Kera industrial park is being transformed into lively neighbourhood.

Kera Challenge: How to transfrom an industrial park into a liveable neighbourhood?

Kera Challenge is an open, needs-driven innovation competition. The logistics centre of S Group, a Finnish retailing cooperative, is moving out of Kera, Espoo, during the next few years. The 22 hectare industrial park is located right by the Kera train station - only a 20 minute train ride away from downtown Helsinki - and will soon be transformed into a residential neigbourhood. 

The first phase of the Challenge is now over. Jury consisting of eight experts has selected the four finalist teams of Kera Challenge.

The four finalists are:

Co-Op City by BM-Architects, WSP, Designer Päivi Raivio and Setlementtiasunnot Oy

“Building of the urban areas of the future will start by building the public space, not buildings first. Public urban space acts as a catalyst for identity creation, new economic activity and social interaction and sharing. Central Park of Kera forms the green heart of the co-op city.”

Circular economy concepts, joint building ventures, co-creation and communal living were the strengths of this extensive proposal. Especially the focus on circular economy and the diverse possibilities it offers was an important factor for the jury to select this proposal.

Kera Era by Studio Puisto Architects and Hukkatila

“New Kera consists of three parallel scenarios that are derived from the challenges and potentials that cities offer in the Nordics. Described in a few words the scenarios are: ‘wellbeing’ ‘superlocal vs superglobal’ and ‘shared resources’. A neighborhood is defined by its inhabitants rather than by its build environment.”

The jury was impressed by the overall quality of this proposal that answered the competition criteria very well. The team had used the backcasting method and focused on understanding the needs of the future residents in detail. Giving concrete examples of collaboration networks and identifying connections with on-going initiatives in Kera made this proposal even more convincing. 







Kera Lane by Ramboll, HAMK and Rudus

“Kera Lane integrates the challenges of temporary use and material recycling into a long term success story that gradually transforms Kera towards a unique and attracting neighborhood. The core of the Kera Lane is the Kera Passageway already from the beginning of this story.”

This proposal lays out a plan how to use the existing buildings during different phases of the transformation of Kera. The jury was particularly fond of the thoroughness of the proposed recycling and circular economy concepts, as the absolute amount of the waste material in the area is so significant. The jury also valued the consideration of four seasons and what they mean for the needs of future residents. 

Urban Incubator by LPR, GAIA and Elomatic

“A vibrant city could be the successful result of urban evolution, where an old industrial area is transformed into a hub of new business, culture and highly-valued housing. How can this development be catalyzed and accelerated? A concept for Urban Incubator is needed, which is indispensable element for developing Smart Cities.”

This proposal was chosen because of its concrete idea for temporary use of existing buildings as an incubator for new business activity, for example local food production. The proposal anchors itself to the startup ecosystem of the Helsinki region with a possibility for larger development and great export potential particularly related to consumer cleantech.  

During the spring 2016, the finalist teams will further develop their proposals. 

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