Archives Suunnittelu / Ideointi / Planning / Brainstorming

The birth of a dog association

Posted on September 16, 2007 at 11:53, by pigasus

The idea for founding a dog association in the Vanhankaupunginkoski area came in 2007 when the first buildings of a new block had just been completed and new residents with their dogs moved in. It was easy to believe that there would be a whole lot of new dogs in the area soon because the Vanhankaupunginkoski area has excellent grounds for outdoor recreation and walking dogs.

Dog people get to know each other quickly. This case was no exception. Outside, we talked a lot not only about dogs, but also about how the area will develop and what kind of needs the dog people would have. When we found out that the city is making plans for a dog park somewhere in the area, we decided to found an association that could work for the realisation of this plan and negotiate with the city officials.

Another reason for founding the association was to cherish a positive attitude towards dogs. While there were dog owners among those who had recently moved in, there were also people who found the large number of dogs disturbing. It has also come to the general awareness that not all dog owners took care of cleaning up after their pets or kept their dogs on a lead in the near-by recreational tracks. When we were founding the association, we decided that Gammel dogs association would work to support peaceful co-existence between people with dogs and those without, so that everyone could enjoy the wonderful surroundings. To achieve this, we organised campaigns and mobilised people to clean up the area together. We also had an open resident gathering, where we had invited city officials and decision-makers to talk about the development plans for the area. This kind of principles that were for the common benefit inspired several sponsors to support our activities and we have organised similar kind of events annually.

We also started to complement the range of activities available with different courses: canine massage, obedience training and walks together. One of our guiding principles has always been to match activities to the extent of our resources.

Gammel Dogs Association / Markus Talvio

Translation by Pigasus Translations

Communal spirit workshop led to the formation of a new group

Posted on March 8, 2010 at 22:05, by pigasus

Artova organised a communal district workshop where participants brainstormed ways to promote the communal spirit of the area. One of the ideas raised was the need of a dog park, which prompted the formation of a small group of four people called The Paws of Arabianranta. The group met and brainstormed ideas for a dog-walking environment that would be more stimulating than regular dog parks.

One of the ideas presented was to create an un-fenced area designated for walking dogs. In the near-by city of Sipoo there is a dog forest, without a fence, where a certain part of the forest has been designated for letting one’s dog run off the lead. There are similar areas across Europe, so why not in Artova?

The group had a further idea of acquiring sponsors, so that the city of Helsinki wouldn’t be the only party responsible for the expenses of upkeep and providing the stimulating elements.


Translation by Pigasus Translations

Initial contact with a potential sponsor

Posted on March 30, 2010 at 22:21, by pigasus

More by accident than design I happened to sit at the same table with the marketing director of an international dog food brand. We had a leisurely chat about keeping dogs and also about the Finnish dog parks.

One of the issues we discussed was why dog parks couldn’t be branded and commercialised like event arenas and stadiums. The thought wouldn’t leave me. I didn’t know, at the time, that about one year later I would sit at the same table talking about the same idea.

Best not to put all one’s eggs in one basket

When choosing the commercial partners, one inevitably has to consider what the project in question is and what kind of know-how is necessary for success. I decided to stash another ace away in my sleeve by contacting a Finnish company who is known to have some strong experience in product innovation. Over the years, the company has also convinced yours truly of its growth potential in international markets.

Contacting them was a wild card, so to speak, because the company operates in a very different area of business and has thus nothing to do with dog parks or even dogs. In spite of this, it was my personal opinion that co-operation in the dog park project would open up some new business for them. Not a bad opening line to say to the manager in charge of business area development and marketing. Again, there was a one-year break before we returned to the issue.


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Connections to the city of Helsinki Public Works Department

Posted on April 17, 2010 at 22:38, by pigasus

The Paws of Arabianranta set out actively to find out what had happened to the dog park initiative that had been filed as early as in 2007. Sanna Hellström contacted the city engineer at Public Works Department by email. The office manager of Street and Park Division replied, writing that intend to include a dog park in the town plan of Pornaistenniemi (Viikinranta area) but the planning is not yet complete. The snippet particularly of interest in the email is the following: A town plan for the area doesn’t exist yet, but the planner thinks the dog enclosure can already be constructed nonetheless. The drafting is likely to start this year and the construction next year.

The email raised hopes of having a dog park in the Artova area in the summer of 2011.


Translation by Pigasus Translations

WDC meeting 1

Posted on May 22, 2010 at 22:54, by pigasus

Artova organised an open workshop on Helsinki being the World Design Capital 2012. The workshop took place in culture and resident house Kääntöpaikka and there were some ten participants representing a diversity of ages and personalities. Despite the focused and laid-back atmosphere, I was a bit disappointed in the introduction that preceded the actual brainstorming. Partially the reason lies in me being a pragmatic person who expects brainstorming to have clearly defined goals and boundaries.

Luckily for me, there seemed to be a few others who thought it weird that WDC had in its great wisdom decided to ask the residents of different Helsinki districts for concepts without giving them a framework to work in, a description of what a good idea entails. In other words, didn’t WDC know yet what kind of selection criteria they would apply when making decisions about our ideas? Read more

In the beginning, there was a pit

Posted on June 11, 2010 at 23:19, by pigasus

The first planning session was held on the 10th of June 2010 in Kääntöpaikka, following the event invitations on Facebook by Airikka Nurmela, the “mother” of the idea. In the meeting, we reached the conclusion that the empty plot in the corner of Muotoilijankatu and Arabiankatu is a great place for, if not else, cultivating greens in containers. We decided to put up an open Facebook group called Urban Growers of Arabianranta (Arabianrannan kaupunkiviljelijät). It was agreed that the goal would be to get cultivation underway this summer.

Translation by Pigasus Translations


Posted on June 13, 2010 at 23:24, by pigasus

Right after the first grower meeting, Airikka Nurmela began to make enquiries about the situation of the empty plot and had the idea of calling to Niina Puumalainen in the Helsinki city Economic and Planning Centre. Ms. Puumalainen works in District Development Section, and Arabianranta is one of the areas she’s in charge of. Read more

Action in the background

Posted on June 21, 2010 at 23:33, by pigasus

Tuula Isohanni sent a message, saying that she had discussed the idea with Markku Hakuri, the professor of environmental art at Aalto University, and that the idea was in Mr. Hakuri’s view feasible.

Niina Puumalainen enquired about the opinion of the owner of the plot, the Real Estate Department of the city, and found that the department reaction was positive. Their message was that the city would be content with a nominal rent but it would have to be clear who is responsible for the upkeep of the plot and the cultivation.

Translation by Pigasus Translations

The second meeting

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 23:42, by pigasus

Tuula Isohanni from Aalto University took part in the second grower meeting in Kääntöpaikka. Participation remained modest. Ms. Isohanni was very excited about the idea and had pitched it successfully to the environmental art department.

In the meeting we tried to formulate requirements for the cultivation, all the things we would like it to be. We sketched some plans for the future as well. The Aalto City Garden project must fulfil all WDC 2012 criteria, and so Airikka promised to write a proper initiative application for a WDC initiative.

Translation by Pigasus Translations

Application for a WDC 2012 initiative

Posted on August 18, 2010 at 22:00, by pigasus

Based on the discussion in the two grower meetings, Airikka drew up the following proposal for the application for a WDC 2012 initiative.



Edible Arabianranta is a plan thought up by the residents of the area, which unites urban agriculture and environmental art to form common living rooms for the residents.

There is an oasis in a lush park by a stream. A few city residents are looking after their plants. Summer squashes seem to yield a particularly good harvest this year. Read more