a clear and long-term trend that the business world and offices require less square footage, he said. In all of the major cities, we are pondering how to attract people back to the city center. To achieve this, one crucial way to achieve this is by enhancing residential options in the downtown area. It's time to kickstart this work and move swiftly towards implementation, Vartiainen emphasises.
The first phase of the study will be aimed at providing economic insights into the current ratio of commercial and residential spaces in Helsinki. The study also explores how city policies can concretely affect this ratio.
The ultimate objective of this endeavor is to encourage changes in usage while promoting residential development in the city center. The data generated will also inform broader strategic urban planning initiatives, such as potential updates to the general plan and the development of specific zoning regulations related to conversion of spaces.
The work will be carried out over the remainder of 2023. The City Planning Department's guidance will be used to assess how the city's implementation affects the realization of changes in usage. Planning decisions are made by factors like general and detailed land use plans, guidelines for downtown development, and principles governing the conversion of spaces.
The guidelines for changes in usage will be updated and presented to the City Planning Committee and subsequently to the City Board for approval. This effort will also help improve the capacity to assess the need for changes to the general plan from this perspective.
The city Planning Department will ensure that conversions from commercial to residential use in downtown areas are prioritized with greater flexibility and case-by-case consideration, fostering a more adaptable and responsive urban environment.