Image: Lunden Architecture Company
Over a million squares of new construction, investments of several billions, over 10 000 new jobs and apartments for 20 000 new Turku residents with one hour distance away from the capital region. The City of Turku will develop the Science Park area as an international concentration of expertise and as a showcase of top competence with ambitious objectives.
Turku builds growth with determination as a response for a significant positive economic transformation. The Science Park area extending from the University Campuses to Kupittaa will have a significant role in supporting growth not only as a versatile concentration of training and research but also as an internationally significant centre of intensely competent business and as an inviting living environment.
- Turku Science Park has an opportunity to be a globally significant innovative concentration where business life, universities and a business company operate in a unique way towards shared goals, says Mayor of Turku Minna Arve.
The objective of the future image of Science Park (Turku Science Park Masterplan 2050) is to create guidelines for development in the upcoming decades and to create a vision for how the entity extending towards Itäharju will look like in the future. More than anything, the goal of the Masterplan is that the potential created by the exceptional starting point and versatile concentration of expertise can be harnessed as thoroughly as possible to utilise comprehensive development.
The One Hour Train will link the Science Park into a continuous working area with the capital region, which will also be an attraction for the significant construction of facilities and apartments in the area. The location of the Science Park next to the railway confirms the comprehensive benefit of the fast train connection thanks to short travel chains. In total, the travelling time in addition to the train travel will not amount to many minutes.
- The planned development helps create national benefit so that the Turku - Helsinki corridor will become an internationally interesting axis of growth, even more so than before. The One Hour Train connection and the Northern Growth Zone will link the centres of eastern Finland into a continuous labour market and economic area offering internationally interesting investment objects and possibilities for locating, says Director of City Planning Timo Hintsanen.
The triangular area in Itäharju, altogether 90 hectares in size, will offer a platform for significant growth of the Science Park. Altogether, it is estimated that the area will become renewed by the middle of the century.
- If the current pace of growth continues, the area may be constructed even faster. In any case, it is important that we have an optimal location and a significant reserve of very attractive development potential and opportunities for bold new openings, estimates Hintsanen.
The future image has been built in vast collaboration including, in addition to the City of Turku, universities in the region, Turku Science Park Ltd, Turku Technology Properties, University Properties of Finland, the Hospital District of Southwest Finland and the Student Village Foundation of Turku.
- Through the Turku Future Forum workshops open to all, a large number of representatives of local businesses in the area, students, and experts in different fields have participated in planning the future of the area. In addition, discussions on the direction of development have taken place with resident associations in the area, says Project Manager Riitta Birkstedt.
The development of the area will continue also in the future with collaboration and diverse partnerships.
Location, expertise and an environment supporting wellbeing as attractions
The One Hour train connection to Helsinki, a walking distance to the centre and very attractive places for living with park views. The area of Turku Science Park will grow by 20 000 residents when new apartments are built on the side of Kupittaa park, Itäharju and the student village. Strong growth in the number of residents will make the area more vibrant around the clock and diversify its service offering.
- The location of Turku Science Park close to the centre is ideal for living. The various services of the centre are easily available. High-quality biking connection, parking solutions that can easily be realised, shared use services for bicycles and cars and smart service transport will facilitate mobility in daily life and reduce the needs for using a private car. These factors are excellent for facilitating daily life and improving wellbeing, Hintsanen says.
Wellbeing and a humane urban environment are supported also by developing public urban facilities. Turning key passages into boulevards will make internal mobility in the area clearer and make the environment more pleasant. New squares, promenades and parklike city spaces will function as platforms for many kinds of encounters and an original urban culture.
An environment supporting wellbeing is attractive also for business. In attracting trained work force, not only interesting working tasks but also many factors affecting the quality of living will become important. Such factors include smooth daily life and hobby possibilities. In Science Park, all functions of daily life are close.
- When work and leisure overlap in the future and work will be done more flexibly from home, cafés and parks at different times of the day, also the quality of urban environment will become key in attracting experts. Developing the Kupittaa park and its services, located in the Science Park area, as a round-the-clock oasis of exercise, sports and wellbeing is a unique extra value for employees, students and residents, says Hintsanen.
Attracting experts will become an even more central challenge in the future when competition between urban areas intensifies. The best experts are attracted by not only other growth centres in southern Finland but also foreign concentrations of growth and innovation. On the basis of current prospects, it is estimated that by the year 2020, the recruitment needs for university-educated personnel in the Varsinais-Suomi region will double.
- The strong clusters CleanTurku, ExperienceTurku, HealthTurku, MaritimeTurku, Smart&WiseTurku and TechTurku are internationally significant entities of competence with well-known businesses and actors of the scientific and academic world. These also attract experts in the area, says CEO of Turku Science Park Ltd Niko Kyynäräinen.
Development proceeds as large entities
The development of the Science Park is well under way. The Health Campus will be enhanced with new hospitals as, in addition to the T3 and Medisiina that are under construction, the psychiatric hospital of Turku University and Pohjola Sairaala hospital will be built in the area. The Masterplan helps secure the possibilities for expansion of the concentration of top expertise also in the future. New construction is under way also in the student village. A thousand new student flats will be built by 2022. The new ball sports hall and the Visitor and Innovation centre JOKI will be opened for customers already in the upcoming weeks.
The campus of universities will become more condensed and vibrant in the upcoming years, when new facilities for studying, start-up activity and living will be built in the area. The new polytechnic campus will bring thousands of students next to the business concentration of Kupittaa. Also the more extensive concentration of technical training will be prepared for.
- The Science Park is already a significant start-up concentration but may continue its development towards an international hub. For instance, the Rolls Royce global research and development for autonomous ships centre operates in Science Park as one of the key development hubs, says Kyynäräinen.
Development of the Itäharju extension area will proceed in phases as large entities. The first phase will include improving transport connections in the area and building a connection between Kupittaa and Itäharju that links the areas together. According to Hintsanen, in addition to functional basic infrastructure, technologies of a smart and sustainable city will be emphasised in developing the area.
- The Science Park will become the most energy effective constructed area in the city and a showcase of local top skills. Smart buildings and the 5G infrastructure offering super-fast communication connections provide an inviting platform for intensively competent business. The area also functions as a research and test environment for new products, apps and services, Hintsanen says.
The Science Park is developed in intensive collaboration between different actors, with each one providing their own effort and expertise.
- The city for its part functions as an activator of development. It shows the direction, creates opportunities and brings actors together, says Birkstedt.
The Campus and Science Park spearhead project
The Masterplan of Turku Science Park has been prepared as part of the Campus and Science Park spearhead project set by the Turku City Council in 2016. The objective of the project is to strengthen the international attraction of the area and to combine functionality, land use, building and mobility into comprehensive urban development. Comprehensive development also strengthens attractive city growth and urban environment and the smart development of city service channels.