On 22 November, the Turku City Board approved the objectives and the concrete development measures of the Old Town strategic development project. The key objective is to make the Old Town area a coherent entity that is interesting and well-known internationally and locally.

Development of the Old Town

  • The aim is to raise the area to an esteemed position, not only as an attractive tourist destination, but also as an oasis of encounters teeming with a European spirit.
  • Additionally, the aim is to increase and diversify the provision of services and events so that the area would be active all year round.
  • The first stage of the development has been preparing a development plan for the historical centre and university area together with the actors of the area.

Additional information on the development of the Old Town

There are both properties that could be used more efficiently and opportunities for further construction in the Old Town area. More versatile use of the existing buildings would create opportunities for new actors and services.

“I think it is very important that the building stock in the area be boldly opened as facilities that actively serve all urban residents and visitors. We strive to create a new and significant anchor function suitable for the concept of the Old Town area: a hotel, for example,” says Timo Hintsanen, Director of Urban Planning.

The architecture of the historical centre will be considered in all planning of new construction and in combining the new and the old.

Old Town refers to an area from the Tuomaanpuisto park to the Fortuna block. The university area is an important part of the whole and the aim is to link it more closely to the Old Town.

Map: Lundén Architecture Company

Discussions on development measures and planning projects will be continued with property owners in the area, and efforts will be made to promote them. The aim is also to develop the property stock owned by the city.

“We will start preparing a facility strategy and a facilities use plan for the properties in the Old Great Square area. It will take into account in particular the opportunities and needs arising from cooperation between the House of the Arts and actors in the creative industries, as well as from the cooperation of the third sector and other companies promoting regional development in the Old Town,” Hintsanen explains.

Illustration from the development plan: Lundén Architecture Company

More versatile use of green areas

The attractiveness of the Old Town area will be enhanced by making the public urban spaces and green areas more open and active.

Green areas are an important part of the pleasantness of the Old Town.

“Green areas are an important part of the pleasantness of the Old Town. They need to be improved so that residents could make better use of them. Their development needs will be examined, and especially for the Tuomaanpuisto park, we want to know what the residents and the habitants of the area would like to see. What kind of activities would suit the nature of the area and who would be interested in producing them?” Hintsanen says.

The residents have wished that the area would be easier to move around by bicycle or by foot. We will pay more attention to this in the future. The aim is to investigate, for example, the possibility to transform the Piispankatu street into a drive or a bicycle street. The missing section of the route on the banks of River Aurajoki from Agricolankatu to Jokikatu will be implemented in 2022-2023. There are many courtyards in the blocks in the area, and the possibilities to open passages between them will also be examined.

The development of the Old Town area will continue in extensive cooperation with various actors and the residents. A coordination group guiding the development work in the area will be established to support this.

The objectives and measures for the development of the Old Town presented to the City Board are based on the Turku strategy, the objectives of the strategic spearhead project of the centre development, the development plan for the historical centre of Turku and the university area published in the spring, and the meetings and discussions with experts, actors in the region, and the residents held during its preparation.

Photo: Heikki Räisänen