The development themes for residential areas

Diversity and participation

The focus must be on the better participation and involvement of residents in the different development themes. In this way, the residents’ experiences, creativity and functional resources can be integrated into the development work.

In developing ways to become involved, it is important to recognise the diversity of the population structure. Traditional models based on association activity should be used in addition to creating new ways to become involved and utilising new technology.  The threshold for becoming involved should be kept low, and people should be encouraged to be self-directed and take responsibility for their living environment. At the same time, the events organised by townspeople are an indication of the city's vitality, and can be seen as social innovations which support the creative vitality of the city districts.

The residents’ inclusion in development activities has a positive influence on the comfort and safety of the area. It also increases the residents’ responsibility for the area’s well-being. Through participatory development, residential areas can be developed in a way that all generations will enjoy living there. There is a particular need to create involvement models which take linguistic and cultural differences into consideration and encourage different population groups to interact and participate.

Comfortable, safe and interesting environment

The residential environment should meet human needs in a comprehensive way. It should provide opportunities for connecting with nature, having a sense of community and participating in creative activities, for example. The residential environment should create new kinds of venues for spontaneous meeting and activity which encourage interaction between different resident groups. The cleanliness and general comfort of the immediate surroundings can be improved through local safety planning, and this in turn will influence people’s sense of safety.

Studies have shown that an untidy and uncomfortable environment increases crime and disturbances. The maintenance and tidiness of yard areas and routes not only reduce the risk of accidents but also increase the general sense of comfort and safety. Investing in the accessibility of residential environments is important because in the future an increasing number of older people will live in their own homes for longer periods. At the same time, accessibility helps create a good and safe residential environment for everyone.

Versatile housing opportunities increase the vitality of residential areas and improve the opportunities of older people to live in their own homes. Diversifying the dwelling stock and increasing accessibility and opportunities for reasonably priced housing strengthen residential areas. Municipalities should think about how to complement residential areas by mixing owner-occupied, rental, right of residence and sheltered housing, and the means by which the realisation of this objective can be supported.

With regard to renovation and supplemental construction, new solutions related to energy efficiency, wood construction and accessibility must be developed. By means of domestic, local ecological and light wood construction, the overall appearance of residential areas can be enhanced and softened in new and supplementary construction, adding storeys and in facade energy-saving repairs. In the future, building-specific production of electricity and heat will be more commonplace, and should be implemented in a way that factors related to the landscape and cultural environment and comfort are taken into consideration in small-scale energy production. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that all residential areas are also cultural environments whose aesthetic character, diversity and temporal stratification are important factors in creating comfort and establishing an area's identity.

New ways of using space, reinforcing the supply of services, and social innovations

The availability of services in residential areas influences people’s everyday activities and mental images. Many residential areas also have a need to develop new kinds of service environments, allowing for a combination of different services and construction of communal places for meeting and resident activity, and utilisation of existing spaces in new ways.

Strong, accessible, equal, effective and customer-oriented basic services allow early intervention in problems. They also support the service users' efforts to manage independently.
In addition, minority groups and people living in difficult circumstances require services targeted to meet their needs. The functional ability, independent living and sense of participation of older people are best supported in their own living environment. New technology can be used to assist these efforts.

Local schools are highly significant for families with children. Cultural, library, exercise and youth-policy services are important in terms of generating well-being and a sense of participation among residents. Libraries, for example, are important in providing a place for various activities in a residential area, and the form of such activities can be further developed in collaboration with the residents.

Nearby exercise venues have a direct impact on people's engaging in everyday exercise, and thereby on their health and well-being. Exercise venues should be developed so that all inhabitants, including those from different cultural backgrounds, are encouraged in a versatile way to take exercise. At the same time, attention should also be paid to using schools as venues for exercise and recreational activities for all local residents.

Strengthening the growth and social integrity of young people

Young people’s poor sense of participation is a serious problem which hinders their ability to manage their lives. Residential areas, along with the services and activity opportunities they offer, must be seen as environments that strengthen young people’s sense of participation.
In order to strengthen young people’s sense of participation, attention must be paid to opportunities for education, employment and engaging in recreational activities in residential areas. Schools must be actively involved in the development of residential areas, and opportunities for engaging in recreational activities, along with young people’s interest in exercise and sports must be strengthened in cooperation with the organisations in the residential area, as well as neighbouring areas. Attention must also be paid to opportunities for engaging in cultural pastimes in everyday activity environments, and at the same time, new means must be sought for providing economic and other support for the recreational activities of children and young people from low-income families.

Published 2013-07-19 at 12:31, updated 2013-07-19 at 12:30