What are the factors that convince someone to live in an unfinished residential neighbourhood? We found out by talking to a 10-year resident of Konepaja and someone who has just moved into a new YIT Home in Ranta-Tampella.
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Building the Konepaja community
The Konepaja neighbourhood in Helsinki’s Vallila district is a prominent example of urban development. The new residential neighbourhood has grown rapidly over the past decade, attracting homebuyers. One of Konepaja’s longest-standing residents is Kari Nyholm, who has enjoyed living in the neighbourhood for more than 10 years.
Having lived in Helsinki for over 15 years, Kari Nyholm knows Konepaja like the back of his hand. He moved into a two-room apartment on Aleksis Kiven katu in 2009 and has lived in the area ever since. The unfinished character of Konepaja and the ongoing construction has not bothered Kari and his family. They have simply been happy to live in a centrally located neighbourhood with developing services.
“My partner and I wanted an apartment in a residential district that is part of the city centre and in the vicinity of good transport connections. We ended up moving here, even though the neighbourhood and the local services have developed only gradually,” Kari says, explaining the reasons behind their move to Konepaja.
Kari and his partner have taken a fairly ordinary path. First they moved into a two-room apartment, and later they began to think about buying a larger home. As luck would have it, the right apartment was not far at all — it was in the same stairwell.
“We were expecting a child and had already reserved a new three-room apartment in a building that was close to being completed a few hundred metres away, but then we happened to run into one of our neighbours. We talked about the apartments and found out that they were also moving soon. We ended up cancelling our reservation and buying the neighbour’s apartment instead,” Kari says with a laugh.
A few years later, the family growing with the arrival of twins, they decided to find an even larger home in Konepaja. Kari says it was fairly easy to find a new apartment in the neighbourhood back then. It only took one week to sell their apartment and, after renting a place for a year, they bought a new home with more than 80 square metres of space. If finding a new apartment in Konepaja was relatively easy back then, that is not the case anymore.
“Most apartments here get bought so quickly that they never go on public sale. Property values have increased substantially throughout the area. That has been a source of important financial security when we have needed to look for a larger home. It seems that nobody wants to leave this neighbourhood. People just swap apartments between themselves,” says Kari, describing the nature of the housing market in Konepaja.
People know each other in Konepaja
There are plenty of familiar faces in the Konepaja neighbourhood. Kari is constantly saying hello to former and current neighbours. According to Kari, Konepaja has a strong community and people enjoy living in the safe residential environment.
“Perhaps this positive spirit has been created by people having the chance to build their own shared culture right from the start. Then, with everyone deciding to stay here for so many years, people have built friendships and found common interests,” Kari explains.
Children have also played a role in the rapid growth of the neighbourhood. Having schools and diverse play areas in the area has meant that families with children have chosen to get settled in the area. There is a lot to do, and you need not worry about the dangers of the city centre.
“This is a great place for families with children because there are always many children of the same age to play with. The school is nearby and there aren’t many dangerous intersections along the way. That makes this a safe environment,” Kari points out.
Services have developed alongside housing
As the Chairman of the housing company’s Board of Directors, Kari wants to keep abreast of the development of Konepaja as a whole. The neighbourhood has its own advocacy organisation in the form of the active Konepaja movement, whose members made headlines a few years ago when they battled against an international chain of home improvement stores. The organisation’s activities are aimed at making this urban neighbourhood more comfortable and attractive in many ways.
“The area is growing rapidly, but the Konepaja movement ensures that the neighbourhood will retain its appeal and character in the future. For example, we have become involved in the OmaStadi participatory budgeting project by submitting a proposal concerning green areas that would serve both local residents and event organisers,” Kari explains.
The shortage of local services has been the only downside of Konepaja. With the Mall of Tripla now nearby, families can go shopping in the Nordic region’s largest shopping centre. Kari says the Mall of Tripla and the completion of the last construction projects in the area is very significant.
“I’m happy to say that the services have finally improved here. Now we don’t have to drive to other parts of the city to do our shopping. We can get it done right around the corner. New restaurants and the adjacent parks getting their finishing touches have also increased the sense that this neighbourhood will soon be complete.”
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The growing neighbourhood of Ranta-Tampella is changing Tampere’s cityscape
In the immediate vicinity of Tampere’s central business district, close to the shores of Lake Näsijärvi, an important part of a growing city is emerging at breakneck pace. Space for Tampere’s newest residential neighbourhood was created by a massive tunnel construction project, and the first entirely new apartment building has now been completed in Ranta-Tampella´s Kanavakortteli. Tampere resident Henri Lehtimäki moved into the building.
“My partner and I moved here about a year ago, when the building was finally completed. We lived almost next door before that, so the distance of our move was only a few hundred metres,” Henri says.
Henri has been fascinated by the Ranta-Tampella area for many years. The large construction projects have not concerned him. Instead, he sees them as something positive that makes the neighbourhood even more diverse and culturally rich. Having spent his entire life in Tampere, Henri viewed the new residential development as a unique opportunity. He has always enjoyed being close to the city centre and the outdoor recreation opportunities offered by Lake Näsijärvi.
“There is no doubt this is one of the nicest parts of Tampere. You have the services of the city centre less than half a kilometre away, and you can see the waters of Lake Näsijärvi from your window. There are pedestrian and bicycle routes right in front of the building, and the forest trails of Kauppi are just a kilometre away. In that sense, this neighbourhood has everything you could possibly need.”
The efficient use of space in a new apartment increases the comfort of living
Moving from a 20-year-old apartment to a newly constructed property also meant ten square metres of added space for Harri. He says the difference between his old two-room apartment and the new three-room apartment is considerable: in addition to having more space, the use of space is more efficient these days.
“The efficiency of the use of space is the most important thing I have noticed in this new apartment. There is no wasted space in the form of a large walk-in closet or separate toilet, for example. That pays off in the comfort of living. You have to give credit to the designers for the spacious and practical floor plan,” Henri says.
According to Henri, there are many familiar faces in the first new property to be completed in Ranta-Tampella. Clearly, he wasn’t the only resident of his previous building who decided to move closer to the lakeshore.
“When I attend the meetings of the housing company here, I come across some of the same people I used to see at my previous housing company on Verstaankatu. We can just pick up where we left off,” Henri says with a laugh.
The construction of the city around the building creates no disturbance
The construction site next to Henri’s building is not an attractive sight to behold. The streets are unfinished, there are no parking places and the yards are full of cranes and construction workers. While many people have concerns about living in the middle of a construction site, the various work phases and the noise caused by them have not disturbed Henri. He says a tolerant and understanding attitude goes a long way.
“When we made the decision to buy a home here, we knew that there would be a lot of construction going on in the area for the next five years. But when you spend your days at work, you don’t even notice the existence of the construction site except in the form of newly completed floors and new roads. You don’t really even think about the construction site otherwise.”
According to Henri, there are many advantages to moving into a new apartment. The quality of living is the most significant of them. Investing in your own comfort and happiness is more important to Henri than the potential increase in property values and return on investment.
“Of course, in terms of finances, it’s nice to feel that the value of the apartment will at least not decline, but our personal comfort is more significant to us. The fact that we bought an apartment that makes us happy to come home every day is the most important thing about living here,” Henri concludes.
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For further information, please contact:
Johanna Savolainen, Communications Business Partner, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 44 305 4594, firstname.lastname@example.org
YIT is the largest Finnish and a significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers, our nearly 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, attractive and sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, Baltic Countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our restated pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.2 billion. YIT Corporation’s share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com