Green councillors urge government to take action to develop cities

Green councillor groups from the ten largest cities in Finland have tabled a list of demands concerning urban policy making.

The councillors propose, for example, that local governments adopt a more ambitious approach to climate policy, and take action to promote education, effective urban transport and the transition toward denser urban environments - writes

Greens’ five ways to develop cities:

  • Pursue a more ambitious climate policy
  • Promote equality in education and early-childhood education
  • Promote green, effective urban transport
  • Create a denser, more pleasant and more vital urban environment
  • Protect forests

Half of the demands have been directed specifically at the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) – particularly, at its alleged lack of urban policy and insistence on implementing the regional government reform. The councillors argue that the current government has not only failed to recognise the significance of cities to the vitality of the society at large but also to present solutions to develop urban areas.

“Cities need a firm vision in the face of a regional government reform that is becoming increasingly ambiguous,” they stress in a joint statement .

Anni Sinnemäki (Greens), a Deputy Mayor of Helsinki and the first signatory of the joint statement, tells Uusi Suomi that she hopes the next government will at least be willing to engage in urban policy making.

“One example of the government’s current approach to cities is that several state officials have complained about the current master plan in Helsinki, which has been designed to build enough residential units to allow people to move here to work and encourage international businesses to make investments here,” she says.

“An example of good urban policy, on the other hand, would be to identify and recognise cities [and] urban residents as a key resource. This means that all decisions should be examined from the viewpoint of how they’ll impact cities,” views Sinnemäki.

Five ways for government to support cities:

  • Support transport projects promoting transition to a denser urban structure
  • Clarify the social, health care and regional government reform
  • Increase investments in research and education at universities
  • Update energy policy to the 2010s
  • Attract international expertise to Finland

Source: The Green League

The demands were drafted in a meeting called by the party secretary of the Green League, Kaisa Hernberg, in Helsinki on Saturday. The meeting was attended by the chairpersons of the party’s councillor groups for the ten largest cities in Finland, as well as the party’s chairperson Touko Aalto and presidential nominee Pekka Haavisto.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva

Source: Uusi Suomi

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