Kortepohja is planned for people

Text: Mari Lähteenmäki | Pictures: Tiina Salminen, Visual Friday

Kortepohja neighborhood is unique in that the ideals of 1960s and 1970s suburban construction are realized in different ways in different areas.  

The Auvilankuja and Torpankuja townhouse blocks are colorful prefabricated buildings that were added to the DOCOMOMO register in 1994.  

At the southern end of Kortepohja, the tall student housing tower blocks dominate. Their distinctive facade elements and the use of dark green as an accent color give the Kortepohja Student Village a strong visual identity.  

The newest building in the Kortepohja central area, Kortetalo, was built by the Jyväskylän Tilapalvelu facility services. It serves as the home to a library, school, daycare centre, and youth service facilities.  

Kortetalo instills confidence that the city of Jyväskylä wants Kortepohja to develop. This encourages local actors to invest in renovating and upgrading their buildings. Soihtu, one of the area’s major property owners, has committed to being a developer of the area. Soihtu’s vision is to create some of the best living environments in Finland. This goal doesn’t seem far-fetched, considering Kortepohja Student Village has won the “Best ARA Apartments of the Year” award from the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland Ara. 

Soihtu’s CEO Timo Lahtinen reviews the criteria of the award. The positive impact of Soihtu’s construction projects on the entire neighborhood and the circular economy goals achieved in the renovations were recognized by the award provider. Over 700 apartments have been renovated, common areas have been relocated to Rentukka building, and students have been involved in the planning process. “Collaboration and open discussion are key to success”, summarizes Timo Lahtinen. 

In February 2023, a zoning plan was presented that would allow for new student housing and a grocery store to be built in the Student Village through supplementary construction.  

Jussi Sievänen, a city planner in Jyväskylä, is involved in the Kortepohja neighborhood’s zoning process. 

Sievänen states that involving current residents can help to utilize their knowledge and experiences and take their needs into account. According to Sievänen, it is especially important to remember the voices that may otherwise stay unheard, such as children and young people, in the planning of the city.  

Supplementary construction in existing urban structures is favorable in terms of resources, but inevitably changes the familiar views of the neighborhood. The zoning process is inclusive, and feedback obtained at different stages is utilized in the next stage. The long-term goal of urban planning is to ensure the well-being of future residents and maintaining services in the area. 

The long-term goal of urban planning is to ensure the well-being of future residents and maintaining services in the area.

In the picture: Jussi Sievänen

Jussi Sievänen in Kortepohja

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