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.

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