Marketing Mikkeli & South Savo

1) What three development aspects or dimensions personally interest you most?

2) From your reading, please choose two projects or concepts you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli

Written in response to reading online essays at CoolTown Studios:

Marquette Companies & Moser Enterprises, Inc. (2006) Water Street District: A Pattern Book (Naperville, Illinois).

Town Builders Collaborative; assorted research & articles

Hard Rockin' Mikkeli

© 2008, Jaakko Tikkanen, My Mikkeli Poster Festival  

Bérénice Bouillard writes:

1 . The first development aspect I find really interesting is the preservation of pedestrian streets because for me it is one of most important third place. These places allow people to take their time to watch the window shop, to speak with other people, to enjoy a meal or a drink, and it is almost good for environment (avoid pollution) and make people keep a good health. The specific example I would quote happen in the town of Sienna in Spain where people are used to organise big neighbourhood dinners outside during which the atmosphere is very friendly and for people that’s an opportunity to forget their stress and just enjoy this great moment.

The second thing I find interesting is the creation of bike sharing system which become very successful. That is a good to preserve nature cause they don’t use their car anymore but it also allow people to save money and to make sport, so to avoid health problems. In Paris we have the velib which exists since the beginning of July 2007, but this system also exist in other cities like Barcelona or Stockholm.

Then the third thing I find interesting is the installation of Wi-Fi in some cities. For example in San Fransisco Google has installed the Wi-Fi for free. I think that it is very useful because nowadays many people have a laptop and are often using internet, so with the Wi-Fi they can for example check their mail where and when then want. That is one of the invention of the future, so cities which get that system are modern cities.

2. I think that it could be good to create a pleasant atmosphere for the nightlife by making a pedestrian only district with several different bars as Temple bar in Dublin. In Mikkeli there is almost nothing to do during the evening or the night, and that kind of district could attract lots of people from the close towns but also more tourists. Obviously it is impossible to create such a big district, but four or five pub or discotheque in the same street could really make Mikkeli change.

Another project which could be interesting in Mikkeli would be to create a place like Manboo in Japan where people could relax by making different things like to drink coffee, go to salon, on internet etc… , in the same place. That place is more for teenagers but by adding things which could appeal to adult(shop center for example), this place could be great in Mikkeli. That could have an interesting advantage that is that people would not move anymore from place to place and spend time in the cold (during winter).

Mickaël Charles writes:

1st: The free internet connection: it is a very clever and useful idea developed in Estonia ! It is very clever because it shows the world that Estonia is a democracy free of barriers; and this is provided not by a powerful company, but by the government itself ! It is already attracting researchers in new technologies which demonstrates the utility of this campaign.

2nd: "The Cloud of Sound", event created in Austria is, to me, one of the most interesting ideas for two reasons. First, because you can do it nearly EVERYWHERE! In a small city like Mikkeli that some people consider as a little boring sometimes, it could be a great event. But you can also do it in big cities like Paris or Helsinki! Nearly everybody can enjoy this spectacle which mixes lights and sounds. Second because it brings a lot of money and permits the local state to invest more and so it has economic fallout that, once again, you can't neglect!

3rd: The third idea I would pick up is rather a common idea, but I think that it has to be both thought of AND put forward. Indeed it's very important to attract people from abroad, but it's at least as important to make hometown people feel good. That is why this idea of a sort of a "town-center-style shopping centers" is really important. Indeed, how can you show foreigners that you live in a cool city if you don't believe in it ??!! Of course, once again, creating such a place would be costful and rather long but I think that, in the end, the whole city and region would benefit from it.

Question 2 The first idea I would put forward in Mikkeli (rather in the South Savo region because a small city can not fund it by itself and because there wouldn't be a big use only for a small city) is the idea of a sort of subway, or tramway. This would allow each person, valid or not, to go quickly from one point to another. First, this is very convenient and second it would show the South Savo region, and then Mikkeli, as a city turned to the future. This is indeed a huge investment but it could bring, a lot of people(and therefore money), of course not in the short run, but within a few years I think like the airport is going to do.

The second idea is a very good one that Ani DiFranco had: turning the church into a concert-hall. Indeed, I think that the church in Mikkeli is big enough to welcome a lot of people, and the city "just" would have to attract famous local or national singers or humorists for example to make a show. If this show is repeated every month for instance, Mikkeli could turn into a "fashion" city and this would perhaps improve its image and attract people and investors.

To finish, I really wanted to emphasise on the "Cloud of Sound" which is to me the best idea. It seems to be quite simple to implement and Mikkeli could really benefit from it in the short run! Added to the conversion of the church as a sort of concert-hall is, to me, a really clever way to market Mikkeli and put it forward.

Ida Elina Frantsi writes:
1) I found the “Grocery stores for locavores”, “Library 2008” and “The party that everyone attends - on the highway” interesting. I think these developments are interesting and quite easy to implement almost to every environment or place. The grocery store article was interesting since it dealt with local foods and how some stores carry only foods that come from the surrounding areas. Although the idea of ecological (local) food products has been around for quite a while already, I think people still show a lot of interest towards the topic and there is a lot of growth that can be attained, On the day that I read this article from I happened to come across three other articles dealing with ecofoods, which comes to show that there is on going interest towards eco-friendly eating.

Another article (“Library 2008”) was on libraries and how they can be developed as more attractive third places for people. I really love libraries and I think they are the greatest human invention since the wheel. In Finland libraries play a significant part in small communities especially as venues where culture and information can be passed on and shared among community members. I have heard many positive comments on the Finnish libraries from foreign friends who have lived in Finland for a while, Usually even small communities have large selections of books, magazines and music. Library 2008 talks about libraries as more open for social interaction and noise. I think this meeting point aspect could be a great new aspect that libraries could adapt to their core features.

“The party that never attends- on the highway” was a video from El Paso, Texas, where they had decided to turn some of the highways into pedestrian streets for one day of the week . In this way people can take the streets with their bicycles, rollerskaters or feet. This has encouraged physical activity and has been a success in the city , which is thought out to have the fattest population in US. Peoples joy could definitely get passed on from the video and the sense of community doing something fun together. I think if people can be encouraged to do physical activity, which also decreases car fumes in a city for a while, is always a win-win. And an event like this can be taken into practise pretty much in any city- since its initial introduction in Columbia it has spread to other american cities thanks to the great and simple idea.

2) I chose “library 2008” partly because the Mikkeli library is most important third place for me personally. I love to go there every day and read newspapers/magazines, listen to music or choose some books to take home. Sometimes I take a coffee at the little coffee corner in the second floor of the building, which is really nice service since sometimes I can spent hours in the building. That said I think the services overall are great, but I think there is potential for the library to become even more vital and popular among the community members, since it really is the best service the city of Mikkeli provides for its taxpayers. I think especially foreigners have not found their way to the building, i.e. in the newspaper/ magazine hall there is a good representation of foreign magazines: Time, Dagens Nyheter, Le Monde etc. But I never see any foreign people in the venue, which I think shame for they could read papers in their native language for free, some of these papers cannot be found from anywhere else in the city even if you were willing to pay. Library is an example of how well taxpayers money can be invested in the society and an example of the Finnish welfare state, therefore for foreigners to witness this and take this image back home is something important. It's true that libraries can be found anywhere in the world almost in every city, but the level of quality really is something that differentiates finnish libraries from the others. Selections are better in my opinion and the actual surroundings are usually well taken care of. I think attracting more people to the libraries is not a primary objective, but to attract people who would not necessary find their way there, i.e. foreigners in the area or young people who dont have other places to hang out. When the diversity would increase it would generate a morel vital and democratic place for the community, where people could see what sort of potential there really is in their city.
  • More diversity
  • More places in the building where people can interact with each other without the fear of " hys! " silence from the librarian
  • More international approach to services ( english books)
  • More external information to the communitity ( in english as well)
I think another idea that could be very easily implemented to Mikkeli, is closing the whole market square area into pedestrian area for example for a day in a week in the summerperiods. I think this could bring out the market square area really into live and give room for outdoor activities/ outdoor theter/ outdoor singing and an aspect of multiculturality could be added to this weekly event as well. Mikkeli has a very vital foreign (immigrant ) office Mimosa, which deals with local foreigners and arranges activities and events for foreign immigrants ( kurdis, somalians, russians etc.) . I think its time to show the homogeneous locals some internationality that the city truly has, but an aspect that has been hidden for its existence.

Nina Harjulin writes:

1) What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

Hidden "indoor" Outdoor Patios:
One dimension of public space which I have appreciated during my stay in Germany are these hidden "indoor" outdoor patios. In Frankfurt there were several which similar places like beer gardens, water pipe bars or café type of third places. They are nice especially during the summer, they give a cozy homely type of feeling and it's always nice when one gets to know the staff and they know what you like.

Beans in the Belfry:
Another development aspect which I personally find most charming is the third place constructed of an old church, which now is made into a café called Beans in the Belfry. It has this "at home, living room" look, with an edge of story tales. It not only provides a relaxing atmosphere for the normal café visiting population, but also for adults with children. There is a play corner for the children, where they can have fun while their mothers get time to read a book or catch up with a friend.

Smallest Coolest apartments:
My personal very keen area of interest is housing. This interest has probably risen from the fact that my mother used to be a real estate agent and now owns a company which rents out furnished apartments. Also in this area of business it is key to create something stylish and practical for a fairly wide target market. In this development project, or more competition, they have taken the most of a certain space and made it into something very neat and yet full of style. What would be even more practical is such apartments constructed for students, fairly in the centre of the city and above all affordable.

2) What two projects/concepts could be useful for developing Mikkeli?

Communal edutainment library:
The concept of having an edutainment library in Mikkeli, which at the same time hosts events such as concerts, readings etc. would probably be very successful in Mikkeli. It emphasizes the communal feeling within a city and this truly exists in Mikkeli. I back this up by what I once saw in Mikkeli, it was a female gymnastic day organized by the town and they were all stretching and doing warm-up exercises at the market square after which they went running/ walking together. Concerning communal activities, there should definitely be more.

Bike sharing system:
Similar to the system which was started in Paris, Mikkeli should definitely offer some type of public bicycle system. In Mikkeli, if one comes during late summer, one notices that it is almost impossible to buy cheap second hand bicycles as they are all already bought. As far as it concerns rental, I have not noticed a single one. There is no better way to experience Mikkeli during the summer than by having a normal city bike to cruise around with. It is the best mean of transportation to get to the lakes and forest picnic sites with.

Niall Herlihy writes:

What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

Own your own football club.
This gives the fans a chance to own a piece of Ebbsfleet United. This is a small club playing in the lower leagues of English Football. What sets this apart from any other public traded company is that the owners (fans) get to influence decisions on behalf of the club and therefore there is no board of directors, who sometimes makes decisions in there own interest rather than the clubs. This can be anything from picking the team or choosing the football clubs sponsors. All this for only £35 and with members from 70 different countries it has put an unknown town clearly on the map. I don’t think this could be applied to Mikkeli because the idea is unique and also there isn’t such a following of football in Finland than England. Also the club only needs to jump one league where their finances would easily be matched by properly run clubs.

How do you tell if a neighbourhood is safe?
Answer:   Monitor how many women are walking alone. This is definitely true and because of women’s greater security needs some places have advantages over others. Places like Napoli have no women walking the streets alone because its not at all safe.

Vision for a contempory eco-village. This is a project being undertaken in Santa Rosa California.
The project consists of:
- 250 condominiums in buildings three to five stories, 37 for low-moderate income.
- Ground floor retail including the Sonoma County Food and Wine Center, a nonprofit that promotes local farmers. The center will consist of an indoor market of small vendors, as well as a farmer's market in the main plaza, and will be framed as the projects cultural heart and soul.
I find this most interesting because something likewise is being undertaken in my hometown and it will be interesting to see the results. (site under development)

Which 2 projects/aspects could be applied to Mikkeli?

I think that since Mikkeli is a safe town that the city should market itself as a place where you would feel comfortable raising your family. This can be seen from women walking freely along the well lit streets alone, not only during the day but also at night.

The project being undertaken in California would also be suitable for Mikkeli. The local farmers would be encouraged to produce and it would give Mikkeli a unique touch that doesn’t exist in the South Savo region. It would also add to the current market which has been reasonably successful.

JP Hernandez writes:

1) The preservation of pedestrian streets is very important in many senses. Firstly, it creates a good atmosphere, not only for the casual pedestrian, but also for businesses of different sizes and industries and tourists. In addition, it brings a sense of community when an area is extensively used for pedestrian movement only and is maintained in a proper way.

2) Wi-Fi systems have proved successful elements of a city that wants its citizens to join the Internet era. However, before launching such an endeavor, it is important to organize the network in such a way that is highly reliable. And of course, make sure that it is protected against security threats and that e-crimes would not be committed using it (frauds, child pornography, torrent download, etc)

3) The concept of having affordable housing with nice looks is very interesting. Generally, affordable housing tends to be hideous therefore causing both the population and the governments to lose interest on the maintenance of these places. Having nice housing at a reasonable price might boost the cities self-esteem.

4) Of course, the development of third places, preferably located in closed pedestrian areas help improving the overall well-being of the city in many ways such as jobs and entertainment.

5) Retaining local universities to help developing the local industry is very important. Besides that, the average college graduate does not ask for much when deciding where to go.

Two concepts applicable to Mikkeli: Providing a Wi-Fi network for downtown Mikkeli would be affordable and rather well appreciated. Since the center is densely populated this could be achieved with a relative low-cost. In addition, sponsorship can be sought with the local Internet Company (MPY). However, as mentioned before, it would be important to protect the network and the users against any threats. And keep a strict monitoring on the users activities to avoid e-crimes.

Nice housing at affordable prices would give Mikkeli a proper identity (since it lacks a particular construction style or historical buildings with some exceptions). As a consequence, this would boost the city’s self-esteem and attract more people (especially students)

Yun Jeong Hwang writes:

1) What three development aspects or dimensions seem most interesting to you personally?

1. What is the concept of town; totally old or new, natural or well-designed etc? Making the best use of town’s identity is needed to leave a deep impression to investors or visitors.

2. Does any third place exist there? Town needs somewhere friendly and live such as pubs, open cafes or markets etc.

3. Absolutely big events attract people’s attention. Plan a unique regional festival and make it looking interesting.

2) Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli (concepts with high potential for success; can overlap with #1 above, or perhaps not).

1. The concept of Mikkeli would be ‘nature and enjoyment’, which should be linked with fresh and friendly image

2. Mikkeli is a learning place for students who come from other countries as well as other towns in Finland. Local residents should be broad-minded and offer an opportunity to gain some special experience from Mikkeli

Matias Hyyrynen writes:

1. Interesting development aspects:

i) Interesting idea “a creative third place every downtown needs” An interesting and fun place to gather with friends or meet new people, while sharing common interests and ideas.

ii) A nice way to develop the community and pride in it; “What’s a successful monthly downtown event?” An article showing an example of a blockparty in Austin TX.

iii) The idea of co-op supermarkets is quite interesting and seems like it will be popular. “So you want a co-op supermarket down town…” is an article that tells more about this concept.

2. Concepts applicable in Mikkeli:

i) This idea of car-free areas in cities, I personally feel, would be great in Mikkeli downtown during the summer. This would allow people to meet outside and hangout with some friends, also as Mikkeli is a popular city in the summer I believe that this car-free zone could facilitate small booths and shops to create a kind of homey and fun market-like environment.

ii) The idea of free internet access for everyone is another quite interesting concept, but instead of only supplying this within cafes and other shops, it might be a good idea to provide it outside as well, for example in the car-free zone. This idea has already been adapted in the centre of Helsinki in Esplanadin puisto.

Heidi Hänninen writes:

Here are the concepts which I chose for this exercise:

• “The mother of Sunday street closing”
Every Sunday in a street on one of the noisiest parts of world in Buenos Aires is closed. A nice way to alter the environment, even if it’s for a short period of time, to make the area more attractive.

• ”A Little help establishing a sense of community where there is little”
A concept of a non-profit organization which tries to bring the people from one region, a neighborhood for example, together by organizing concerts etc. This brings the habitats closer together.

• ”Affordable housing doesn’t have to be ugly”
The essay gives proof that affordable housing can look good and be green. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a aesthetically beautiful house, since it can be done even in low cost projects.

• “How green is your neighborhood?”
An interesting concept of the possibility for a city to receive a green certificate. Even thought it seems to be done by a US company, this could give Mikkeli some official data about the greenness of the town. And hence attract green tourists.

• “Reader log: Having the market come to you instead”
An essay on a market in Italy, which comes to the people. In Mikkeli this could be done by the possibility to order a “mini market” to your summer cottage. A van that has all the fresh produce of a market place going strait to the people’s yards.

Lotta Kivekäs writes:

What's worked with destination marketing?

1) Three interesting development aspects

a. Being personally concerned about environmental deterioration, this Stockholm example of an eco city offers an interesting example of an ecological housing concept that actually works.

b. Fresh 'n' Friends grabbed my attention because it is not a regular 24-hour grocery store. Its product selection consists mostly of fresh, ecological and healthy food so it's a great alternative for people who are returning home late but want to grab something else than a hamburger from McDonald's or something highly processed from a local "7-11".

c. I'm a big fan of coffee and I like spending long hours in coffee shops so visiting Vienna would be really interesting as it is the place where the whole coffee culture got started.

2) Two concepts applicable to Mikkeli

a. A grocery store and café in Brooklyn named Urban Rustic directs itself to customers wanting to buy local produce. It tries to offer food produced within a 100-mile radius. I believe a concept derived from that could work in Mikkeli. Many people prefer buying locally produced fruit and vegetable so putting up a kiosk/café at the market place selling mostly products from nearby would be likely to attract people. Lots of tourists could also be interested in trying something that's purely from South Savo region. In addition, as people are getting more concerned with global warming short transports would be a definite marketing asset.

b. I believe Mikkeli is lacking a comfortable third place which would be attractive to all sorts of customers. Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, Maryland, offers a good example - it's a café operating in a old and small church with the atmosphere of a cosy living room. Of course, a church would be hard to find for this purpose in Mikkeli but the town has a large number of old wooden houses surprisingly close to the center which would offer a great setting. The problem with Mikkeli coffee shops is their early closing hours and their some what identical outlooks. This café would have a different ambience inviting people to actually spend time there. It could attract older people during the day time and young people in the late evening.

Jukka Kylliäinen writes:

What's Worked with Destination Marketing

I. Third Places:
Places where you feel comfortable to hang out and meet other people and that is not your home or your work place. Some examples of these could be cafes, market squares, parks, or beaches.

II. Health & Fitness:
Developing cities with healthy people, who have a variety of possibilities to exercise. Not only reducing car fumes and such is important, but also to provide a physical setting where people feel comfortable and easy to walk, jog, play sports, etc.

III. Retail Entertainment Districts:
Decisions on how, when and where to develop retail centres. I am especially interested in building retail districts that function also as community centres / third places.

I. Easing the transition from university to the 'real world'
I do not only speak of our university, but it would work for the polytechnic as well, and probably even better since the internationality of our school might bring creative ideas, it is still rather difficult to get anyone to stay here after they graduate. When other choices are such as London and others. Creating a platform for students and local companies to meet, provide real-life case studies in business, engineering, etc. and bring in guest lectures and interns would not only result in accelerated exchange of ideas but also create a channel for the students to search for jobs and entrepreneurial possibilities in the local region as well.

II. A third place to spark community a small town
Third places are vital to the community. Due to environmental reasons, outdoor third places would not work in Mikkeli for the majority of any given year. Thus building indoor places is crucial. The most important thing would be originality. If one would be able develop a unique concept, it would get a lot of publicity in a country as small as Finland. It would not only bring in visitors from outside, but also curious locals who then would proudly tell their friends/relatives of this great new place no one else has in their town.

Petri Lassi writes:

Here are three developments/concept I find interesting and also think all of them could work in Mikkeli.

1. Arranging a monthly downtown event to attract people.

2. Creating a paseo/pedestrian street to downtown Mikkeli. Could have shops for local produce/handicraft.

3. Building a green micro-village or eco buildings. Could be located close to the "Mikkeli garden" development area.

Noémie Le Bars writes:

1) What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

At first, the concept of “Sustainable Dance Club” in Rotterdam, Netherlands is very interesting. Indeed, using energy produced by dancers is a very simple and clever idea. This kind of project shows that even a night club can be environment-friendly and that everyone can contribute to reduce greenhouse gases.

Next, the idea of “recreation in the city”(rock climbing wall built right into a building wall) is very interesting to me because thanks to this concept people change their view of the city : before they saw just one building or even didn’t see it and now they see a new leisure in the city.

At last, the article of “government sponsored beer and live music?” talked about a very creative and innovative project. It’s also a very simple idea : the city choreographs the beer trucks and local live bands every Thursday night in its revitalized town square. This project allows to give a new attraction to the city’s neglected downtown, to attract young people and to promote local culture (music).

2) Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli (concepts with high potential for success; can overlap with #1 above, or perhaps not).

First, the concept in Riverwalk, San Antonio, Texas can be easily applied in Mikkeli : it’s a place that makes the river’s edge a vibrant, people friendly place. Indeed it’s possible that a lake’s edge in Mikkeli becomes a place like Riverwalk with cafe, restaurants and relaxing places. (p.5)

Then, the project of recreation in the city (naturally) can be applied easily in Mikkeli. It’s already possible to go for a jog among the forest or on lake’s edge but I don’t think there is also a giant playground. Well a giant playground with soccer, picnics, hiking, biking and rollerblading, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, concerts and rock climbing can be a place that attracts all kind of people (family, young people and tourists) and be a third place in Mikkeli.

Kaisa Lepistö writes:

1) The world's first 'bike lift',
This is something that was quite interesting because I have never imagined anything like this. There is an elevator for bikes on a side of a steep hill in Paris. This was build to encourage people to ride their bicycles despite the hill.

2) "Chicago goes green",
The Mayor of Chicago has been making some big changes in the city. The city has invested for example in parks and more environmentally friendly energy. These changes have been very beneficial in many ways to the city of Chicago.

3) Tallinn offers free Internet access,
The internet is essentially free throughout what is known as the most-wired country in Eastern Europe, with the government committing to providing free internet access as a basic right.

Exercise # 2)

1) A new third place in town,
In a small American town with 5000 people, there is a new coffeehouse which is something that the town hasn't had. It's a cozy place for the local people to spend time in. Mikkeli needs new places with cozy sofas and relaxed atmosphere. There could be for example more 'third places' for students to hang out and have a cup of coffee or something after school and in the evening.

2) "Public squares making a comeback in a big way",
In the article you can find example cities that take advantage of their public squares. Mikkeli has a nice market square which is the "heart of Mikkeli", so maybe this square could be used more. There are already markets etc. held on this square but maybe there could be held many other different events in the center of the city so those would attract more people.

Alex Lincoln writes:

What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

1. Finding apartments based on city characteristics: while I'm currently looking for a job back in the states, I've been searching for one in a city that I know I could live in, the same applies for the apartments I've been looking for. The specifics of an apartment aren't as important to me as the environment around it and if I'll be able to blend well with the community.

2. Shabby chic restaurants and coffee shops: when I am eating at a restaurant or socializing with friends I like to have an environment that makes me feel welcome. Adding little aspects of a home into a restaurant can create a feeling of warmth and acceptance.

3. Work communities: In one of my management classes, we spent a lot of time discussing a company called SAS. They take employee work life to the next level by offering a "campus" to work and live on, many employees live in the SAS owned neighborhood and pick their children up from the daycare center at lunchtime to dine together in the cafeteria.

Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli

1. As mentioned above, I think that Mikkeli could easily adopt a friendlier and welcoming atmosphere by adding restaurants and coffee shops with some Finnish charm. By adding more restaurants and shops where customers feel welcome to sit and converse for awhile, it could bring more business to the area.

2. Walkable neighborhoods: if Mikkeli took note from the Water Street District planning, the could widen sidewalks, create a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere and add the town center to create an area where many people would come for the day to walk around and window shop, taste fresh fruit from the market, and overall enjoy their time spent in Mikkeli.

Kasper Lindén writes:

Loft-style apartments transform an old, industrial neighborhood into a trendy one in Manchester, England.

Irish pubs make for great third places. The atmosphere is welcoming and you don't have to pretend to be someone you are not.

Modern parking garages that require one-third of the space that regular ones horde. With valet service, your car is delivered in front of your apartment when you desire.

Free Wi-Fi coverage provided by downtown establishments working together. Requires no investment from the city.

Coordinated banner advertisements for local businesses liven up the city centre.

Antti Mattila writes:

What's Worked with Destination Marketing

1) An artist/musician 'community in a building', Syracuse, NY. Personally I like the idea of a musician building, because I have been a sort of musician myself. I think this kind of place could attract some creative artists and musicians, but it might also attract those who only want to take advantage of the situation.

Paris launches largest bike sharing system to date. I like cycling and this kind of bike sharing system might encourage people to drive by bike rather than car. This might lead to cleaner environmnet and healthier lifestyles.

A model within a model of sustainability. It is always nice to read about these kinds of efforts. However, often the house prices in these ”ecological villages” are simply too high for average citizens, and it becomes a privilege only for the rich.

2) A third place to spark community a small town. Mikkeli needs a unique third place, which would attract all kinds of people. Why not turn the the old grain silo in the city center into a coffehouse?

Film, music, writing, fine arts, fashion, photography, architecture, design... What about starting our own festival and inviting young students from all over Finland (and maybe later outside Finland) to participate in competitions and exhibitions?

Juho Mikkonen writes:

1) What three development aspects or dimensions seem most interesting to you personally?

Firstly, I find the fast-spreading idea of having bicycles free for public use in the city centres a practical help for people and a way to discourage the use of own cars. With a little sum of money, many people, including the tourists, the students, the poor, can enjoy a bike ride without having to own one.

Second, as I read through several articles, I was amazed to see how the US citizens, especially the authors of CoolTown Studios, are willing to change their living environment by taking elements from the time before the concrete jungle era. The article tells how a congested intersection in Manhattan was transformed into a peaceful square, which is similar to the charming piazzas found everywhere in Italy and other parts of Europe. This could be a sign of NYC people wanting to escape from their stressful daily life, having a "relaxing oasis" in the middle of Manhattan to visit when needed.

Third, I think that streets occupied only by pedestrians with lots of shops and cafés around them are the best parts of lively city centres. Such centres can be found from many bigger cities in Central Europe, and also increasingly in Finnish cities. The article tells about plans to stop car traffic on a street in Manhattan.

2) Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli (concepts with high potential for success; can overlap with #1 above, or perhaps not).

The two developmental ideas I found most relevant to Mikkeli were both from the Water Street Pattern Book.

Pattern 53 (p. 21) tells about marking the main gateways in order to differentiate districts inside a city. However, the first step for Mikkeli is to build "Welcome to Mikkeli" signs or gates to the places where people enter the central town area. The signs should grab the attention of the visitors coming to Mikkeli and also of the ones who just drive pass Mikkeli.

Pattern 126 (p.24) is relevant to the development of the Mikkeli market square. Even in the summertime, the market place feels a bit empty although there are lots of stalls and some cafés there. In the winter, there is nothing going on. A way to get more use for the market place would be to have a place for gatherings there. It could be a fountain, a statue or a clock tower with seats around it.

Tuuli Määttä writes:

1) Articles of personal interest:

1a) For a business student, getting a job is at least as important as having a life.

1b) As a big fan of local bands and music venues, I find the importance of artist communities to cities very intriguing.

1c) Lofts named after Jack Kerouac make me wish I lived somewhere that was named after someone cool.

2) Articles talking about concepts I would recommend for Mikkeli:

2a) Pedestrian-Oriented Development is designed to be a suburban area and part of a bigger entity, but with some changes, it could do Mikkeli good. Traffic and cars are one of the biggest influences that make central Mikkeli often very unattractive.

Additional notes: A few years ago there was talk about building a more pedestrian-friendly Mikkeli; a reminder of this is a poster still hanging on a wall in the library. However, now there are plans made to build a car park on the market place. I find this a bad idea.

One of the worst things in Mikkeli is traffic. Porrassalmenkatu, right in the centre of the town, is a nightmare to both pedestrians and drivers. The town is small, and you can't escape the traffic very well. During a hot summer day, you can sit outside on a terrace of a café having lunch, and the cars, noisily passing by, feel like they are in your face.

It is problematic as well, because most people don't enjoy the convenience of living near the market place. Most people live further away, and for them to run their daily business, they have to come to the centre by car.

2b) Mikkeli needs more come-as-you-are, stay-as-long-as-you-like third places. Most of all, it needs inviting third places during the winter.

Additional notes: During the summer, there are terraces everywhere, and Finns do like that. During the winter, there are 24-hour cafes on the market place. But during the winter, options for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat are somewhat limited to: one busy, impersonal café near the bus stop, two nice-but-too-open cafes where people passing by create a distraction and a sense of unease, and one café that perpetually has the music turned up too loud.

While most places in Mikkeli do give off the feeling that a customer is feel to say as long as he or she likes, it often feels more like disregard and rather than warm welcome.

Susanna Ollila writes:

1) What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

* "A treatise on building vibrant cultural quarters"
I think cultural quarters bring diversity and rejuvenate the city. They are often like small cities inside cities with lots of cultural activities.

* "When you can't get enough outdoor dining"
I love terraces and dining outdoors in summer. I think both the customers and passers-by benefit from the lively feeling coming from outdoor dining places.

* "Delaware seeks some creative identity"
Renewing old, ragged areas in cities is a great way of bringing new design in to a city without destroying old. It is also a way of changing the whole atmosphere in the area.

2) Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli.

* "Car free 'natural cultural districts' in the U.S."
There are some park areas in the centre of Mikkeli, but I think it would be a great idea for the city to develop car free walking boulevards. As the center isn't very big and walking distances are small there is no need to have access to every street by car. These kinds of natural and cultural areas/streets would refresh the city image.

* "The rise of design in Buenos Aires"
In order to prevent young Mikkeli residents leaving the city, Mikkeli should try to attract design and creativity in to the area. Luring design shops and schools to the area and that way providing jobs in the field of design would definitely encourage people to move in to Mikkeli as well as visiting tourisits.

Minna Rantala writes:

1)What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?
I found the idea of a health-oriented town very interesting. This is an aspect that is certainly very important even though I have not realized how big impact these kinds of features in a town actually can have and how big difference already small changes can make.
Recreation in a city, especially in a big one, might not always be easy to arrange. This aspect interested me because I have never actually lived in a big city but if I someday will I hope that it would not be too difficult to find different outdoor activities.
Guidelines for attracting ‘young and restless’ interested me because I have seen this as a problem in some of the places where I have lived. These guidelines are good but not always easy and fast to apply.

2)Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli (concepts with high potential for success; can overlap with #1 above, or perhaps not).
The concept of a healthy city can be quite easily applied in Mikkeli since the size of this place is not very big. In the summer, more activities could be arranged so that people could take part in them instead of going to e.g. a bar.
People form often their opinion of a city from how it looks. The architecture in Mikkeli is not exactly the most beautiful in Finland. However, there have been some improvements during the last couple of years and a shift to a more modern look, of course keeping in mind the valuable historical buildings, could possibly attract new people here and get people to think a bit more positively of this city.

Milla Rusanen writes:

1. Design and architecture that fit the needs of the modern society
Swedish model urban village of sustainability project is interesting project for me because I am going to study architecture in the future. Sustainable and ecologically friendly living will be important issues in the future and therefore I might be involved designing ecologically friendly houses.

Public services
Developing library services towards more modern direction would help to maintain the interest towards libraries. I have been working in a library myself and I agree that the library services require development in order to keep its customers that are nowadays looking for their books, magazines etc more and more from the internet.

Developing cities to be more people friendly
Outdoor cinema sounds nice idea since I like movies and because the summer is so short in Finland it would be nice to enjoy the good weathers as much as possible. Combination of good movie, warm summer weather and good company sounds quite attractive.

2. Library development project could also be applied to Mikkeli since the city government is planning to cut down the number of libraries in Mikkeli because the library services are too expensive to maintain at present level in the future. If libraries would be used also to other purposes than the traditional services, libraries would be maybe more profitable to the city and the need to cut down libraries would decrease.

The idea about outdoor cinema would maybe work in Mikkeli also. Usually there are enough warm days in the summer so that people would be able to sit outside. The city would also have ready place for the outdoor cinema since the outdoor theatre in the Naisvuori that isn’t used every day. When weather would be ok the city could show movies in the summer theatre few times a week.

Damien Ryan writes:

This is the link to the 1st project
This a project undertaken in Bogata,Colombia whereby they close 70 miles of car free high-way for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy from 7am to 2pm. This happens every Sunday and is called Ciclovia and drags people into the city and unites them even more. Also it brings more business to the city and encourages thousands to come out and enjoy exercise every Sunday that they would otherwise not take part in. They also have a section called rerovia where they give free rumba exercises and other classes.

This is the second project
This is a project whereby unused space such as empty parking spaces into places of activity or "third places" to be enjoyed by all. it is an effective way of showing that a lot of land is not being utilised properly and that instead of empty spaces for cars, there should more facilities for people, which in turn will bring more business to the surrounding area. Various big cities take part in these worth while projects such as Atlanta, Boston and Dallas to name but a few.

The project link is
This is a prime example of how a towns square is put to good use. In Krakow, Poland's old town square there is constant entertainment for all to enjoy. The square is surrounded by contemporary cafes and there are also a number of nearby galleries there too be enjoyed as well. It's a good lesson in what a destination public square can be. This not only provides a place for visitors to enjoy but also it is something that would attract locals out of their homes and into the centre. This is good for both the tourism and the local economy.

2) I think that Mikeli could greatly benefit for better utilisation of the vast space that they have like the way in which people have utilised the mundane parking spaces and have turned them into a third place for all to enjoy. There is enough space in Mikklei for a wide variety of activities or just place of relaxation to be installed.

Also i think how Krakow has made proper use of its town square could be easily reflect by Mikkeli and there town square could be put to better use. For example and event other than just a market could be held to attract not just visitor but local people as well. If successful it could be held on a weekly basis and with Mikkeli's easy accessibility, it could attract visitors from all over Finland!

Suvi Maria Saarinen writes:

Three most interesting development aspects to me personally:
1. Grocery stores for 'locavores'
• A grocery store and café in Brooklyn, NY for “locavores”, local residents who try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius (Oxford Dictionary). A brilliant way to stimulate (and support) the small-scale local farming sector and a nice change to industrialized, monotonous supermarkets.
2. London's car-free shopping day a huge hit
• Finland celebrates the international “car-free day” every September. However, it hasn’t been that successful but by relating it more to shopping and by emphasizing the “feel of power” that the pedestrians get when getting to walk around without having to think about cars the concept could not only liven up the city but also help to fight environmental degradation and stimulate the local economy.
3. Finally, a monetary value is placed on city trees
• A program called Stratum established by the University of California at Davis and the United States Forest Service to calculate the dollar value of trees in a city and their return on investment. Result showing positive financial returns on planting trees encouraging increased planting of trees in cities providing not only for more cozy and welcoming environment in cities but also for better air quality and environmental sustainability.

Two projects/concepts that could be usefully applied in Mikkeli:
4. Water Street District: A Pattern Book
• On page 19 the Pattern of “Roof Gardens” is described: “Make parts of almost every roof system usable as roof gardens …. Treat roof gardens as outdoor rooms”. Mikkeli has rather many flat rooftops and thus the possibility of creating comfortable third places by putting unutilized space into good use.
5. Every town center needs a great venue developer
• In addition to having a building developer and a community developer Mikkeli area should consider having a venue developer. This is to assure an “authentic” environment development with regard to preserving Mikkeli’s historical charm and avoiding creating an environment too sterile.

Nico Schermann writes:

What's worked with Destination Marketing

1) What three development aspects or dimensions are most interesting to you personally?

1. Car Sharing’s Popularity continues to rise:
To my mind the concept of car sharing has a high potential due to the increase in mobility over the last years. A lot of people have to go to different locations during their working day and with the rise in fuel prices it became more and more expensive to have an own car. The car sharing concept offers the opportunity to rent cars for single trips, thus this concept makes it possible to use a car just in case you need it. It could become also more popular with the discussion about climate changes as an environmental-friendly way of transportation (e.g. through providing cars which work with renewable energies).

2. A creative third place every downtown needs:
As described in this article, the Creative Change Center offers creative people to get together at a cozy place downtown to discuss their ideas. I think the concept has a high potential for success, because this third place creates a positive and productive atmosphere in which people can share their ideas and may find partners which want to realize these ideas (e.g. for a new business) together with them. If businesses again would develop at such a place, the whole town would benefit (e.g. through taxes and more labor) at the end. Therefore I’m convinced that this concept should be applied to other cities with a high density of creative people.

3. Help! University needs town center immediately!
I think, a town center which is attractive for young people in their 20’s is one of the most important success factors for an university town. Young people base their decisions where to study not just on the quality of the school, but also on the attractiveness of the place. For this reason every university town should offer a suitable surrounding for young people to attract more of them to study at this place.

2) Please choose two projects or concepts from the above reading you think actually could usefully be applied in Mikkeli (concepts with high potential for success; can overlap with #1 above, or perhaps not).

1. Lighting up the night
To my mind, this concept might be applicable to the city of Mikkeli, especially due to the lack of light during the winter time. I’m convinced that more people would spend the evening outside downtown in restaurants or just with walking through the city, if they would be attracted by such light installations like in Siena (Italy). Combined with other events like a long shopping night maybe more one-day travelers would visit Mikkeli.

2. Schools as Community Centers
As already discussed during the presentation of our guest speaker last Thursday, the facilities of the city, especially those related to young people, could be used in a more efficient way. Like described in this article, instead of closing outside the school time, for example school gyms could be leased to sport clubs or event agencies or just be open places where young people can come together. Such measures would generate additional revenues for the city and maybe attract more people to spend time in Mikkeli (e.g. for training camps). This again may increase the whole tourism in the region through positive word-of-mouth advertising.

Jaakko Tikkanen writes:

1) Torpedo Factory Turned Artist Community
Now I'm personally not a big fan of art or fiercely against war, but this concept managed to brighten up my day. The idea of turning "a factory of death" into a place where young talented artists can present their visions and ideas through art somehow acts as a positive symbol of the hopefully more peaceful future.

2) The Beer Garden in Queens (Astoria)
This place closely reminds me about a similar beer garden in Innsbruck Austria called the Hofgarten.
The place is a beautiful outdoor restaurant built in the middle of a park and during my trip to Innsbruck this place was my ultimate favorite to spend the warm summer evenings. Later on during the night the place turns into a club and this way I was able to spend the whole evening at the same place if I felt like it.

3) From Abandoned Industrial District to Cool University Village
Personally I love these projects where buildings are being "reused" in totally different ways than they originally were built for. This example of transforming an industrial district that creates an image of seeing smoky and dirty factories to an area filled with bright individuals present the future. This example brings to my mind an old sugar factory in Vaasa Finland of which a part is currently being used as a golf training center during the winter time.

Applicable in Mikkeli

4) Apartment Therapy's Fall Colors Contest
This type of contest would be a great idea to organize in Mikkeli or actually anywhere in Finland. I agree with the fact that darkness is the worst thing in the whole country and what would be a better way to brighten up your everyday life by improvising and experimenting with warm bright colors in your apartment? By organizing a contest where there would be say 10 different apartments in downtown Mikkeli participating and they would be sold after the competition, at least these 10 apartments would be able to cheer their inhabitants up by keeping the darkness outside.

5) "Open DJ" night drawing crowds...
I could really see this concept working in Mikkeli in our beloved Kharma lounge/bar/club where often on Wednesdays the HSE Mikkeli students take over the whole building. It is a relatively common thing to ask the DJ to play the songs all of us or at least a certain group of us likes to hear and too many times on a Thursday morning I've heard the voices saying "and the DJ didn't even play what we asked him to..."

Minna Tuura writes:

Three development aspects or dimensions that seem most interesting to me personally

1. Torpedo factory turned artist community
An old torpedo factory was turned artist community in Alexandria, Virginia; now, the factory is a tourism destination for the city and a base for the creative class. The building's history bringing a special taste to the artist community, it is also vital to have a place that collects a city's artists into one place to share ideas, sell their work and raise the sense of togetherness.

2. Pasadena's urban village a result of city's vision
The article describes a new, urban village emerging from abandoned industrial buildings and parking lots in Pasadena. The project has, in addition to applying the urban visions of the original model, passed a green building ordinance, which means that the environment has also been taken in consideration when constructing the new neighbourhood.

3. Design your own office space
In this article, it is told that the architects of the next generation will "work with the creative vision of progressive future tenants". For example, one company distributed some money to each employee to design their own office, and the results are shown in pictures - relaxing, comfortable, cosy offices with bright colours and soft pillows, creating some kind of sense of home to the workplace.

Two projects or concepts from the reading that could be usefully applied in Mikkeli

All in all, I think that developing neighbourhoods (including "summer cottage neighbourhoods" if possible) is the key thing to do in Mikkeli. For tourists, there are already attractions, so by suggesting these two concepts, I actually target new inhabitants. These two things are not very big projects, but applicable and affordable for every neighbourhood, and aim to raise the sense of community and make the neighbourhood look more attractive to visitors.

1. A little help establishing a sense of community where there is little
By establishing a non-profit organization the sense of community can be approached, different kinds of events can be organized, and people in the neighbourhoods can get to know each other. This would be good in Mikkeli to raise the sense of togetherness and to attract more inhabitants to the neighbourhoods, which would now seem active and interesting due to the organization helping people to get to know each other and feel home.

2. Face-face social networking on the rise in condos
Social networking has now emerged from the websites to the built environment: there are places, where members of communities and neighbourhoods can get together, such as cinemas, poker tables, barbeque areas, children's playrooms, outdoor basketball courts, etc. In these activities, people can get to know each other informally; they can drop in and out whenever they feel like it, and it would be easy for new residents to join the activities.

Tobias Walle writes:

1) For myself, the following three development aspects / dimensions are most interesting:

• To generate a nice city atmosphere it is important to have living streets. This fact can be reached through live art among the streets. An example for this happening is San Telmo/Buenos Aires.

• Furthermore a city should try to build up a creative identity, what means funding projects with the aim drawing people back downtown to life, work and play (example: Pittsburgh)

• For big cosmopolitan cities, I think it is really important to develop vibrant culture quarters. These areas will improve the cultural life.

2) Useful concepts for Mikkeli could be

• to plan to recruit new businesses in town. This would increase the number of inhabitants and the creative class in the city. If you want to do this you have to develop a strategic management plan.

• to think about colored houses. In winter it is dark in Mikkeli for nearly the whole day. Colored houses would be something special in comparison with other cities and perhaps the rate of depression would go downward.

• to build innovative buildings. In Mikkeli there are not so many old buildings which attract sightseeing. Modern and innovative buildings would compensate this fact and would help Mikkeli becoming more interesting for tourists (example: Arizona State University).

• to look for more third places. In Mikkeli there are only less third places. That's why the city often seems to be a ghost-city in the evenings (example: Brunswick/ Maryland).

Hanna Väkevä writes:

1) Three development aspects/dimensions that seem most interesting to me personally:

1. Placemaking

Placemaking means making distinct spaces and designing places primarily for people. Great public places make the city a pleasant place to live in. An excellent definition for placemaking can be found from the site of Project for Public Places: "Placemaking is the art of creating public 'places of the soul,' that uplift and help us connect to each other."
PPS - Project for Public Places: "What Is Placemaking?"
"The art of placemaking"
"What makes a public place good"
"Placemaking from an artful perspective"
"The 'postcard test'"
"Using design psychology to create inspiring places"

2. Vernacular architecture

As defined in the "Water Street District: A Pattern Book (Naperville, Illinois)" vernacular architecture refers to the "development of particular characteristics of the architecture of a place. These characteristics are a result of geographic location, available natural resources, particular demographic needs and the culture of the inhabitants."
"Water Street District: A Pattern Book (Naperville, Illinois)"

3. Green development

Green building, defined by Wikipedia, is "the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources - energy, water, and materials - while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal - the complete building life cycle".
"Green building 201: Water"
"Green building"

2) Two projects/concepts that could usefully be applied in Mikkeli:

1. Civic tourism

Civic tourism is about redefining tourism as an enhancement to preserve and grow local quality of life and culture instead of regarding tourism just as a necessary evil needed to maintain a viable economy. "Civic Tourism is an extension of and tool for other "place-based" approaches, such as cultural heritage tourism, ecotourism, and geotourism. The mission of Civic Tourism ( is to "reframe" tourism's purpose - from an end to a means; that is, from an economic goal to a tool that can help the public enhance what they love about their place."
Civic tourism
"Civic tourism... for residents"
"Implementing a more creative, alternative tourism"

2. Developing Mikkeli more as a student town - increasing interaction both between HSE and polytechnic, and between the schools and the town.
"What makes a great college town?"
"How can cities retain universities' talent?"

Suvi Väkeväinen writes:

Personal interest:

1) Cities celebrating pedestrians in a big way each week
Nice idea to get people to walk and ride a bike at least this one day a month. Good for the environment since there are fewer emissions from cars, and maybe some people will realize that they do not need their cars in all of their errands. In Finland, there is a similar day but it is not as effective since no roads are actually closed for cars. I think this would be a good idea to implement in many places since it would encourage people to exercise, it has benefited many stores in El Paso by attracting more consumers to shop on those days and it will definitely benefit the environment. Another article from CoolTowns was from London were a similar day has been a huge success for the local stores.

2) Cubicleless in Seattle: Going creative (2 of 2)
We already discussed in class the idea of working independently in a coffee shop to avoid the feeling of loneliness. I think the Office Nomads is even a better choice than a coffee shop for work. The idea of renting an office-space (either daily or monthly) is great for those who do not have the space at home or only need to use one every now and then. The Office Nomads include everything from faxes to meeting rooms and a coffee lounge. You can even bring your dog there, which would probably be impossible in most coffee shops. I think this is also good since it brings creative people together, they can share ideas and even create new partnerships and alliances.

3) Theaters of the future?
With DVD's, the internet etc people don't really go to the theater anymore, instead movies are downloaded from the web for free, and many young people haven't even seen a single play in their lifetime. I think going to the movies or the theater is somewhat of a special occasion, since at least the prices in Finland are not that cheap. Consumers are demanding more and more all the time and I believe the multiplex theaters with numerous services under one roof, is the only way theaters will remain profitable in the future. People are looking for convenience and this would surely provide it. Nice to see how long it will take for Finland to expand the movie theaters this far.

Could be applied in Mikkeli:

4) "Open DJ" night drawing crowds...
This would be quite an easy thing to apply for example in Kharma or Vaakuna. Just an advertisement in the newspaper of some flyers in universities and polytechnics would surely raise interest among young people. Many people ask the dj to play their favorite songs and it seems like they never come. This would be an awesome opportunity to play the songs yourself. This could even be a theme night every once in a month or something, when a few people could decide the music for a part of the night.

5) Smallest coolest apartments 2007
A similar idea to this competition could be applied in Mikkeli in terms of summer cottages. There are so many summer cottages around the Mikkeli area and for many Finns, they have a great importance in life, and some consider them as a second home. The city could organize a competition on who has the coolest summer cottage in Mikkeli. Most of the time, the cottages are quite small and you have to fit a lot of things and many people in that small space. Thus, creativity and an open mind are usually required when decorating your summer cottage. In addition, people could get more ideas from others in order to improve their summer cottages and in general, it would be a fun summer activity.

Our project was nicely introduced (in Finnish) in a Länsi-Savo news article


Prof. Bruce Henry Lambert