Helsinki Metropolitan is accelerating its pace in becoming the smartest and cleanest city

Opinion 26.03.2019

Smart & Clean builds scalable climate solutions for cities around the world, and in addition to the foundation’s own change projects, we also collaborate with other Helsinki Metropolitan Area initiatives and projects. We have, in various ways, supported ambitious actions that fulfil the Smart & Clean impact criteria.

Smart & Clean actions should reduce climate emissions, improve the quality of life for urban citizens and promote the more efficient use of resources. The change actors come from both the public and private sectors. Together, the actors are able to create internationally interesting business and references for companies.   

“We have funded 15 initiatives and projects in addition to our own change projects. We are also involved in many other projects as experts and sparring partners in taking Smart & Clean cooperation forward. It’s wonderful how we can help others create impactful climate actions”, says Senior Advisor Jaana Pelkonen.

The disruption of transport is progressing at a good pace

The foundation has had an important role in implementing and funding the Transport Sector Growth Programme. The 2018–2022 growth programme is led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. The goal of the programme is to bring researchers as well as public and private sector actors together to promote the business-led development, growth and internationalisation of the industry.

The foundation has also worked closely with different cities in order to develop transportation. Smart & Clean has coordinated transport cooperation between the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Lahti, and launched a new cooperation and information exchange forum. The foundation also participated in updating Lahti’s public transport plan and wrote a report on combining the upcoming main routes and new transport services.

Smart & Clean has also introduced a corporate and business perspective to the development work of the cities in the Uusimaa Region. The “Fiksu Assa” project, which develops railway station areas, is an event that for one week transforms railway stations into pop-up spaces for climate-friendly products and services and into testbeds for climate solutions provided by businesses. The project implements Smart & Clean thinking on utilising testbeds.

In addition, Smart & Clean was involved in initiating the development of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area’s open Mobility as Service (MaaS) platform. The platform promoting the metropolitan area’s mobility services received funding and assistance from the foundation for networking.

In 2017, Smart & Clean launched the Hack the City project, the purpose of which was to create novel solutions for developing the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The 11 ideas generated at the Hack the City workshop have also crystallised into business concepts for promoting transport. One of the ideas was a concept suitable for cities, which was later advanced by various teams and continued in the Smart & Clean City Ventures process. The work gave rise to Helsinki’s Kalasatama’s People and Parcels innovation project, which the foundation has been preparing together with Avanto Ventures Oy and Forum Virium Helsinki. The project seeks solutions for creating new Last mile services. The solutions combine the movement of goods and people. You can read more about the projects created at Hack the City here!  

Testing the efficient use of energy and circulation of materials

The foundation has supported a number of smart energy use and circular economy initiatives and projects. Smart & Clean helped create a new kind of testbed for energy solutions in Otaniemi, Espoo. With the support of VTT and business partners, the testbed developed into a Smart Otaniemi project, which has grown into a joint smart residential area development project of several companies. Some of the things tested in Otaniemi include energy sharing solutions, electric car charging stations and utilising 5G networks as IoT platforms.

Generating circular economy business is at the centre of the Smart & Clean Foundation’s activities and is promoted at the LOOP accelerator supported by the foundation. The accelerator creates new business concepts based on the circular economy together with businesses. The business accelerator launched by Avanto Ventures will be presenting their newest solutions at Sitra’s World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) next summer.

Making the Helsinki Region into the world’s leading showcase for climate solutions

Smart & Clean accelerates the emergence of smart and clean solutions and the recognition of Helsinki as the world’s leading climate solution implementer. In 2019, the foundation will be the main sponsor of the largest investor event in the Nordic countries, Cleantech Venture Day, which is being moved from Lahti to Helsinki this year. The event will be held in connection with the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF).

In order to inspire people to look into the metropolitan area’s climate solutions, the foundation developed the Smart & Clean Visits concept to ease the work of actors in the metropolitan area, particularly in arranging international visits. The concept improves the image of Finnish and Helsinki Metropolitan Area cleantech activities and the marketing of the area. The coordination of visiting activities could also benefit the growth and development of the area’s businesses. The Visits concept currently needs an actor to continue the work. The foundation has given some of the content it has produced to HY+, who are developing the UrbanVisits concept as part of UniVisits.

The metropolitan area’s climate solutions are also displayed in the Smart & Clean Showroom developed by Smart & Clean and its corporate partners, which is located at Allas Sea Pool. The Showroom exhibits companies and Smart & Clean collaboration, and serves as a meeting room in the centre of Helsinki.

Smart & Clean promotes the use of testbeds because cities act as platforms for the changes. The collaboration between the foundation, Business Finland, VTT and the cities resulted in something that develops Finnish testbeds as tools of leading change and is making Finland into the world’s best testbed for climate solutions: “Testbed Finland”. The work will continue in 2019.

Platform thinking is also being implemented by a digital co-development platform, which Smart & Clean developed in cooperation with Solved. The platform can be used in, for example, market dialogue and the co-development of various challenge projects.

The foundation also wants to keep young people involved in urban development. In spring 2018, the foundation produced the #munteko (#myact, in Finnish) challenge, in which young people were encouraged to do deeds that improve the world and video them. Representatives of the Smart & Clean community bought five videos for their use. The videos are used to communicate the importance of the deeds of urban citizens, cities and businesses in mitigating climate change and promoting the circular economy. In 2018, Smart & Clean was involved in the Tubecon event for YouTube stars and their fans. A 21-task TubeCity Challenge (in Finnish) was concept developed for the YouTube event that had 17 000 young participants, which guided young people to make sustainable choices. Over 31 000 #muntekos (#myacts) were performed at the event.


Are you involved in an ambitious initiative or project that fulfils the Smart & Clean impact criteria? There is always room for more change actors in the Smart & Clean network. Read more about us and contact us!