This evening, YLE2 had a small segment on the Helsinki area’s most talked about neighborhood, Kartanonkoski (I think Jakomäki was #2 on my fake survey). It’s a new residential housing block located just over the Helsinki border in Vantaa, near Jumbo mall. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it, most either love it or hate it.
The Kartanonkoski project began in 1998, when the City of Vantaa held a contest for the planning of a garden villageÃ‚Â. This concept is taken from British city planners of the 1890 s, who suggested that buildings should not be square or rectangular, but shaped instead like half-moons, or curves. They also maintained that residential areas should be lined with green areas, and plenty of trees.
The winner of the contest was the Swedish firm, DjurgÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¥rdstadens Arkitekter. The urban structure they proposed for Kartanonkoski closely follows this concept. The neighborhoods consist of blocks of flats, townhouses and detached houses, with colorful facades, arranged along curving streets. And throughout this green neighborhoodÃ‚Â are protected gardens and parks, day care centers, schools and playgrounds. Another unique aspect that gives the area a distinctly new appearance is the location of parking spaces, in the immediate vicinity of buildings.
Sounds nice from the builder’s website, but when I toured it, all I saw were a bunch of tiny houses and apartments all squeezed in like sardines. Your front yard was the street, your back yard was the parking lot. It felt very stuffy in there with absolutely zero privacy.
The site which is built on looks as if they just leveled the entire area rather than building in between the nature (but maybe it was just a field to start with?). I couldn’t find any useful shops within the vicinity except for some gardening stores – Jumbo mall is a bit of a hike away. The rush hour traffic in that area is atrocious, it seems as if they built all these apartments without first building the necessary infrastructure.
And from what I’ve heard, these houses ain’t cheap for what they are and since its been dubbed a “trendy” neighborhood, you’ll be paying even more so you can brag to your friends about where you live (My #1 tip for purchasing a house in Finland is stay clear of those “trendy” neighborhoods and save yourself a fortune). Being that Finland is so “neighborhood oriented” compared to the U.S., I have found that the neighborhood you live in is more of a status symbol than it is in the U.S.
Well, at least the houses are nicer than these new pastel/sherbert colored Barbiedoll houses that are popping up everywhere. I dunno, I just really love these a bit older neighborhoods where they actually attempted to blend them in with the nature.
So what do you think – Kartanonkoski – love it or hate it?
This post is brought to you by the Espoo Homeowners Association