Kannelmäki sets an example for new Helsinki

Residents enjoy living at the Heka location at Kaarelantie, constructed in 1962. The lush neighbourhood will soon have new residents, since the model district of Kannelmäki is seeing plenty of new construction as part of urban regeneration.

Written by Petja Partanen Photos by Sami Heiskanen ja Tuomas Uusheimo

Kannelmäki, along with Malmi and Mellunkylä, was selected as a model district for the suburban regeneration programme in Helsinki.

“The goal with the suburban regeneration programme is to ensure equal sustainable development of the city in the existing districts,” says Max Takala, the project director for the Malminkartano-Kannelmäki regeneration project.

Kannelmäki’s current population of 13,000 will grow in the future.

“Kannelmäki will need new housing to maintain and improve its vitality. The aim is to add more owner-occupied housing to the areas with predominantly rental housing, and the local public services will also be updated,” Takala says.

The buildings in the area are quite dated. Older buildings are being repaired and demolished while new ones are being built.

“The construction of two new daycare centres will start in 2022, and the plans for a new school are underway,” Takala says.

Climbing frames in the yard at Kaarelantie.
In the 1980s, the yard of Kaarelantie was full of children; now, the residents are older. Tepa Merinen says that many of those who grew up in Kaarelantie have become famous, including a winner of a music competition, a model, a theatre artist and a musician.

Kaarelantie 86 celebrates it's 60th anniversary

Heka has a total of 14 housing locations in Kannelmäki, many of which have been renovated over the past few years. One of these is Kaarelantie 86, which was modernised in 2004 and where the facades still look good as new. Once the building’s roof renovation project is finished, it will be in top shape for its 60th anniversary in August.

“This is a highly sought-after Heka location,” says Tepa Merinen, who has lived in the building for almost 40 years and is in a position of trust there. She is also a source of information and known by everyone.

Both Merinen and many of her neighbours have stayed at Kaarelantie for a long time.

“We still have four of the original residents here who moved in back in 1962,” Merinen says.

Merinen also states that she has not thought much about moving out of Kannelmäki.

“Why would I leave my home,” says the third-generation Helsinki resident.

The apartments at Kaarelantie have always been ahead of their time in terms of accessibility. The ground-level apartment of Merinen, who is a pensioner, does not have any thresholds, and even the bathrooms are accessible with a walker. She can even see her own parking space from her window.

Barrier-free entrance at Kaarelantie.
With accessible pathways, using a walker is easy.

The old shopping centre will be demolished

Merinen’s neighbourhood in old Kannelmäki will not experience major changes during the ongoing suburban regeneration project. The most significant change has been the demolition of the old shopping centre.

It has been replaced with housing for 600 new residents. The ground floors of the residential buildings also house a restaurant, a grocery shop and a pharmacy. According to Merinen, back in the 1980s, the shopping centre only consisted of an Eka-Market grocery shop and an Alko alcohol shop, which were accessed via a narrow trail.

The aim is to make Sitratori, next to Kanneltalo, into a safe and pleasant urban space for all Kannelmäki residents. The area will have some basic improvements: lighting and benches will be added, electrical connections for events will be installed, and the public surfaces and plants will be renewed.

Renovation in Kannelmäki starts in summer 2022

The surroundings of Kannelmäki Station will be renovated in summer 2022. The surfaces and lighting in Sitratori Square will be replaced and electricity supply for events will be built. This way, the cultural programme of Kanneltalo can extend to the square next to the station as various outdoor events.

The district, located next to the Ring I and Hämeenlinnanväylä roads, has excellent transport connections. The local train can take you to the city centre in 15 minutes. Even more rail connections are being planned, since a light rail line will run from Kannelmäki to Helsinki city centre via Pitäjänmäki, Munkkiniemi and Töölö. Takala believes it will be completed in the late 2030s.

Kaarelantie 86

  • Apartment building of 3–4 floors, 8 stairwells
  • Total number of apartments: 103
  • Year of construction: 1962
  • Modernised in 2003–2004
  • Roof renovation project to be finished in spring 2022
  • Shared facilities: sauna, laundry room, storage compartments, bicycle storage rooms, club facility
  • Parking spaces: 42 spaces in the yard
  • Building management and maintenance: Heka Western Office
  • The average monthly rent per square metres is EUR 11.35 in 2022.