JTP initiates collaborative placemaking in Finland’s fast growing second city.
View looking north over The Rapids toward Finlaysons (credit: Lentokuva/City of Tampere)
The city of Tampere has invited JTP and Berlin based Von Zadow International (VZI) to undertake a nine-month, interactive charrette process, working with stakeholders and the wider community to create a vision for the regeneration of the western part of the city centre, known as West+.
This commission follows on from the team’s work in 2014 to facilitate a collaborative process to rethink the area around Tampere Central Station and Tulli, a neglected urban quarter to the east of the city centre, where major construction is now well underway.
Tampere is the second largest urban centre in Finland and is one of the country’s fastest growing regions. During recent years, the city centre’s major development projects have been concentrated around the railway station and the eastern city centre, thus pulling the focus away from the historic western centre. With the help of JTP and VZI, we want to balance the city centre area and create a joint vision that emphasises the qualities of West+ and brings its development up-to-date with the rest of the city centre.
Mikko Siitonen, architect in charge of WEST+ for City of Tampere
In common with many city centre quarters around Europe, the West+ area needs to respond to various forces and development pressures, including the changing face of retail and leisure, demand for affordable homes and workspace, sustainable transport initiatives and climate change, all set in the context of a post Covid-19 world.
View looking east over Tampere West+ project area (credit: Lentokuva/City of Tampere)
We are delighted to have been commissioned, with VZI, on this exciting project. While Tampere is a thriving and attractive city with an amazing setting, the West+ area faces several challenges that it must meet to avoid being left behind. We look forward to working with the city council, local stakeholders and the community to create a shared vision for this fascinating and diverse area.
Charles Campion, Partner at JTP
The West+ vision process consists of three phases. First, a hands-on workshop with twelve stakeholder organisations, including local businesses, property owners and developers, to understand key issues and opportunities. Next, collaborative planning sessions will involve a group of citizens with specific interests in West+. These stages set the scene for the final stage; a multi-day collaborative planning charrette planned for the autumn to create a consensus vision for an attractive, thriving and sustainable 21st century urban quarter.
Communication and bridge building between local players are key factors for the creation of sustainable, integrated win/win solutions. Our teams customised charrette concept provides a robust framework which can be adapted flexibly, even during the current pandemic. Running our preparatory stakeholder meetings online, we are already achieving positive progress.
Andreas von Zadow, partner at VZI
The West+ area of Tampere is laid out on a robust grid plan and with a rich mix of uses, including housing, retail, commercial, leisure and community. Key assets in this western part of the city centre include department stores, a lively indoor market hall, restaurants, bars and performance venues. Perhaps the most notable attraction is Finlayson, an iconic 200-year-old former cotton mill, now repurposed as a multi-facetted cultural centre.
The Särkänniemi Leisure Park, with its observation and restaurant tower, occupies an extensive site on the north-west corner of West+, overlooking a huge lake that defines the northern edge of the city centre. This lake flows into ‘The Rapids’ that run through Tampere’s heart, past the city’s central square, before releasing into a second huge lake that forms the southern shore.
Major construction work to provide a brand new east-west tram system has been disrupting daily life along primary streets, but the transport improvements will allow the city to function more efficiently when completed in 2021, reducing car-dependency, prioritising walkability and encouraging active travel.