Stakeholder engagement with Tramway Alliance
The Kalasatama-Pasila Tramway Alliance is a model whereby the project owners, Helsinki City and Helsinki City Transport, formed two alliances to cooperate on the same project. The alliances were formed to build a tramway between Nihti, Kalasatama centre, Hermannin rantatie, Vallilanlaakso and Pasila in Helsinki City by 2024. The collaboration is between the Tramway Alliance and B. Green, and the aim is to integrate innovative sustainable infrastructure activities into the tramway. Design sprints and workshops were conducted between the parties to devise common goals, to increase the impact of project activities and make practical arrangements for the coming year. The need for collaboration was identified early on by Forum Virium Helsinki and Helsinki City Transport, where B.Green was already working on Kalasatama as a pilot. The aim of that collaboration was to create a safe and pleasant urban environment for citizens. The Tramway alliance was (and remains) keen to use new digital tools in their work, such as by sharing virtual models early on so that residents and other stakeholders can better understand the plans for the tramway.
Description of practice
● A joint remote online workshop on 25 August 2020 was followed by a visit to Kuninkaantammi, one of the new neighbourhoods in Helsinki with ambitious goals on green infrastructure and circular economy solutions. Various projects were introduced and timelines examined. One outcome of the workshop was that common goals were set for the collaboration, in terms of both the larger impact of project activities and practical arrangements for the coming year.
● The first design sprint was organized for 8–9 October 2020, with a focus on the interconnections between the future tramline and Kalasatama district. On the first day, participants took part in a webinar and in an on-site meeting in Kalasatama. The second day was arranged as a remote online workshop.
● The second design sprint was held on 28–29 January 2021, with a focus on resident engagement and temporary green infrastructure. A co-creation workshop on urban green infrastructure interventions was run to bring in external expertise about the topic.
● The third workshop took place remotely on 15–16 April 2021. The workshop focused on the Smart & Clean tram stop concept.
Who is involved
The project owners are Helsinki City and Helsinki City Transport. There are two project alliances: Sörkan spora and Karaatti. Each focuses on its dedicated sections of the future tramline. The project is one of the largest consultancy and infrastructure company alliances in Finland, involving Destia, Sweco, WSP, GRK and AFRY, among others. In addition, FLOU and Näkymä will act as sub-contractors for the Karaatti alliance during the project. Expert architects and urban planners from the City of Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division are also involved.
Promotion and communication
All the project information about the Kalasatama-Pasila Tramway Alliance can be found on its webpage https://www.kalasatamastapasilaan.fi/en/, press releases, Facebook page and Twitter account.
The collaboration was promoted internally by using mailing lists to directly contact stakeholders, which received invitations to the design sprints and summaries of the events.
● Software: Remote workshops and webinars were held using MS Teams. Miro platform was used as a collaboration tool.
● Skills: Event organisers must have an understanding of design methods and co-creation methods.
The general plan for the project was agreed in the summer of 2018 and the contracting parties were chosen in the spring of 2020. The co-creative design sprints facilitated by the B.Green project team took place between October 2020 and April 2021. The goal is for the tramline to start commercial operation in 2024.
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|Urban planning challenge(s) tackled||Governance and institutional factors
Knowledge and skills
● Open communication and trust between the parties, a commitment to the key outcomes and goals of the project and a willingness to work for the best of the project are essential to the success of a project.
● The presence of people from different professions (architects, urban planners etc.) improved the workshops by bringing in different perspectives and voices to work around the same topic.
● The restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic made face-to-face meetings impossible. Participants were not as committed in remote workshops and meetings as they would have been normally, which made the collaboration less effective.
● Collaboration would have benefited if more participants from different occupations or professions, such as engineers, had joined the workshops.
● Project delivery by means of two alliances provides huge potential for innovation and a strong mechanism for delivery. The innovations that result from this delivery method will benefit future tramway projects.
● The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the area and there are multiple organisations involved. Many of its goals were aligned, making it a good match for the different parties from an economic, social and environmental perspectives.
● Many participants mentioned how the co-creation events had supported them in their own work. For example, the Tramway Alliance integrated many of the ideas conceived in the first sprint directly into its plan for Hermannin rantatie.
● B. Green was able to collect information from experts representing different organizations to understand some of the limitations of green infrastructure planning and implementation when it comes to large-scale infrastructure projects.
● The Smart & Clean tram stop concept was finalized during the design sprints.
● The tramway project has produced virtual models of the tramway, some of which are published online: https://www.kalasatamastapasilaan.fi/virtuaalimalli. The models visualize and provide information about different sections of the tramline. The 3D models of local plant species were provided by B.Green.