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OECD Territorial Reviews: Helsinki, Finland 2003

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Helsinki, Finland 2003

The Greater Helsinki Region emerged from the 1990s as an internationally competitive economy. This review examines the factors contributing to this success and the new development challenges it has created. One critical policy question is the Finnish dependence on the telecom/mobile industry. The current strategic positioning of the Finnish ICT cluster builds on a high-return/high-risk scenario. Long-term regional competitiveness requires a more focused strategy of diversification, i.e. developing ICT activities beyond the current cluster scope. Social inclusion is another crucial issue. Persistent unemployment among the less educated population and growing income disparities are calling for the restructuring of past policies. The Greater Helsinki Region needs to find ways to promote new opportunities of social cohesion. Rapid population growth has resulted from greater economic competitiveness requiring renewed commitment to managed growth and compact development. All of these challenges create needs for greater metropolitan co-ordination that are examined in turn.

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Guaranteeing Social Inclusion

As a result of a deep-rooted tradition of social equity and integration, the Finnish welfare state has limited social inequalities within the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in contrast with other European or American cities marked by a clear spatial concentration of poverty and exclusion in deprived neighbourhoods. The substantial increase in long-term unemployment induced by the recession in the early 1990s has begun to challenge this model of social integration. Despite the high degree of homogeneity that prevailed in the Helsinki region, some disparities seem increasingly salient and reflect the possible emergence of a multidimensional segregation process within the area...

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