Nordic Case Competition developing sustainable Otaniemi waterfront walkway

Press release 6.11.2015

Winners of Nordic Case Competition in Sustainable Urban Development were selected on 28.10.2015 in Espoo. This multidisciplinary urban planning course focused on socio-ecological approach. It brought together students, teachers, professors, practitioners and leading experts from Nordic countries to work on a real-life planning case, Otaniemi waterfront walkway. The intensive days were held October 26-28, 2015 in Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Center and Aalto University main campus Otaniemi in Espoo, Finland.

The participants in the Nordic Case Competition were invited by leading professors in the field and represented all Nordic countries. The project was a part of Nordic Sustainable Campus Network´s project, Rio+20 in Nordic Higher Education Institutions.

Jury selected student team number five “W(e)ave Walk” as winner, which was also voted as favorite by the audience. Members:

  • Inka Norros, landscape architecture, Aalto University, Finland
  • Eira Jacobsson, architecture, KTH, Sweden
  • Joel Jalkanen, environmental sciences / urban ecology, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Ann-Catrin Wells, social sciences / cultural geography, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Ingvild Kaurstad Mørk, human geography, University of Oslo, Norway

Second prize was given to team number two, “Unbreak the Heart”, members:

  • Hanna-Maaria Kiema, architecture, Aalto University, Finland
  • Rawaf al Rawaf, architecture / social-ecological view, Stockholm Resilience Center, Sweden
  • Katri Backman, geography, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Karl Nygren, social sciences / cultural geography, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Ann-Elise Gustavsen, urban planning / construction management, DTU, Denmark

All 5 student presentations are available at:

The course highlighted the social-ecological approach of urban planning. During the course, the student teams created a plan to develop urban pathways and recreational routes in Otaniemi peninsula. The case was strongly anchored into existing concerns, and stakeholders were eager to hear the results. The program included input from Otaniemi stakeholders like local residents´ representatives, student union AYY, city of Espoo, Espoo association for nature conservation ESPYY and Aalto University vice president for campus development Antti Ahlava.

The group work was facilitated by experienced researchers with different orientations around urban planning. In addition, the course featured inspirational talks from experts, e.g. Dr. Stephan Barthel from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. On the final day the student teams presented their solutions to a wider audience. Jury evaluated the results and gave feedback. The course work also included a written pre-assignment before the intensive course as well as a written report after the course on the learning experiences and case outcomes.

Nordic Case Competition academic tutors:

  • Aija Staffans, Senior Research Fellow, Architect, Aalto University ENG
  • Antti Lehto, Architecture, Aalto University ARTS
  • Kati Vierikko, Urban ecology, University of Helsinki
  • Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen, Architecture / socio-ecological view, Aalto University ENG
  • Outi Tahvonen, Landscpe architecture, Aalto University ARTS
  • Salla Jokela, Geography, University of Helsinki

Nordic Case Competition jury members:

  • Ulla Loukkaanhuhta, Head of Department, Landscape, Ramboll Finland, Otaniemi resident
  • Antti Uusitupa, Architect, Espoo Town Planning Department
  • Pauliina Skyttä, Architect, Aalto University Campus and Real Estate
  • Stephen Venn, biologist at Univ.of Helsinki and chair for ESPYY, Espoo association for nature conservation

The course was financially covered by Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre, the Nordic Council of Ministers and Aalto University. Organizers included also Urban Academy, Helsinki University and Nordic Sustainable Campus Network (NSCN).

Warm thanks for collaborators and congratulations for the successful teams!

About Nordic Case Competition 2015, NSCN and Rio+20 project:

Contact persons:

  • Jonna Similä, programme coordinator, HanaAcademy, Hanasaari – the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Center,, +358 9 4350 2413,
  • Meri Löyttyniemi, chair of Nordic Sustainable Campus Network NSCN,, +358 50 313 7549,
  • Meeri Karvinen, project manager for NSCN, Aalto University,, +358 50 407 1884,
  • Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen, researcher, YTK/Land Use Planning and Urban Studies Group, Aalto University School of Engineering,,
  • Salla Jokela, coordinator, Urban Academy network,, +358 40 861 4224,



Case Competition 2015 in Urban Sustainable Development was a fantastic collaborative journey. Participants and contributors in front of Hanasaari after successfully working on Otaniemi waterfront walkway. Photos Maria Viitanen, Aalto ENG

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