abstractright abstractright

City of Vaasa, City Centre Strategy – A Leap Over the Rail Tracks

The emphasis on Vaasa’s centre strategy is on land use, traffic, and how services and businesses are dependent of each other. The target year is 2035, but instead of a tight schedule it is important to understand the project scale, environmental questions, order of importance, and dependencies. The strategy has been well received by the different parties in Vaasa.

Optimizing land use within historical city structures demands the extensive knowledge of the conditions of additional construction by each city block and property.

The work takes into consideration the following matters: construction effectiveness and the cityscape; car and bicycle parking; elderly mobility; improving energy efficiency; economical growth; preservation guidelines; and the effects to the city centre traffic.

“A Leap Over the Rail Tracks”

The heart of the centre and the business district surround the town market square. As the city grows, it is important to look into the possibility of expanding the centre to the east side of the rail tracks.

“A leap over the rail tracks” makes it possible to utilize the Klemettilä area that is currently underused. An increase in the number of apartments in the centre affects its vitality, the amount of errand runs, and the ecological sustainability of the city structure.

The largest portion of additional and new construction would be located on the east side of the rail tracks, in Klemettilä next to the city centre. More apartments and services should be located into Klemettilä, but the current businesses should also be retained.

The new services in Klemettilä should be profiled in such a way that they are attractive, but sufficiently varying from the centre’s services so that there is no competing between the two. An increase in the population will cause a rise in traffic volume.

Public Transport and Pedestrian and Bicycle Traffic Is Important

The most significant and most expensive project for the centre is the centre tunnel. To reduce the dependence on cars, we have to develop public transport and bicycling and pedestrian areas, for example by increasing the number of fast bicycling routes and developing slower bicycle traffic in the centre area.

The centre pedestrian area development is important for the businesses. The most essential thing is to ensure good connections across the rail tracks from the current centre to Klemettilä so that “the leap across the rail tracks” will be safe and easy even without a car.

Citizens, centre businesses, and officials were involved in the different stages of the work.

Project information:

Client: The city of Vaasa

Project duration: 2011–2012