Park in flux: Change and continuity in the planning discourse of Kaisaniemi Park

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Built Environment and Architecture as a Resource, Volume 2020, issue 1, The NAAR Proceedings Series
The dynamic between change and continuity represents the fundamental tension within the urban planning of historically valuable, protected environments. This study examines a less well-known area of cultural heritage: a historical urban park and the problematics of preservation and renewal. The case study of this research analyses the planning discourse of Kaisaniemi Park, one of the oldest city parks in Finland, situated in the centre of Helsinki. Divergent planning and renewal projects have been an almost constant part of Kaisaniemi Park’s nearly 200 years of history. This article focuses on the three central planning phases of the park: the renewal discourse of the 1910s; the design competition of 2000; and the master plan of 2007, connected to the local detailed plan. Opposing ideals and styles collided in the park renewal process of the 1910s. The architectural competition in 2000 aimed at redefining the identity of the park and replacing the historical structure with new meanings and contents. The master plan of 2007 sought a new balance between continuity and transition. With the case study of Kaisaniemi, we explore how the renewal and preservation intentions appear in the planning discourse. What were the arguments and who were the actors behind this discourse? We link our case study to a wider framework of the preservation of urban parks and examine how continuity materializes in this context. We also consider how to preserve cultural heritage, its essential dimension being change, and the contradictory interpretations of different eras.
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Hautamäki , R & Donner , J 2020 , Park in flux: Change and continuity in the planning discourse of Kaisaniemi Park . in M Chudoba , A Hynynen , M Rönn & A E Toft (eds) , Built Environment and Architecture as a Resource . 1 edn , vol. 2020 , The NAAR Proceedings Series , no. 1 , vol. 2020 , Nordic Academic Press of Architectural Research , pp. 153-180 , NAF/NAAR Symposium , Seinäjoki , Finland , 31/05/2018 . < >