Temporary use of empty spaces in regional development

Ended project: 10/2017 – 9/2019

The University of Helsinki’s multidisciplinary Tilapioneerit (Premises pioneers) project course investigated and tested the feasibility of developing underused areas whose purposes of use are about to change for temporary use.

What was it about?

The project was part of the Circular economy teaching for all levels of education package implemented between 2017 and 2019. Sitra’s vision was that all graduates should understand what the circular economy means from the point of view of their work and day-to-day life, and what decisions and actions they can take to promote the circular economy. The aim was to increase expertise in the circular economy in Finland by extensively developing circular economy training, materials, concepts and co-operation from different points of view for all levels of education. More than 50 educational institutions, organisations and businesses took part in the package.

What was achieved?

The project produced open teaching materials for organising a multidisciplinary project course on urban space and its temporary use, urban culture and the circular economy at universities and universities of applied sciences. The project course implements a community-driven impact project in the surroundings of the educational institution.

During the project, a six-week Tilapioneerit project course was organised at the University of Helsinki during the 2018 spring term. The course was included in the structure of a bachelor’s degree in geography as an optional five-credit project course (MAA-404 Project work course) as part of the working life studies programme. The course was open to all undergraduate students at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. A total of 22 students attended the course.

The teaching materials were developed further in autumn 2018 based on feedback collected from students and partners, after which the Tilapioneerit teacher’s guide was published in spring 2019.

Who was involved?

Sitra funded the project, and the people responsible for the project at Sitra were Riitta Silvennoinen and Nani Pajunen. The project was implemented at the Department of Geosciences and Geography of the University of Helsinki. The project was carried out in collaboration with the local network of operators, including those from the field of culture, civil society activists, educational institutions and companies. The course was produced in partnership with Taaki Helsinki.


Nani Pajunen
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions

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