The connection between inhabitants’ justifications of their attitudes towards residential infill development in their neighborhood and areal characteristics

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Creative Sustainability in Real Estate
Degree programme
Master’s Degree Programme in Real Estate Economics
Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HMA) is a growing region with rising demand for housing. The low density of housing, which is very often visible in Finland and in other Nordic countries, bears great potential for infill development to conquer or at least ease the growing need for housing. Densification is often argued to be one answer to the environmental pressures the built environment is coping with. The main argument is that, densification of residential areas will make better use of existing infrastructure and decrease travelling. In addition to the positive environmental impacts, the infill developments are argued to have societal benefits such as diversification of population and land use, and increased vitality of the area. Infill development can also bring economic benefits to various parties. At the same time that the city is seeking savings in infrastructure construction and maintenance costs, housing companies may also receive financial means from the construction of a new building on their property. This income can potentially cover costs needed for example for energy and pipe renovations, and lift construction. In Finland, where the level of owner-occupancy in housing is high, homeowners can be seen as key players when discussing new infill developments. While the public sector sets the frames, eventually much is in hands of the real estate owner and inhabitant. Even though the impact of infill developments has been studied thoroughly, little is still known about the reasons behind willingness or unwillingness of inhabitants to support infill development in their neighborhood. The topic deserves attention, as infill development projects will be frequently used in the future as a tool to handle growing population of HMA. The aim of this study is to find connections between characteristics of areas and their inhabitants’ attitude towards infill development. This knowledge could be applied in promoting infill development in specific areas and in urban planning processes to support infill developments in the future. The inhabitants’ attitudes are examined through a questionnaire survey. The survey was carried out in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and the extensive questionnaire received opinions from more than 1000 respondents. The inhabitants’ attitudes towards infill development are compared to actual areal characteristics of their neighborhoods to reveal their interconnections and significance. The case study consists of 17 areas in HMA.
Viitanen, Kauko
Thesis advisor
Toivonen, Saija
densification, infill development, sustainability, case study
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