Strong and influential urban policies strengthen entire Finland

Joint statement by C21 cities

Finland’s C21 cities establish a permanent network to strengthen dialogue on urban policies and their joint promotion of interests.

Urbanization is a global megatrend. It is also a powerful national trend. Finland is not exempt from this phenomenon; more and more people in Finland are moving to cities. Already more than half of the Finnish population live in the C21 cities of Finland – the 21 biggest cities of the country – and their share is expected to grow. The newest trend is a powerful appeal of city centres and the growth of cities in their cores.

Urbanization involves great opportunities, as well as significant challenges. While cities have better opportunities to create economic growth and prosperity in Finland than before, many social problems are concentrated in our cities. Growing inequality, tensions arising from multiculturalism and demands for sustainable urban growth are only a few examples of the great questions faced by our cities, as well as by communities worldwide.

The success of the Helsinki metropolitan area and the other large urban areas of Finland is of crucial importance for the international competitiveness of the entire Finland. To secure balanced regional development, it is vital that Finnish regions have dynamic urban centres.

The national interest of Finland demands strong and visionary urban policies. Finland has no tradition of strong urban policies, and Finnish cities themselves are partially to blame for this fact.

We need various types of urban policy forums, urban research and promotion of urban interests in order to develop an urban policy agenda and to define the joint objectives of Finland’s biggest cities. As a result, the C21 cities of Finland have decided to establish a permanent assembly and to organize a regular meeting of the top officials of the cities twice a year.

In a small nation, it is in the national interest to utilize all resources of the country. The development of urban regions and the development of the nation are not conflicting objectives. The stronger the Finnish cities, and the more dynamic the urban policies of Finland, the stronger Finland is as a nation. The cities want to shoulder responsibility for all of Finland. The national reforms of social welfare, health care and regional governance should strengthen cities as builders of economic dynamism. The reforms should be based on the principle of subsidiarity: according to this principle, legislation and public administration should flexibly enable various types of solutions for regions.

  • Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki
  • Jukka Mäkelä, Espoo
  • Lauri Lyly, Tampere
  • Kari Nenonen, Vantaa
  • Päivi Laajala, Oulu
  • Aleksi Randell, Turku
  • Timo Koivisto, Jyväskylä
  • Jyrki Myllyvirta, Lahti
  • Jarmo Pirhonen, Kuopio
  • Marita Toikka, Kouvola
  • Aino-Maija Luukkonen, Pori
  • Kari Karjalainen, Joensuu
  • Kimmo Jarva, Lappeenranta
  • Timo Kenakkala, Hämeenlinna
  • Tomas Häyry, Vaasa
  • Esko Lotvonen, Rovaniemi
  • Jorma Rasinmäki, Seinäjoki
  • Timo Halonen, Mikkeli
  • Jorma Haapanen, Kotka
  • Lauri Inna, Salo
  • Jukka-Pekka Ujula, Porvoo

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