MDI, together with its partners Hypo, Rakli, MuniFin and the Association of Finnish Municipalities, has launched the ‘Urban Policy Rhythm Change’ project. Its aim is to describe the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on population and employment development in the largest urban areas of Finland and their impact on the housing market and the construction sector along three different timelines: acute effects (-2021), recovery phase 2021–2023 and medium-term effects and targets up to 2025.
The pandemic has caused a global shock affecting all areas of society. At the centre of this maelstrom is the city, the basic driver of which is as a support structure for the active and diverse interaction of people. In addition to unemployment, other urban phenomena experienced as a result of the pandemic include the depopulation of offices as people move to remote working, deviations in migration flows, the substantial rise in online commerce and the steep decline in public transport users.
It is therefore essential for the future of cities and the country as a whole to analyse these phenomena and consider whether they are temporary or whether they either reinforce longer-term trends or are likely to trigger long-lasting change.
Tested methods of scenario work
The Urban Policy Rhythm Change’ project will be implemented using the MDI method, tested successfully in previous urban policy roadmap projects, with a team from MDI, plus partners and invited external experts (approximately 15 people) meeting 3-4 times during the process in a creative workshop. There are three steps in the process:
As a basis for the work, MDI produces data-based statistical analyses. Based on the latest statistical, survey and research data, MDI experts will prepare a description of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on employment, population development, the housing market and construction activities in the largest urban areas. In addition to MDI’s own and public statistical sources, additional data held by partners will also be utilised.
Creation of scenarios
Partners, MDI experts and selected external researchers will use the ‘MDI Club Method’ to produce 2–3 alternative scenarios for urbanisation and the housing and construction markets in the coming years. Attention will also be paid to revitalisation measures up to 2023 (the cost of the measures may continue until 2026) as well as to other urban policy measures to be taken in the first half of the 2020s.
Recommendations for action
Based on the analysis and scenarios produced, critical urban policy themes and measures are identified to optimally accelerate the recovery and develop a concise programme of measures which may cover longer-term infrastructure investments in addition to rapid recovery measures (eg green transition, digitalisation, state and urban infrastructure investments) and, more broadly, legislative, labour market, housing and transport policy proposals.
The project will be implemented by the beginning of March 2021 and will result in 2-3 scenarios as well as a compilation of the necessary rapid recovery and longer-term urban policy measures.
Veera Mustonen, lead specialist, MDI (+358 40 508 4022)