while enjoying the outdoors – and even the hilly terrain of Salpausselkä. More than ever before, families travel with cargo bikes or multi-seated bikes, which also have rain covers. Strong indications suggest that the cycling targets will be met, and by 2016, every fifth journey will be made by bicycle!

Building associations as laboratories for resource-smart living 2014

Housing and energy Pioneering building associations around the Lahti Region have tested the new forms of energy and resource-smart lifestyles through various pilot schemes. The housing complexes experiment with household-specific energy advice, the communal use of tools, equipment and toys, as well as through neighbour help based on the principle of time banking. Several building associations have added to their sense of community and comfort by establishing vegetable gardens in their yards, or by acquiring agricultural boxes. Some even have their own chickens and compost. Rooftop garden projects are particularly popular. A few associations try testing out the communal use of bicycles and cars, as well as shared errand services. The active building associations participate in national restaurant and cleaning days by organising events and open door days. Pilot housing complexes can be identified through the fluttering Green City banner attached to the flagpoles.

Building associations carry out experiments in cooperation with city authorities, associations and companies. These associations and companies help residents in setting up the experiments – for instance, Lahden Talot has a variety of ongoing experiments going on in various locations. Pilot associations have challenged both big and small housing complexes to join in – the most successful experiments are rewarded and the best practices are applied to neighboring houses and to other areas.

Pioneer Cleantech markets in Lahti 2015

Environmental expertise and business Lahti residents are proud of the Cleantech expertise in their area, and the City is involved in supporting the emergence of pioneer markets throughout the creation of strong internal markets. The City authorities implemented a trial of a new sustainable public procurement sourcing platform, which allows for better dialogue between City residents, businesses and the public authorities before the issuance of purchasing requests. The City residents and City employees can use the platform to communicate the necessity for particular types of purchases. The City authorities, in turn, use the platform to communicate regarding future acquisitions. Through the platform, businesses can see the needs and can develop and offer alternatives, so that the solutions offered are local, distinctive and tailored to better meet the needs of the City. The opportunity for the local testing of concepts provides a good basis for further developments in export markets. Cleantech solutions are featured prominently on the platform, for example, in the renovated City hospital that is set for completion in 2016. The platform also enables large group acquisitions and increased competitive bidding. The first to be put up for tender was a solar power group purchase, which involved City authorities, private individuals, housing associations and companies. In the next step, investors and large businesses will be invited to join, through which the benefits of crowd funding for citizens’ initiatives and start-up companies will be gained.

Pedestrian-friendly City centre is created together 2015

Mobility The transformation of Lahti’s city centre into a pedestrian-friendly zone poses a big challenge. How is a relaxing and enjoyable city centre to be created? The City welcomes all interested residents to take part in both the planning and the realisation of the pedestrian centre plan, which takes the form of a joint initiative. Throughout 2014 and 2015, the City has organized numerous public co-creation events. The activities of the product development panel ‘Lahed D’ have expanded, and a design and ideas competition for the public has been organized regarding the development of the City centre. Planners, policy makers, residents, businesses, property owners and various user groups have all brainstormed their visions of a dream downtown. Further inspiration for this conversation comes through the fact that these events are organized on the spot, in Lahti downtown. The joint planning initiative is continued on the ‘minunlahti.fi’ forum and on social media sites. Thanks to the co-design nature of the project, everyone – including young people, students, families with children and senior citizens – get to be involved in creating the new City centre. The result is a versatile, comfortable, colorful and communal new walking centre: a lively meeting place that strengthens the pride of Lahti residents in their home town.

Residential areas are important places for having an impact 2016

Housing and energy Residential areas are no longer intended merely for living purposes, but have also become places to do work and to spend free-time and holidays. Within a few years, the successful housing complex experiments have been replicated in city blocks and private homes. Residents have begun to take the initiative to organise activities and services within their areas. Open residential spaces are bustling with activity straight from the early morning. Books, sporting equipment and other items are available for loan at borrowing points at the local shopping centres. The food cooperative has expanded into other areas. A range of groups have found each other through the internet, and have then developed communal services to better serve their needs. The City has further enabled open cooperation by founding a new operating system, through which the 300 city-owned properties have been made more accessible for use during evenings, weekends and holiday periods.

This increased activity of residents has made the Neighbourhood Trustees and their Official Trustees busy, and the importance of these Trustees as messengers has grown. The effects of the increased activity in the residential areas are seen in the diversity of services and in the rising values of the areas. People choose to live in particular areas depending on which type of activities those areas have to offer. For example, craftsmen and designers will value city blocks which offer workshop and storage space, in the same way as comfortable office spaces will be an important trait that is looked for by teleworkers. Families with children live in ‘family apartment houses’ with private outdoor areas. Apartments have their own outdoor areas, and a space for gardening can be rented nearby. Schools, hobbies and peer support services are all available within a short distance.

Lahti is a forerunner of sharing economy 2018

Environmental expertise and business An active group of people developing sustainable service businesses has emerged in Lahti. This “third wave” of Cleantech draws from the new markets that have arisen out of diminishing resource trends, the rise of energy prices and the growing interest of individuals in sustainable lifestyles. Already two years ago, existing companies began to develop their products to meet this growing demand and to think of new services to add to the existing ones: the hardware store now offers energy advice to households, the grocery store offers meal planning and delivery services, and home decor businesses offer home organising services.

A positive experience with the new services has made space for entrepreneurs of an entirely new type. In fact, Lahti has gained a national reputation for being a pioneer region for new service businesses and the sharing economy – a region in which the testing of new services is easy. Experiments in the sharing economy began as pilots in 2015. In the beginning, the City gave space in educational buildings up for rent at an hourly rate. The experiment was successful and was extended to other areas: the City put up all available facilities for community and business use. Similarly, carsharing and peer rentals quickly found willing testers and a growing market. Lahti Port already has a number of peer-rentable boats. New and old entrepreneurs meet regularly and work closely together in cooperation with LADEC and other groups.

Finland’s most convenient public transport 2018

Mobility The use of public transport in Lahti is easy, comfortable and affordable. The new travel centre combines the various modes of transport – trains, buses, personal cars and bikes – into a smoothly functioning whole. Both the daily use and the occasional use of transport are made more convenient, because tickets for the different modes of transport and for different municipalities do not have to be purchased separately anymore. Thanks to the smart ticketing system, people can travel on the same ticket to the various towns in the Lahti region, in the capital city and in a number of other cities. Mastonet WLAN functions fully on buses and at bus stops. Switching from one bus to another is convenient, due to the real-time information available for transfers, both on the buses and at stops. Well-designed locations for transfer stops speed the connections. Furthermore, groups with particular needs are supported through discount tickets and free trips.

Under the new contract period in 2020, public transport will also attract users through new services, such as summoned taxis, which serve at off peak times. Higher oil prices and stricter emissions standards for cities drive transport operators more than ever towards the use of electric buses and locally produced biofuels. Thanks to the compact public transport system, more households are able to get by with a single car, or no personal vehicle at all.

New buildings produce more energy than they consume 2020

Housing and energy Rising energy prices accelerate action towards a way of curbing the energy consumption of buildings. Since 2019, all new buildings have been so-called zero-energy buildings, which produce at least as much energy as they consume. Designers, builders and developers have all taken part in the zero-energy efforts. New technology related to zero-energy homes has been successfully developed in Lahti Region’s Cleantech companies, and furthermore, this expertise is increasingly exported. Such new technology enables energy-efficient homes to be constructed with material efficiency. A new sphere of business activity has developed around zero-energy construction efforts, and the owners of older buildings order an increasing number of zero-energy renovations. First-class advice on issues of energy efficiency can be acquired from Lahti Regional Building Inspection. The new Ranta-Kartano, Niemi, Hennala and Radanvarsi districts serve as the pilot areas for ecological and resource-efficient construction.

Centre of expertise: Lahti Open School of Urban Sustainability 2020

Environmental expertise and business By 2014, the environmental expertise available in Lahti has gained national acknowledgement, as the University of Helsinki links its sustainable development related activities to those of the Lahti Region. Activities focused on questions of natural science and cultural and social issues in urban environments have come together at the Niemi Science centre. The new Lahti Open School of Urban Sustainability (LOSUS) specialises in solution seeking and inter-disciplinary research for issues that have high levels of societal impact. The School is already referred to as the Harvard of environmental research. The partners in the new School include Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University, Lappeenranta University of Technology as well as a wide range of businesses, training practitioners and futures researchers from around the world. By 2020, the majority of the School’s services are open to all interested parties. LOSUS offers opportunities to tackle major societal changes on both theoretical and practical levels. It emphasizes innovation and the development of applications, collaboration and training for entrepreneurship. LOSUS and its partners complement an already strong Cleantech cluster in the Lahti Region. The ripple effects of their work spread throughout the educational system in the Region, in which the emphasis on natural sciences and social issues are seen from early childhood education onwards.

Carsharing will supplement public transport 2020

Mobility By 2020, the CO2 emissions from transport have fallen by a fifth as compared to the 1990 level. Different modes of transport are easily combined, creating an attractive means of mobility. The new travel centre and the other transport stations have expanded into hubs for carsharing, vehicle rental and bicycle rental. After stepping off the train, a journey can be continued by bus or by renting a shared car. The options available include private cars put up for shared use, as well as the services of carsharing companies. It is easy to leave your own car to supply the shared usage, if you don’t need it yourself.

Carsharing stations can be found in all parts of the City. In each area there is at least one housing block which makes use of shared cars and bicycles. In fact, in newer residential areas such as Ranta-Kartano, Radanvarsi and Hennala, housing complexes may only have parking space available for joint-use cars. The cost of housing remains lower when less parking space is required. The quality of life is high and transportation is made simple.

The City promotes decentralised renewable energy production 2022

Housing and energy Residential homes and new entrepreneurs who are interested in energy have become involved in energy production. Local energy has grown from a small-scale activity into a major form of production, as energy-efficiency advice for properties begins to show clear benefit and as new buildings achieve zero-energy levels. The power grid and electricity tariffs are redesigned so that it is profitable to feed surplus energy back into the network, for others to use. With the aid of group-purchased solar panels, private energy production has come into fashion. The economic benefits of such production motivate the city residents to strive for low energy consumption and an energy surplus. The effects of decentralised energy production are also seen in the cityscape: solar panels have become a natural installation in the elegant facade of the City. The Lahti Region has abandoned the use of coal, and in newer areas, renewable energy solutions that parallel those of districting heating have been created.

A showpiece WOW-building 2024

Environmental expertise and business Travellers who arrive in Lahti are welcomed by the sight of Green City boards lining the roads and railway tracks. In several different languages, the boards welcome newcomers to a Green City in which the first WOW-building has been built. The WOW-building is a stunning work of architecture, the business card of green infrastructure, and a meeting place for urban residents all year round. It displays the latest green technologies, many of which are also put to use in the newest residential areas of the City.

The building has its origins in an international architectural competition, which sought a model of ecological expertise that fits the description of a modern and comfortable building to be placed in the City centre area. ‘WOW’ has culminated in its own social and ecological ecosystem. The building is constructed of wood, and it recycles stormwater and nutrients. It has a green roof and planted walls. A ridge filter was built to connect to the building, from which visitors can watch the groundwater preparation processes. In addition, the WOW-building has become a meeting place for all kinds of people: in the bosom of the modern wooden showpiece of architecture a social and ecological ecosystem thrives: this includes city farming, cooking, various events and accommodation services. The WOW-building is a popular destination both for urban residents and for tourists.

Smart transport network 2025

Mobility Fast, affordable and flexible! By the year 2025, transportation is being emphasized as an overall experience, not as a choice between single mode of transport. This has been made possible through the smart transport network, which brings together the transport timetables, information on road congestion, information on shared car and bicycle availabilities, route plans for individuals offering rides – and, of course, the people who make use of the transport. There are many choices available for making a single trip in the Lahti Region. This reality has been made possible and visible through a smart transport network and its various user-driven applications.

The easiest way for City dwellers and those arriving in the Lahti Region to plan their journeys is through mobile applications. One such example is the social media traffic app, through which you can find the most convenient route to your destination, through a combination of public transport and shared services. Transport services are a clearly growing business sector in the year 2020.

Close-knit residential areas rely on public transport 2025

Housing and energy Lahti is a more close-knit and enjoyable city than ever before. The population of Lahti is growing, and the good services of the Green City consistently attract new residents. Due to the population growth, more living space and services are required: for living, working and hobby space, as well as for various services. A central location and energy efficiency are of increasing value, due to the high price of energy. Fortunately, the planning policy of Lahti has been guided by supplementary and in-fill building aims, rather than those of entirely new residential zoning. The supplementary building policy preserves the compactness of the City, allows for efficient public transport to be organised within and between areas, while still preserving the forests and parks as recreational areas. Diverse public and commercial services remain within the range of urban dwellers by foot, bike or public transport. The majority of Lahti residents live within 500 meters of a bus stop, from which a bus leaves towards the City centre at least every half hour, and in many areas more frequently. The Lahti Region has been developed along the railway tracks, and these facilitate the building of comfortable and close-to-nature residential areas in Nastola and Kärkölä, which are located only 15 minutes from the City centre.

Compact residential areas bring services closer to the people; in many block areas, small shops, snack stalls, kindergartens and sports facilities have been established. These help residents to relax even more, because day-to-day life is made easier with less need to travel to acquire services.

The Regional wind park is the pride of the Green City 2025

Environmental expertise and business Visitors to Lahti Green City are greeted by an urban wind power plant that stretches alongside a section of the motorway. The wind turbines reach 140 meters in height, and have fast become a symbol for the entire City area. Already in 2014, LADEC surveys of new energy production options showed wind power to be a popular potential source of energy for inland regions. Eased national provisions for wind turbine placement and quieter technology have made it possible to find a good location for the park. Thanks to LADEC’s active role in searching for partners and investment, investors have shown interest in a wind power park placed in the Lahti Region.

New options for energy production have been on display for a while already, and several hybrid solutions for energy forms have become popular: geothermal, district heating, solar energy, biomass and wind energy all complement each other. These, together with the wind park, have contributed to Lahti’s achievement of its emissions reduction targets for the year 2025. This has further enhanced the reputation and image of the Region.