Well being centre for immigrant population of Helsinki

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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In an ever changing world, particularly in the era dominated by globalization and climate change, movement of people across borders is reaching new heights. Search for a better life, education and research resources, escape from the war or political prosecution or escape caused by severe environmental atrocities are just a few to mention causes to a global trend of migration. Even though it seems like something very acute and out of proportions actually the process itself is as old as humans. People would change the place of habitation throughout the history. Nevertheless the scale of migration has changed and the distances are stretched therefore the socio-political and economical implications are more pronounced as well as impact on the climate and environment. Accommodating and adapting for those changes is an ongoing process that requires approach in all directions and expertise of various fields. This thesis is aiming to investigate how design process can help individuals, who willingly or against their intention ended up being in a different social context, make smooth transition toward new society. The design is primarily focused on the building scale but the implications could be seen as further reaching, affecting the quality of neighbourhood livability and overall social and cultural infrastructure of the city of Helsinki. The main task was to determine how a building can have a transformative role and how built structure in general can affect metaphysical aspects of human adaptation processes that include feelings, socialization and communication, moods, comfort and so forth. Design is largely rooted in the quality of location and choice of building program that form a solid ground for the experiment to be successful. The site of this fictional project is placed in Kallio district of Helsinki. Its proximity to the city centre, the availability of services, high population density, social and political diversity and over all charm of the place are all the factors that support the idea of inclusive society that encourages human interaction and welcomes diversity and new ways of living and being. To further strengthen the idea of integration, the choice of room program has a nudge effect that informally and seemingly unintentionally boosts human interaction.
Huttunen, Hannu
Thesis advisor
Ståhlberg-Aalto, Freja
Hewidy, Hossam
well being, diversity, integration, social cohesion, contact, informal sociability
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