Kouvola’s senior secondary school in Kuusankoski won the ‘Municipal Vision’ (Kuntavisio) pilot competition with its communication-focused idea. As a prize, the team received a €200 reward. In addition, all teams participating in the finals of the competition will each receive regional development grants from MDI at their spring festival. The competition introduced the municipality’s own business and welfare strategies and considered ways to improve the municipality’s vitality and the participation of young people in municipal development.
In addition to MDI, the competition’s partners are the 4H organisation, Nuva ry, Finnish entrepreneurs and the Association of Finnish Municipalities. The event was hosted by 4H-Influential Youth’s Rasmus Korpela. The jury was chaired by Heiju Simola, the Finnish Entrepreneurs’ Network Coordinator. In addition, MDI’s Janne Antikainen, NUVA’s chairman Anton Hietsilta, the Association of Finnish Municipalities’ expert Ville Nieminen and 4H-Influential youth secretary Saana Puustinen formed the jury. The criteria for judging were the innovativeness, feasibility, creation and ingenuity of the idea and the involvement of young people. At its peak, the event was attended by about 70 participants.
In the work of competition winners, Anni Lehtonen, Aada Simola, Siiri Ollikainen and Elina Vainikainen, communication, especially the development of social media, played a major role. The team highlighted the vitality strategy and the need to involve young people more in the city’s communication. In connection with the communication issue, the improvement of Kouvola’s image was also examined. The work was praised especially for the consideration of the municipal strategy and the easy-to-implement idea.
Other entries came from Lahti, Tampere and Helsinki. From Lahti Co-educational High School, Danil Schröder, Kalle Verto and Akseli Simola promoted the Green City ideology, as Lahti is the European environment city for 2021. Based on this, the team came up with the idea of Lahti Cycling. Selina Nykänen, Janette Mäkinen and Jemina Reinikainen from The Tampere University Teacher Training School had done extensive background work and, for example, conducted a survey on the attractiveness of Tampere for their high school students. In their presentation, the team considered e.g. how their city could stand out from the rest compared to other cities. One of the ideas was the construction of a spa in the Särkänniemi area, but the contestants stated that such a plan is already being formulated by the city. The presentation by Nea Päkki and Helen Ilomäki from the Helsinki School of International Business included several development ideas related to the meeting facilities for young people. In their presentation, the Helsinki team raised both the involvement of young people and the development of the city’s attractions. The main idea was to implement a café run by young people which would offer young people both jobs and a place to hang out and study.
The jury praised the richness of the ideas and the extensive background work across all of the entries. In each, the strengths of the cities and the involvement of young people had been identified.
The municipal vision will return bigger and better than ever next time!