Kerli Müüsepp defending on 25 November at 11!!

Kerli Müürisepp will defend her PhD thesis titled

Capturing segregation through space and time: New insights from the activity space approach and big data

Time: Saturday 25th November, 11 o’clock  (note the unusual start time!)
Place: Porthania P674, Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki


Professor Mei-Po Kwan from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) will act as the opponent and professor Tuuli Toivonen as the custos.

The thesis is available in HELDA:

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.


Mei-Po Kwan visiting DGL and talking at the University of Helsinki

Prof. Mei-Po Kwan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Friday 24.11. (13:15 – 14:45) taking place in Porthania PIII, University of Helsinki.
You can join in person or online. Some wine will be served after the presentation 😊

Please register here to get the online link or a glass of wine onsite!

Title: Big Data and Geospatial Technologies for Health Research

Abstract: The rapid development and widespread use of advanced geospatial technologies such as GPS, remote sensing, mobile sensing, and location-aware devices in recent years have greatly facilitated the acquisition of enormous amounts of high-resolution space-time data. To build smart and healthy cities, we need to integrate these multi-source geospatial big data acquired by earth observation technologies and mobile sensing technologies to provide more accurate assessments of individual exposures to environmental or social risk factors, and to develop planning policies to improve health for all. In this presentation, I will discuss how these new developments can provide new insights into the relationships between people’s mobility, health behaviors, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influence Drawing upon my recent projects on individual exposures to green/blue spaces, light-at-night, and air and noise pollution, I explore how the collection, integration, and analysis of high-resolution space-time data enabled by advanced geospatial and mobile technologies (e.g., real-time mobile sensing and GPS tracking) can help identify the “truly relevant geographic context in space and time” and provide new insights into the relationships between human health, people’s daily mobility, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influences.

Speaker’s Bio: Professor Kwan Mei-Po is Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, Director of Institute of Future Cities, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management, and an affiliated faculty of the JC School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof. Kwan is a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and American Association of Geographers and a Guggenheim Fellow. She was awarded many Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards by the American Association of Geographers, including the Distinguished Scholarship Honors, the Anderson Medal of Honors in Applied Geography, the Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography, the Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography, the Edward L. Ullman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Transportation Geography, and the Melinda Meade Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health and Medical Research. Prof. Kwan has received research grants of more than USD 62.7 million and has delivered about 380 keynote addresses and invited lectures and presentations in more than 20 countries. Her recent projects examine the health impacts of individual environmental exposure (e.g., noise, air pollution, green space), urban and mobility issues, the space-time dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the perception of data privacy; and the protection of geoprivacy via the development of a Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE).

This talk is part of the activities of the Location Innovation Hub and the Finnish University Network for Geoinformatics (FIUGINET) GeoSPA Talks series.

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.


Väiski’s Lectio Praecursoria

Tuomas Väisänen has defended his PhD “Diversity of places and people: Using big data to understand languages and activites across geographical space” successfully on Friday the 10th of November. His opponent was associate professor Grant McKenzie from McGill University, Canada. In case you missed the event and want to read the Lectio Praecursoria, you can find it below.

Cover of Väiski's PhD

Väiski’s Lectio Praecursoria:

Cities are home to over half of the human population. 

The number of people living in cities is increasing at an unprecedented scale due to accelerating growth of urbanization, international migration, and mobility. These global megatrends are further intensified by climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Today, 56 % of the world’s population lives in cities. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, this percentage has increased to 70 %. This will place immense pressure on cities to provide housing, employment, and services for a growing number of inhabitants. 

At the same time, the cities are not only becoming more populous, but the populations living in cities are becoming more diverse.  

More people of increasingly varied cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds are interacting in cities than ever before. Accordingly, researchers in the last 15 years have recognized that variables commonly used to describe population diversity in the past, such as countries of birth or origin, or ethnicities of the individuals, are not adequate for assessing the new patterns of diversity present in contemporary urban populations. 

Recent research has thus called for characterizing urban populations as being “super-diverse.” That is, the populations are diverse across multiple variables at the same time, such as ethnicities and countries of origin, but also religions, languages, gender, age, socio-economic and immigration statuses.  

As you might have observed from the title of my work, in my thesis I focus on exploring diversity from the perspectives of languages and activities. 


“Why languages?” You might ask. 

Language provides the basis for all human interaction and communication. Languages mediate every social interaction in urban areas and enable sharing of information in various personal, communal, and international contexts. Languages also constitute a major part of individual and group identities, and unlike a country of birth, the individual has some agency over which language they use and is registered as their first language. Despite the evident importance of language, it has remained an underexplored variable in the study of urban diversity within geography.  


“What about the activities?” you might continue.  

The activities of diverse groups of people also contribute to the diversity of an urban area. Diversity in urban areas is increased by the activities of people, which also can vary based on the population groups. There might be people walking, biking, working, commuting, participating in an event, enjoying their day off or something else entirely.  


So, what does this all have to do with Finland? 

Finland has always been a multicultural and multilingual country; however, it only became a net in-migration country in the 80s. Since then, the diversity of the population has increased rapidly in Finland, especially in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The fall of the Soviet Union, Finland’s membership in the European Union, and conflicts in the Middle East have been clear watershed moments for diversity in Finland and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. 


You might ask: “Alright, does this make the Helsinki Metropolitan Area a highly diverse metropolis?” 

It depends. 

In the context of Finland, yes. 

However, in comparison to other Nordic and European cities, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area has only recently started becoming diverse and cannot be considered similarly diverse just yet. For example, the native population makes up over 80 % of the inhabitants in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, unlike in Amsterdam where the native Dutch make up half. 

This recency presents an opportunity for Finland and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to avoid the mistakes made elsewhere while adopting what has worked. To do this, we need more information and understanding about urban diversity in the area. 

Luckily, the availability and amount of data about people and places has exploded. The devices we carry in our pockets, the applications we use, and the sensors embedded in urban space are generating immense volumes and varieties of data on a continuous basis. 

This flood of data is commonly known as big data. 

With big data, many phenomena can be detected as they happen while pinpointing also where they happen. For example, today you might have shared a picture of your morning coffee on social media alongside its location. Digital traces such as these provide researchers with information on the dynamic side of urban diversity. And by the dynamic side I mean, where people are, what they are doing, and who they are with when they are not at home.  


How does big data factor into urban diversity? 

Well, traditional sources of data, such as population registers, cannot capture information of this dynamic kind. These data are updated once a year or at longer intervals and the spatial information therein is connected to residential locations. As people are home mostly at night, the dynamic perspective provided by big data sources is key to understanding what happens elsewhere and at other times. 

Conversely, traditional sources are thus better for exploring the long-term and structural changes in urban diversity, especially in residential areas. Unlike social media data that can capture the daily rhythms and activities, population registers capture changes in residential areas that play out over several years or decades. 

From the variety of big data sources, social media data in particular has received wide attention in geographical research due to its rich user-generated content and availability, but even more so as it can be geotagged. A geotagged post contains information on the geographical location from where the post was shared. This enables geographers, such as me, to map where and when social media users are, but also what they are up to, based on the content and location information.  

Speaking of the content, social media data often consists of textual and visual information. This information can be used to reveal the languages, activities, and attitudes of social media users. This multimodality of the content also necessitates interdisciplinary methodological approaches, which I use throughout my work, as analyzing just the textual or visual content can omit crucial information.  

In summary, increasing urban diversity brings about new socio-spatial patterns and complexities which need to be understood so that the social sustainability of our cities can be supported. This can be pursued by using both traditional and big data sources, as they capture different spatio-temporal aspects of urban diversity.  

These topics form the core of my research interests. As a geographer I am interested in how various phenomena are distributed across geographical space. Why is the phenomenon more intense in one area, but less so somewhere else? How do the distributions of intensity vary in time? 

As I said previously, I explore urban diversity from the perspective of languages and activities. By urban diversity, I mean a combination of the super-diversity of the population and the diversity of their activities.  

Such an endeavor requires an interdisciplinary approach. I thus draw conceptually on the fields of GIScience, urban geography, and linguistic landscapes studies to contextualize and interpret my findings. 

Studying urban diversity also benefits from using a diverse selection of data sources. In my thesis I use big data and traditional data sources as they provide different, but complementary perspectives into urban diversity and its spatio-temporal patterns. 

The big data I use consists of geotagged social media content from Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, and mobile phone data from a large Finnish mobile phone operator. These sources of data provide information on the dynamic side of urban diversity.  

The traditional sources of data that I use consist of individual-level population register data and the statistical grid database. These data contain annual demographic and socio-economic information on the inhabitants of Finland. The location information is based on home locations; thus the data provides perspectives to the structural side of urban diversity. I also use these sources of data to contextualize my findings from big data sources.  

My work explores the patterns of linguistic and activity diversity both on national and regional scales across Finland, but also on the local neighbourhood-level within the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Temporally my work considers urban diversity across the times of day and weekly rhythms to annual and decade-long trends.  

Interdisciplinarity is also at the heart of the methods I use throughout this work. I use a combination of methods from natural language processing, machine learning, diversity measurement and spatial analysis to identify languages used in social media texts, detect objects and landscapes from photographs, quantify linguistic diversity, and analyze their spatio-temporal patterns. 

Finally, as I believe science and research should be available and accessible to everyone, all the analysis scripts I have used through this work are openly available online. The study of urban diversity inextricably concerns population groups who are disadvantaged societally and socio-economically, so opening the scripts is also an ethical step I take to ensure transparency of my work. 


In summary, study of urban diversity with traditional and big data sources is inherently an interdisciplinary endeavor. As urban diversity is complex and intersectional, reliance on any singular source of data or methodological tradition is bound to leave blind spots, so for a more balanced analysis interdisciplinarity is necessary. 


So, how is my thesis tackling this? 

My thesis has three objectives that I address through four distinct articles. Each article addresses several objectives from varying perspectives and spatio-temporal scales. The objectives are: 

  1. To reveal the urban diversity of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and its dynamism using social media and population register data 
  2. Explore the potential of applying both traditional and novel sources of data with interdisciplinary methods to the study of urban diversity through languages and activities 
  3. Advance the methodological framework for studying linguistic diversity and activities in GIScience

In my first article, I provide an analysis of the spatio-temporal linguistic diversity and richness of Finnish Twitter users from regional and user-based perspectives. In the article, I identified the languages used by Finnish Twitter users from geotagged and non-geotagged Tweets. I then quantified the linguistic diversity of the users to understand their individual linguistic repertoires, and the linguistic diversity of the regions they tweeted from. 

In my second article, I provide an example of using computer vision as an additional tool for extracting information from social media data. I examine differences in landscape preferences, activities, and broad visual themes from Flickr photographs between two groups of people, Finnish nationals and foreign tourists, visiting Finnish national parks. To do this, I use computer vision techniques to detect objects commonly associated with activities, classify photographs based on the landscapes, and cluster semantically similar content together to understand the visual themes in the content. 

In my third article, I investigate the variations of linguistic diversity in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area using population register and social media data. I use geotagged social media data from Twitter and Instagram, first language information from the population register, and mobile phone data to understand how language use, linguistic diversity and population presence vary across the area and the times-of-day.  

In my fourth and final article, I explore the spatio-temporal development of linguistic diversity in the Helsinki metropolitan area from 1987 to 2019. I use population register data to do this and focus on two language groups, speakers of Somali and Estonian. These groups arrived in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area around the same time, but for different reasons. I examine how the linguistic diversity and socio-economic characteristics of their residential environment has changed during this period, and what it reveals about their integration into the Finnish society. 


Ok, but what can be said based on these articles?  

The results of my thesis illustrate how the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is rapidly becoming more diverse. This diversity is apparent from both social media and population register data. The geographical distribution of linguistic diversity changes during the day and across several decades. This means where people are likely to encounter linguistic diversity also varies depending on the time of day and has changed over the years, which is crucial information for urban planning. 

My work also shows the value of language for the study of urban diversity in geography, as it can produce a more fine-grained understanding of the socio-spatial patterns compared to more commonly used variables. Conversely, my work shows the value of spatio-temporal approaches to the study of linguistic diversity and linguistic landscapes, which rarely adopt geographical approaches. 

My results also show that computer vision can be used as an additional tool to extract information on activities from social media data. Computer vision techniques are especially helpful when the textual content does not provide useful information, which often is the case with Flickr data.  This approach can also be used to circumvent other issues arising from textual content. 

My results demonstrate that by using interdisciplinary approaches, diverse sources of data, and sharing openly how the work was done can provide a viable path towards an increased understanding of urban diversity and a more socially sustainable future. 

In summary, diversity presents challenges, but also opportunities for cities. It needs to be understood so that the opportunities can be taken, and the challenges mitigated and overcome. My thesis provides a methodological framework and empirical examples as a starting point towards this goal. 

Human civilization is now an urban civilization and will not stop being one in the foreseeable future. Cities, urban planning, and decision-makers must keep up with the emerging social and spatial patterns of urban diversity to be able to effectively respond to challenges and seize the opportunities. This will support social sustainability, well-being, and cohesion in our cities. 

My thesis represents a small step in this direction: I have provided a methodological framework for the study of urban diversity by using information on languages and activities, and I have demonstrated its effectiveness across several spatial and temporal scales. 

But this work is just one step, and many more are needed. 

As they say “The world is not finished.” 

Cities and their populations keep growing and changing. Much work remains. 

I want to end my Lectio by coming back to the prediction that by 2050 70 % of the world’s population will live in cities. This underscores the importance of focusing on the people living in cities, because, and to paraphrase Shakespeare: 

“What is the city, but the people?”

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.


Väiski defended his PhD thesis – Grant McKenzie as opponent

Tuomas Väisänen aka “Väiski” successfully defended his PhD thesis last Friday!

The defence took place on the Friday 10th of November 2023 with Grant McKenzie, Associate Professor of Spatial Data Science from McGill University, Canada as the opponent.

See Väiski’s thesis “Diversity of places and people: Using big data to understand languages and activities across geographical space” here.

Earlier in the week, we had the privilege of hosting the opponent McKenzie at our premises and getting to know each other and our respective research groups’ works better, which sparked many new ideas.

The event-packed week culminated with Väiski’s defence and his lovely Karonkka party that followed in the evening.

Finally, after a long and exciting week, our happy new doctor was sent to home with celebrations to enjoy his wonderful achievement.

Hooray & hugs to Väiski! 🥳🤗

And many thanks also to the opponent McKenzie for visiting us and acting as the excellent counterpart for Väiski! 🤗

Enjoy the photos below, taken by Tatu Savolainen, Teuvo Väisänen and Grant McKenzie.

Väiski calling for the critical comments.

Väiski’s lectio praecursoria was excellent. See the separate post!

Proud supervisors Olle Järv and Tuuli Toivonen with Väiski and Grant.  Supervisor Tuomo Hiippala could not make it to the pic!

Digital Geography Lab say cheers to Väiski!

A well deserved karonkka group hug!

The day after was officially the most grey day of the year. Certainly didn’t feel like that despite the weather. Photo: Grant McKenzie.

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.

Tuomas Väisänen aka Väiski defending his PhD 10 November at noon!

Tuomas Väisänen will defend his PhD thesis titled

“Diversity of places and people: Using big data to understand languages and activities across geographical space”

Time: Friday 10th November, 12 o’clock noon
Place: the Festive hall (Juhlasali) of Language Center (Kielikeskus), University of Helsinki.


Associate professor Grant McKenzie from McGill University will act as the opponent and professor Tuuli Toivonen as custos.

The thesis is available in Helda




Tuomas’s opponent associate professor Grant McKenzie will give a talk with the title

“Place, Privacy, and Mobility: Navigating the Intersection of Location Science and Human Dynamics”

Time: Wednesday 8th November 10-12
Place: University of Helsinki, Kumpula Campus, Exactum B123

Register for the stream link:


You are most welcome to both events!

GREENTRAVEL project in full swing!

We are having exciting times at the Digital Geography Lab! 2023 marks the start of the European Research Council -funded project “Greener Urban Travel Environments for Everyone: From measured wellbeing impacts to Big Data analytics” (GREENTRAVEL) – the biggest and longest research project of the lab to date. After months of planning and recruitments, we are happy to announce that the GREENTRAVEL project team is complete, and the project is running at full speed.

The transdisciplinary GREENTRAVEL project runs until 2027 and has a budget of 1.98 million euros. The project focuses on studying the greenery of urban travel environments from various perspectives. More specifically, the project has set out to produce a novel understanding of the quality, availability and wellbeing impacts of green urban travel environments. Moreover, it will produce knowledge on how equally green exposure during travel and related wellbeing impacts are available to urban populations. Ultimately, the project will provide approaches and analysis on where to add greenery to advance equity. The project is led by professor Tuuli Toivonen.

The GREENTRAVEL project team. Photo by Christoph Fink.

Continue reading “GREENTRAVEL project in full swing!”

URBANAGE workshop as part of the European Researchers’ Night

Last week, the Digital Geography Lab organised a workshop for the European Researchers’ Night (Tutkijöiden Yö), one of only five to be hosted by the University of Helsinki’s evening programme at the Helsinki Observatory in the city centre.

At our workshop, we engaged visitors with concepts around urban accessibility, such as multimodal travel times in the Helsinki metropolitan area, one’s personal 15-minute city, and mobility justice between different groups of residents and between different neighbourhoods.

Two visitors lean over a large map (1.5 x 3.5 metres) of the Helsinki metropolitan area, drawing the area covered by 15 minutes walking around an important location to their lives
Two visitors explore how large their personal 15-minute neighbourhood (around a place important to their lives) is.

Together with a fantastic team of students, we prepared three interactive tasks for the visitors of the event, that targeted the general public, and was met with ample interest.

At one station, visitors were asked to locate a place important in their everyday lives on a large printed map, and mark it with a small sticker. Next, they would draw their estimate of how far they would reach around this point within 15 minutes, walking. For the next step, we prepared a piece of string that we measured and cut to represent the exact distance an average healthy adult would walk in those 15 minutes. Laying it along the streets and paths in the map, the visitor could then draw the area they can reach precisely into the map, adding to the personal accounts of numerous other visitors before them. Finally, we asked visitors to reflect whether or not the identified area contained all services they needed to access in their everyday lives, such as grocers, libraries, pharmacies, and public transport stops.

At another station, visitors could demonstrate their knowledge and intuition of accessibility in different neighbourhoods of the Helsinki metropolitan region, and compete against each other: Picking two neighbourhoods from a stack of cards, and rolling dice to determine the mode of transport, visitors guessed from which of the two neighbourhoods a larger area could be reached within 30 minutes. To verify the guess and gain points in the game, visitors used an interactive map interface designed by MSc student Eemil Haapanen to visualise and explore travel times across the city region.

Christoph Fink in front of an interactive map screen, pointing at the playing cards used in one of the station
Christoph Fink demonstrates how to use the interactive map visualisation used to verify correct guesses of multi-modal accessibility

At a third table, we encouraged visitors to express their experience when travelling through the city: which types of places do we perceive as pleasant to walk, cycle or drive through, which places as unpleasant? How important is a green environment on our daily trips? Where does the city work exceptionally well, and where would be room for improvement? What should the mobility and accessibility researchers at the Digital Geography Lab research in the future?

A poster (background is a map) with stickers and handwritten notes by visitors
Stickers and handwritten notes by visitors

The workshop was organised by researchers involved in the URBANAGE and GREENTRAVEL projects. The former looks into how older residents of cities could be considered better in urban planning when using Digital Urban Twin technologies. The latter looks into the importance of healthy and green travel environments on the well-being of city residents.

Miksi Vallilanlaakso jätettiin vaille omaa ratikkapysäkkiä?

Note for our international audience: This post deals with public transportation connections around our campus in Kumpula / Helsinki. As the matter is local, we publish this post in Finnish only.

Otimme hiljattain kantaa uuden Kalasatama-Pasila ratikan pysäkkisijoitteluun Vallilanlaaksossa.


  • Helsinkiin on valmistumassa uusi poikittainen raitiotielinja Kalasatamasta-Pasilaan, jota parhaillaan rakennettaan. Linja ohittaa myös Kumpulan kampuksen.
  • Kumpulan kampuksen saavutettavuudesta on keskustelu siitä lähtien, kun kampus valmistui vuosituhannen alusta. Myös me tutkimme jo 13 vuotta sitten Kumpulan kampuksen saavutettavuutta. Tuloksia julkaistiin esimerkiksi raportissa Solmukohta vai pussinperä? – Kumpulan kampus pääkaupunkiseudun joukkoliikenneverkossa
  • Nykyisellä suunnitelmalla, uuden raitiotielinjan varrella on 14 pysäkkiä noin 250 metrin välein.
  • Vallillanlaaksossa kampuksemme kohdalla pysäkkien välinen etäisyys on kuitenkin yli 1 km. Se on pisin etäisyys Helsingissä raitiotielle ilman pysäkkiä (tilanne ennen uuden pikaratikan käynnistymistä lokakuussa 2023).
  • Keskeinen argumentti julkisessa keskustelussa on ollut, että lisäpysäkki hidastaa ratikkaa “liikaa” ja että “puistossa ei ole ketään”.
  • Argumentoimme, että
    • Pysäkittömyys jättää merkittävän määrän potentiaalisia raitiotien käyttäjiä huomiotta niin Kumpulan kampuksella, kuin Vallilanlaaksoa ympäröivillä kasvavilla asuinalueilla. Myös viheralueen käyttäjät ja esimerkiksi Valillanlaakson jalkapallokenttien käyttäjät tarvitsisivat mielestämme pysäkkiä.
    • Kalliin raitiotielinjan suunnittelu ensisijaisesti kulkuneuvon nopeuden näkökulmasta on yksipuolista suunnittelua. Joukkoliikenteen tavoitteena on palvella kulkijoita myös reitin varrella, mahdollistaen lyhyet ja laadukkaat pysäkkimatkat.
  • Olemme koonneet alle:
    • Alkuperäisen kannanottomme Helsingin Sanomissa 21.8.2023
    • Helsingin liikenne- ja katusuunnittelupäällikkö Reetta Putkosen vastineen 23.8.2023
    • Oman aikaisemmin julkaisemattoman vastineemme Reetta Putkosen kirjoitukseen

Alkuperäinen kannanottomme HS 21.8.
Miksi Vallilanlaakso jätettiin ilman omaa ratikkapysäkkiä

Helsingin kaupungin vastine

Helsingin liikenne- ja katusuunnittelupäällikkö Reetta Putkonen kirjoitti vastineen kannanottoomme otsikolla “Vallilan­laakson pysäkki pienentäisi matkustaja­määriä” (HS 23.8)

Kirjoituksista on käyty myös aktiivista keskustelua esimerkiksi “Lisää Kaupunkia Helsinkiin”-ryhmässä:

Vastineemme Helsingin kaupungille

Kannustamme kaupunkia kokeiluun Vallilanlaaksossa

Julkaisemme ohessa vielä vastineemme Helsingin kaupungille kannustaaksemme kaupunkia kokeiluun Vallilanlaakson pysäkin osalta nyt rakennustöiden ollessa vielä käynnissä.

Helsingin liikenne- ja katusuunnittelupäällikkö Reetta Putkonen vastasi 23.8. aiempaan kirjoitukseemme Vallilanlaakson ratikkapysäkistä (HS 21.8.).

On hyvä kuulla kävelyä parantavista ratkaisuista puiston reunoilla. Pysäkin osalta Putkonen toteaa: ”Kun pysäkin mahdollisten käyttäjien määrä on ratkaisevasti pienempi kuin ohittavien matkustajien määrä, pysäkki todennäköisesti pienentäisi eikä kasvattaisi joukkoliikenteen matkustajamäärää kokonaisuutena.”

Eikö lähes aina joukkoliikennevälineen kyydissä ole enemmän ihmisiä kuin mitä yksittäisellä pysäkillä jää pois tai nousee sisään? Reitille on nyt rakenteilla 14 pysäkkiä. Jättäisikö merkittävä määrä Kalasatamasta Pasilaan mieliviä nousemasta kyytiin, jos reitillä olisi tuo 15. pysäkki? Nyt yli kilometrin mittainen väli taitaa olla pisin pysäkitön ratikkamatka Helsingissä, vaikka muuten pysäkkejä on keskimäärin 250 metrin välein reitillä.

Vilkkaan puistoalueen läpi päivittäin kulkevina ja sen asukas- ja liikuntadataan sekä Kätilöopiston suunnitelmiin perehtyneinä meidän on vaikea uskoa, etteikö käyttäjiä sille olisi. Putkosen kommentti edustaa aikakeskeistä liikennesuunnittelua, jossa ihmisten väliset erot ja pysäkkien läheisten liikkumisympäristöjen merkitys jää laskelmissa huomiotta. Pysäkittömyyden taustalla oleva laskelma itsessään on eittämättä tehty huolella, mutta mittaamalla vain matka-aikaa sekunneissa ja pysyviä asukkaita, ei tavoiteta esimerkiksi viheralueiden saavutettavuuden moninaisia hyötyjä.

Pysäkin tarvetta on Putkosen mukaan jouduttu selvittämään jo monesti, mikä viittaa epävarmuuksiin asian ympärillä. Kun koneet vielä möyrivät Vallilanlaaksoa kokonaan uuteen muotoon, kannustamme kaupunkia ketterään urbaaniin kokeiluun ja laittamaan väliaikaisen pysäkin jalkapallokenttien tasoristeyksen läheisyyteen. Jos nousijoita ei ole riittävästi, voi pysäkin myöhemmin ottaa pois. Kokeilun avulla saatu päätös perustuisi todelliseen käyttötietoon.

Elias Willberg
Christoph Fink
Tuuli Toivonen


Kuva 1. Vallilanlaakson ratikkapysäkin puuttumista on perusteltu mm. sillä, että “puistossa ei ole ketään”. Kuvassa on esitetty joitakin käyttäjäryhmiä, jotka analyyseissä on jätetty huomiotta. Kumpulan kampuksen dynaamisen väestön kaavio perustuu tieteellisessä artikkelissa kuvattuun matkapuhelinaineistoon.


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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.

The MOBI-TWIN project kick-started!

Mobi-Twin logo


What is it about

The Horizon Europe funded MOBI-TWIN – Twin transition and changing patterns of spatial mobility: a regional approach – sets out to redefine regional attractiveness in the context of significant global transition processes such as the green and digital transition. The project aims to analyze the changing drivers of spatial mobility and examine the effects of twin transitions on regional attractiveness and human (im)mobility.

The twin transition presents both opportunities and challenges for regions across Europe. As certain areas become more alluring due to the emerging prospects brought forth by the green and digital revolution, others risk being left behind. By utilising advanced information and computer modeling techniques, MOBI-TWIN seeks to comprehensively understand the impact of these changes on different regions of Europe and develop innovative policies that promote balance and inclusivity by harnessing the positive effects of Twin Transition.

A primary focus of MOBI-TWIN is to unravel the underlying factors that influence individuals’ decisions to relocate and how these factors may evolve in response to global changes. By analyzing various types of moves, including permanent relocations, commuting patterns, and temporary stays, the project aims to gain insights into the intricate dynamics and implications for different European regions.

How we do it

Taking a step further, MOBI-TWIN employs a specialised computer model to simulate the potential outcomes of people’s mobility in the face of the Twin Transition. This includes assessing the potential influx of individuals into specific locations, the types of jobs they may acquire, and the subsequent impact on regional populations, social structures, welfare system, and labour markets. By leveraging these findings, MOBI-TWIN aims to propose policies that harness the positive aspects of these changes and maximise the benefits for different areas. Of particular importance is the examination of how the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have affected freedom of movement between EU regions.

Our objectives

  • UNDERSTAND patterns, drivers, and forms of spatial mobility during Twin Transition.
  • REDEFINE regional attractiveness under the effects of Twin Transition and develop novel typologies of EU regions.
  • ANALYSE the effects of spatial mobility on EU demographics, society, welfare systems and labour market using microsimulation and agent-based modelling.
  • INITIATE an open policy discussion and engage stakeholders and society on the effects of Twin Transition on spatial mobility for addressing regional inequalities across EU regions.
  • MAXIMISE MOBI-TWIN’s impact by disseminating project’s outcomes to a wide audience and engage multiple types of stakeholders.

The role of DGL

At University of Helsinki, the Digital Geography Lab (DGL), based in the Department of Geosciences and Geography, provides expertise on spatial mobility and big data analytics to the project and gives special focus to cross-border regions, multilocal living and remote working. The lab provides understanding on when and where mobility flows from various forms (migration, commuting, temporary mobility) between the EU regions take place and what factors describe the mobility differences over time. The lab is also responsible for creating and managing the complete database of the project and carrying out one of the pilot studies in the North & East Finland (e.g., South Savo). The project from DGL part is led by Olle Järv (PI) and carried out by closely working together with Tuomas Väisänen.

The consortium

The MOBI-TWIN project runs until May 2026 and brings together 9 partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Cyprus, and Finland: White Research SRL, Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Universitat de Barcelona, Helsingin Yliopisto, Fondation Europeenne de la Science, Politecnico di Milano, Erevnitiko Panepistimiako Institouto Periferiakis Anaptixis, Acceligence Ltd.

MOBI-TWIN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement N° 101094402, with a total budget of 2.91 million euros.

Follow MOBI-TWIN’s journey

Check out the project’s website at and be updated via Twitter (@MobiTwinProject) and LinkedIn (@mobi-twin-project-heu).


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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.