Expansion of the urban centre – or shopping mall as alternative to city centre?

In a recent interview, published in the Finnish weekly Image, I discuss the predominant narrative of Helsinki’s current development, which claims to focus on the expansion of the urban centre, very much within the context of a perceived “renaissance of the city”. The main point I want to make in the interview is that, contrary to this focus on a positive tale of vibrant urbanity, current developments in Kalasatama/East Harbour (as well as in Pasila), seem to take, rather, the model of the shopping mall, in a narrative of maximized consumption within private space. One (freely translated) quote: “It’s not so much about having nice storefront cafés where you can drink café latte – it’s about whether we want a city, where it is possible to meet people that think differently and that vote differently, in public space.”



Picture: Timo Villanen / Source: Image.fi

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