In cities, different structural changes have created underused areas, the development of which presents a challenge for designers, local authorities, real estate owners and other operators alike. The temporary activation of underused areas has been observed to have many positive impacts. Despite it being a successful practice elsewhere in the world, in Finland it is uncommon for private property owners or local public authorities to open up empty spaces for temporary use.
Tilapioneerit is a project course organised by the University of Helsinki, which studies and promotes the temporary use of underused premises or premises undergoing a change of use in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. It approaches the development of areas from a multidisciplinary viewpoint and makes use of project-based learning techniques in current and real life environments. On the course, students seek fresh and unprejudiced ideas on how the premises can be used. These ideas are tested in urban festival produced by the students as well as in different short-term trials at the acquired space. Within a six weeks course students get acquainted with temporary uses, circular economy and urban development while creating their own ideas and experiments for temporary uses. The course is based on project-based learning approach supporting students’ action competence.
“Tilapioneerit (Urban Pioneers): Teacher’s guide to project course with impact” has been produced as part of a project “Circular economy teaching for all levels of education” funded by The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in 2017–2019. The guide aims to support teachers and educational staff in organizing a project course in the neighbourhood of the school. The teaching material can be adapted to multidisciplinary education in universities, universities of applied sciences and upper secondary education.