The City of Turku is working with its partners to enliven the city centre area through new kinds of activities and events as well as solutions that develop the urban environment. The ideas were yielded by the open Sytytä Turku (Ignite Turku) competition. The competitive method, which was being tested for the first time, generated a wide range of proposals, and the winning submissions will now be developed towards execution.

The City of Turku’s vision emphasises the fact that Turku is a good place to live and succeed together. This significance of joint effort also serves as the basis for the Sytytä Turku competition, which included an open invitation to everyone: “Tell us how you would like to be involved in implementing an ambitious vision for the city centre together with the City of Turku.”

"The Sytytä Turku competition represents a new kind of culture of cooperation and experimentation. In a way, the City of Turku offered the entire city centre as a playground and testbed for new innovations to bolster the area’s appeal. We are very pleased that so many took the challenge and that we got as many as 71 proposals for the competition,” Mayor Minna Arve says.

This form of competition was quite unusual, even on an international scale.

“This number would not be surprising for a conventional idea competition, but this time, we required a description of and commitment to the actual implementation, which made the endeavour quite challenging. This form of competition was quite unusual, even on an international scale,” believes Director of Urban Planning Timo Hintsanen, who chaired the panel of judges.

After the feasibility review of the proposals and discussions with the entrants, twelve proposals were selected as winners. In addition to these, three event-related and three lighting-oriented proposals will be implemented as part of the City of Turku’s other on-going projects.

A full dozen inspiring ideas

The winning proposals enliven the city centre of Turku by adding diverse activities, events and solutions that develop the urban environment. Many of them offer new kinds of activities especially for children and young people. Younger residents of Turku have been delighted by events, such as Kontiaisten joulukuu, Nuorten kesäyrittäjätori and the Turku Stars activity points, which provide experiential information.

"The Nuorten kesäyrittäjätori summer entrepreneurship event for young people will be held in Turku’s city centre this summer. It is a market place and learning environment for products and services created by young people themselves, which will be integrated into the national summer entrepreneurship campaign,” says Hilkka Näse, the creator of the idea.

Well-being and sustainable forms of physical activity are supported among local residents through new arrangements that encourage exercise, walking and cycling. The outdoor recreational area of the Hyvin voiva Turku wellness idea motivates Turku residents towards active exercise. The Turun Pyörämessut bicycle fair and supplementary plans are aimed at strengthening the position of cycling in Turku. The Puistosilta bridge between Samppalinnanpuisto and Urheilupuisto and the efforts to make the city centre more walkable promote smooth pedestrian mobility in the city centre area.

The competition also formed more extensive partnerships that will require longer preparations for the Market Hall block and the western bank of the Aura River. These developments support the city centre vision’s aims of creating a pleasant and commercially attractive city centre area that spans to the seashore, maintaining its appeal all the way.

I believe that a reiterated version of the partnership competition will be held in the coming years.

Timo Hintsanen

The competition also helped to gain partners and ideas for the new light event being planned. This winter’s Valon polku (Path of Light) event was a glimpse into how seasonal lighting and light installations can be used to brighten up the dark winter season. Next winter will have even more light and light art in store for local residents.

Overall, the Sytytä Turku competition turned out to be an extremely fruitful trial.

"We have received plenty of positive feedback, and many have requested that the competition be organised again at a later time. As such, I believe that a reiterated version of the partnership competition will be held in the coming years,” Timo Hintsanen says.

Winners and other ideas selected for further development

Winning ideas to be implemented through partnerships:

  • Puistosilta (Park Bridge), Hila Arkkitehdit Oy
  • Hyvin voiva Turku (Healthy Turku), Pasi Inkinen
  • Turku Stars, Carbon Neutral City Experience for Kids and Youth, Zeamly Oy
  • Nuorten kesäyrittäjätori (Summer Entrepreneurship Market Place for Young People), Hilkka Näse
  • Mini Turku, Katia Salo
  • Tapahtumamatot (Event Rugs), Katia Salo
  • Kontiaisten joulukuu (December of Moles), Essi Santala
  • Turun Pyörämessut / Turku - Suomen pyöräpääkaupunki (Turku Bicycle Fair / Turku – Finland’s Cycling Capital), Juha Toivonen, Tmi Kekseliäs kettu
  • Portti auki Turkuun (Open Gate to Turku), Lundén Architecture Company
  • Käveltävämpi keskusta (A More Walkable City Centre), Lujatalo Oy
  • Saaristolaivasatama (Archipelago Port), Juho Niemi
  • Turun kauppahallikortteli 2026 (Turku’s Market Hall Block 2026), JKMM Arkkitehdit Oy

Ideas and actors selected for the planning of the light event 2021 project:

  • Lumina festival of light and wonder, Artturi Elovirta
  • Luodaan valoa Turkuun yhdessä (Bringing Light to Turku Together), Kari Kola
  • Sytytä Turku -seikkailu – Joukkoistamalla valotaideteokset loistamaan (Sytytä Turku adventure – elevating light installations through crowd-sourcing), Choose Your Future

Events to be promoted with City’s event organisation:

  • Esitykset Valtaavat Kadut (Performances Take over the Streets), Sirkussirkus
  • Turku kutsuu tanssiin! (Turku Invites You to Dance!), Laura Sillanpää
  • Turun Sarjakuvafestivaali 2021 (Turku Comics Festival 2021), Turun Sarjakuvakerho

Further information: