OECD Territorial Reviews: Helsinki, Finland 2003

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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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Spatial Planning and Design

The Helsinki region sets a very high standard in urbanistic, governmental, economic, environmental, social, educational, cultural and architectural terms. Both the city and surrounding municipalities have achieved great success in many dimensions and many areas. The metropolitan region is well planned, with carefulland use and a balanced and efficient transportation system. The municipal governments are competent and increasingly co-ordinated. The region’s economy has been robust, fast-growing and internationally competitive. The Finnish respect and love for the natural environment has ensured that the land has remained thickly forested and the waters ecologically healthy. Social services are among the best in the world, with exceptionally high social security, welfare and equality. Education, free from daycare to university, is universally available and of high quality, augmented by an extensive library system...

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