Our Competence Cluster

We are a community of universities, research institutions, businesses and cities working together towards urban transformations.


Synergies between universities

University of Helsinki

Christopher Raymond
  • Professor of Sustainability Science and Project Coordinator

  • Department for Economics and Management and Program for Ecosystems and Environment

Professor Raymond develops participatory methods for assessing the multiple values of nature, and evaluates how cross-sectoral governance processes enable urban sustainability transformations. He is Coordinator of Transformative Cities, Member of the Finnish Nature Panel and Leader of the Human-Nature Transformations Research Group.

Janina Käyhkö
  • University lecturer

  • Ecosystems and Environment research programme

Janina’s research on climate change adaptation currently focuses on urban climate risks and adaptation policy development. Her broader research interests concern the complex decision-making processes in changing socio-ecological systems and the development of novel methodological approaches, such as serious gaming, as well as dialogue in the science-policy-practice interface.

Eveliina Dunkel
  • PhD researcher

  • Ecosystems and Environment research programme

Eveliina is a doctoral researcher focusing on the complex relationships between urban planning and civil society in urban sustainability transformations. She wants to better understand how cities could be planned and governed with more consideration to their multiple users and functions, while acknowledging the need for rapid changes due to climate change and other ecological challenges. Eveliina’s background is in sustainability science (MSc) and environmental sciences (BSc), with focus on urban studies and environmental policy. Prior to this, she worked with performing arts and dance pedagogics (BA), from which she draws her interest in collective learning processes and social practices.

Jenna Jylhä
  • Project Manager, MSc student

  • Ecosystems and Environment research programme

Jenna Jylhä is a student in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) – Global Sustainability Master’s program at the University of Helsinki. She completed her BSc in Agricultural Economics. As a Project Manager, Jenna applies her academic knowledge to support sustainable urban development initiatives. Her work focuses on contributing effectively to both the academic study and practical management of business and research-related projects.

Aalto University

Marketta Kyttä
  • Professor of Land Use Planning

  • Department of Built Environment

Marketta has her background in environmental psychology and participatory planning. Her team concentrates on research with PPGIS (public participation GIS) methodology studying themes like environmental health promotion, social sustainability, age- and child-friendly environments and participatory planning.

Tiina Rinne
  • Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Department of Built Environment

Tiina’s research focuses mostly on the health promoting aspects of the built environment. Her research covers topics related to urban and transport planning interventions and everyday mobility, the role of urban planning in supporting human and planetary wellbeing, age- and child-friendly environments, and participatory mapping methods.

Valtteri Nurminen
  • PhD researcher

  • Department of Built Environment

Valtteri is a PhD researcher at Aalto University especially interested in livable and sustainable urban environments. He has been previously researching the influence of participatory mapping on urban planning. Valtteri has work experience as a transport planner in the city of Espoo.

University of Turku

Nora Fagerholm
  • Associate Professor

  • Department of Geography and Geology

Nora Fagerholm is Associate Professor in Human-Nature Interactions and Sustainability. She is committed to inter- and transdisciplinary research and applies digital and geospatial technologies and participatory methods to understand people-place relations and foster sustainability transformations.

Felix Hallikainen
  • PhD Researcher

  • Department of Geography and Geology

Felix Hallikainen is a PhD researcher with a background in spatial planning, transport engineering, and data science. The emphasis of his study is on sustainable & active mobility and well-being in urban environments.

University of Oulu

Ossi Kotavaara
  • Research director

  • Kerttu Saalasti Institute

Ossi leads the multidisciplinary Regional Excellence (REx) research team, which uses geographic information and regional science to contribute to evidence-based knowledge of regional processes, structures and dynamics. The research aims to promote the vitality and resilience of regions as well as social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Marton Magyar
  • PhD Researcher

  • Kerttu Saalasti Institute

Marton is a PhD researcher with background in cartography and spatial analysis. He has worked as a GIS specialist in the field of BusinessGIS. His research interests include big data analysis, process scripting and web mapping.

University of Eastern Finland

Niko Soininen
  • Professor of Environmental Law

  • Law School

Niko leads a research group on sustainability law at UEF. His research focuses on the role of law in sustainability transformation in multiple contexts, including freshwater, marine and urban systems. Outside academia, he has worked as a consultant for HELCOM, the World Bank, and for several Finnish ministries.

Francesco Venuti
  • PhD researcher

  • Law School

Francesco is a PhD researcher at the University of Eastern Finland interested in studying the legal feasibility of implementing nature-based solutions across European cities. The main research areas addressed by his project are biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation through the lens of urban flood and stormwater management.

Aleksi Heinilä
  • University Lecturer

  • Law School

Aleksi works as Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at UEF Law School. He is a planning and building law expert focusing at present on interdisciplinary research concerning the governance of land use issues. He also has extensive experience in Finnish environmental administration as an environmental law specialist.

ETH Zurich

Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
  • Professor of Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems

  • Dep. of Civil, Env. and Geomatic Eng.

Adrienne Grêt-​Regamey is an environmental scientist and landscape planner. She has been Professor at the Chair of Planning Landscape and Urban Systems at the Institute for Spatial and Landscape Development, ETH Zürich (Switzerland) since 2008.

The New School

Timon McPhearson
  • Associate professor

  • The New School

Timon McPhearson is Professor of Urban Ecology, Director of the Urban Systems Lab, and research faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School.


Active collaborators of the project

The city of Espoo is deeply committed to sustainable urban transformation. As part of the SDG Cities Platform, Espoo is committed to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2025. To achieve this goal, the city will work together with companies and other partners to create solutions that will serve as examples of carbon-neutral urban lifestyles of the future. Espoo is working with the themes of smart cities, circular economy, energy and mobility, to reduce emissions, safeguard natural values and increase wellbeing.

The city of Helsinki in one of the leading cities worldwide in urban climate policy and sustainability transformation governance with its advanced climate change adaptation planning and reporting system, the ambitious 2030 carbon neutrality strategy, Agenda 2030 reporting protocol and the current city strategy focusing on becoming the most functional city in the world. The city strategy strongly emphasises digitalisation for sustainable growth. Thus, the city of Helsinki serves as an invaluable active case study site in Transformative Cities, providing crucial municipal governance expertise regarding the focus areas of the project.

The city of Oulu contributes strongly to the Oulu region’s climate strategy supporting the targets of Finland to become carbon neutral by 2035. Oulu strongly emphasises digitalisation, sustainable growth and sustainability in land-use planning. Oulu is one the leading cities in urban biking particularly in the northern context. To promote carbon neutrality by biking and pedestrian accessibility, Oulu has invested in advanced infrastructure for both light traffic modes. Easily navigable and fast biking lanes are efficiently connecting the whole city region. Thus, the city of Oulu can provide crucial municipal governance expertise regarding the focus areas of the Transformative Cities project.

The city of Lahti developed and piloted a personal carbon trading model and application as the first city in the world, with the aim to encourage people to make more sustainable transport choices, and in which also mobility data was collected and analysed. Lahti is actively implementing different projects and initiatives to promote and enable more sustainable lifestyles. Furthermore, the city is actively developing and improving the citizen engagement and participation methods and processes that can directly benefit from the Transformative Cities research impact, including the mobility, sustainable lifestyle and decision arena methods, to be developed in the project.

KONE is a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry. It combines the physical world – escalators and elevators – with smart and connected digital systems. The concrete purpose of the collaboration in the project is to help strategise actions that are tailored towards alternative carbon neutral and climate resilient futures. These strategies will help the company to manage climate risks and support the identification of opportunities for experimentation. In addition, the collaboration will provide KONE with new data and information on the effectiveness of different tools developed in the project, and opportunities to collaborate with a wide network of international researchers, Finnish cities and companies on solving the challenges of urban green and digital transformation.

Telia Finland is one of the leading mobility data providers in Northern Europe. Supporting urban climate policy and sustainability transformation governance is valuable for Telia as well as advancing climate change adaptation planning and carbon neutrality strategies. Telia cooperates in the project by providing tailored data for research use, taking part in the project’s co-creation workshops and providing mobility data expertise regarding the focus areas of Transformative Cities.

YIT is a major construction and development company operating in Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and the CEE countries. YIT’s activities cover many mixed use projects with an aim to improve urban attractiveness and sustainability in Finland, including the. Raide-Jokeri light rail lane and the Tripla mall in Helsinki, as well as the development of the Keilaniemi area in Espoo and the Asemakeskus area in Tampere.

Sova3D develops a web-based 3D publishing environment for building construction and geo industries. It has been working on publishing urban 3D content with municipalities, construction companies, and real estate investors. Sova3D is one of the winners of Finland Prestige Awards in 2020-2021, more specifically the 3D Publishing Solution of the Year. Sova3D’s expertise in the integration of various geospatial data sources has resulted in a cutting-edge technology for 3D web browsing of large city and construction models. This expertise is very useful for the Transformative Cities project.

Sitra’s work consists of research, studies, trials, pilots, events, and training that are all closely related to the foundation’s three strategic themes. These strategic themes present the most central challenges for the future sustainable well-being in Finland. The aims of Transformative Cities are highly relevant for Sitra’s interests regarding sustainable everyday life, in particular how to involve people in sustainable lifestyles and accelerate action to benefit the climate and nature. Sitra plans to complement and enhance the project’s competence cluster by providing its world-leading expertise in translating scientific information into policy-relevant insights for national, regional and municipal decision-makers.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of Finland (ITS Finland)is a forum for collaboration with a common cause: building a safe, smooth and sustainable future. ITS Finland complements and enhances the Transformative Cities competence cluster by providing access to a network of governmental, research and educational institutions that are interested in developing digital transition tools for supporting smooth and sustainable mobility. ITS Finland hosts a range of events that are linked to the themes of the project and enable stakeholders to re-think smart mobility through digitalisation, automation and sustainable investments.

Mapita provides an active sensing solution first to create map-based questionnaires and later an entire platform for community engagement. The Maptionnaire Community Engagement Platform bridges the gap between a city and its residents. At its core are the map-based tools for designing questionnaires, collecting data, and conveying information. Maptionnaire is a world leading public participation GIS (PPGIS) platform that has been used in 40 countries in more than 10 000 projects. The expertise of Mapita is highly useful for the Transformative Cities project especially in relation to the ways in which the knowledge produced with active sensing promotes carbon neutral and climate resilient futures for cities.

HSY is the leading Finnish urban environmental organisation and provides municipal water supply and waste management services, as well as information on the Helsinki metropolitan area and environment. HSY has a long experience in providing and utilising digitalised spatial data on urban environment and sustainability transformations.


Strategic support for our project

  • Tuuli Toivonen, University of Helsinki

  • Samira Ramezani, University of Groningen

  • Stephan Barthel, University of Gävle

  • Age Poom, University of Tartu

  • Eric Delmelle, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Arto Pesola, Active Life Lab

  • Jasper Schipperijn, University of Southern Denmark

  • Pat Reed, Participatory Mapping Institute

  • Timo von Wirth, Frankfurt UAS