Vacant Spaces

The Vacant Spaces (Tyhjät tilat) project commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment searched for new solutions and methods for revitalizing unused spaces.

There are vast amounts of unused spaces all around Finland and other countries: empty office spaces, vacated military premises, small municipal offices and old industrial buildings. Different spaces that await for new solutions as they no longer meet today’s demands.

Structural changes in economy, industry, trade and public sector organization reforms may leave large numbers of real estates and spaces without use also in future.

The Vacant Spaces project looked at existing spaces as a resource that should be taken in better use both on a temporary and long term basis, building ground for a more resource efficient and culturally sustainable use of the built environment. Inventive and flexible solutions for real estate management and reuse can also create lively and diverse urban environments and characteristic spaces where their users can have an impact.

The project was based on an interactive process with various stakeholders. The intent was to activate different stakeholders to take action in practice, while Ministry of the Environment could act as a facilitator to bring these different fields together and help to sort out certain contradictory interests. In order to be able to better utilize those spaces lying unused, we need a new working logic in many professional areas: from legislation and zoning to common practices of the construction industry and real estate economy and management.

The project was organized as part of the Design Exchange Programme, with Hella Hernberg as project leader.

  • Client: Ministry of the Environment
  • Project year: 2013