Vision work develops Malmi as the centre of north-east Helsinki

MDI, together with the ‘New City collective‘, drafted a scenario and produced vision work on the development of the Malmi area for the City of Helsinki. The basis for this work is the need to develop Malmi as the new centre of northeast Helsinki. Malmi’s commercial services are concentrated in shopping centres, but the area is expected to develop into a stronger central area able to compete in terms of commercial attraction. At present, the public image of the Malmi station area is negative and, according to a citizen survey, is perceived as unattractive and even unsafe.

In addition, for example, walking conditions are perceived to be moderately poor due to the cumbersome block structure and furthermore, the rail line divides Malmi functionally into Upper and Lower Malm. The station area therefore needs significant renovation and development. With the construction of the new housing development in the former Malmi Airport area, the Malmi station area will also be developed as one of the city’s priority areas. The Malmi station area is also intended to serve as a hub for new residents in the former airport area.

MDI’s scenario analysis described how the Malmi station area and the former airport area could functionally grow together outlining the measures required. MDI’s analysis also shows how the position of the Malmi station area as a north-eastern centre requires strong growth in the former Malmi Airport area and calculates the demand for services generated by its new population. Similarly, the development of the airport area into a public transport-focused area, as desired by the city, requires an increase in the image of the station area, including major refurbishment and the clarification of the block structures and routes.

Malmi’s traditional village image, promoting its historical character and strong immigrant entrepreneurship, can be utilised in the development and branding of the area. The key challenge is how the airport and station areas will grow, not only structurally and functionally, but also ‘spiritually’ into one Malmi area. Based on MDI’s analysis, the New City Collective drew up three vision plans for the development of the Malmi station area.