Hervanta – the clean machine

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Just returned from Hervanta – a satellite city outside Tampere in Finland. A quite strange place in the way how perfect and planned (almost) everything looked – a clean machine. And this especially in comparison with the Croatian version of a satellite city – Novi Zagreb that I wrote about in the previous post. See photos from Hervanta here.

Novi Zagreb has a high degree of appropriation – the way people transform their surroundings – that makes the place both more human but also more messy – that is probably also very human. A porosity that makes the place open for change by people in a way that is very different from Hervanta.

What the two areas have in common is that people like to live there as opposed to many suburbs in westerns cities. One thing is that they both are big enough to have a critical mass that creates the basis for shops and public services.

What also makes Hervanta special is the big technical university that forms a  core in the neighbourhood together with the commercial center. It might not be a coincidence, that the first phonecall using the GSM standard was done here.

This is symbolic in two ways: both that Hervanta lacks “natural” meeting points so you have to agree to meet – EG using your phone. But also that the kind of innovation that is based on a standard – the GSM – that the nordic countries created and that spurred the mobile industry here, Nokia and Ericsson.

One can say that this standardisation  was the condition for the mobile industry to grow but also that the same system can only innovate to a certain degree and now Nokia (and Hervanta) has been taken over by Silicon Valley. Something similar might be the case with the very standardised way of urban development. It only has a strength up to a certain point.

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