People need nature around them to feel healthy and to be happy. This is true inside as well as outside. This spring we are taking part in Smart Kalasatama’s agile piloting programme and building a thriving urban oasis in the Kalasatama district in Helsinki. We’ll create a rain garden designed to store rainwater and to return it to nature.

The project in Kalasatama is an amazing chance to improve the functionality of the eco-friendly rain garden solution we’ve designed. The biggest part of the structure is an outside version of a green wall that will be surrounded by an urban oasis: a green and cosy nature ensemble. The components of the oasis will store rainwater and return it to nature. This way, the oasis doesn’t just add cosiness, it is also a solution for controlling rainwater. With this experiment, we’ll collect important information for product development and create partnerships with different actors. Also, during and after the project the oasis will be used in teaching by a nearby school.

From indoors to outdoors

This spring, our operations will expand from indoors to outdoors because for a long time we’ve wanted to bring something new with our signature style to the outdoors. “My job was to think what this could be for the Kalasatama project: what is a garden by InnoGreen like and how does it stand out?” says Mats Wikström, who is in charge of garden building services. “Everyone was thinking of a customised verdant paradise. In my mind I kept going back to a green wall, which is our unique product. Rainforest… rain.. water.”

We had designed ecosystem services, like rain gardens, for a long time before we took part in the project, which made it possible for the project to progress quickly. “At the moment there are a few options as to where exactly in Kalasatama to build the oasis. The location will naturally effect the execution, so next up is to refine the urban oasis to fit the site perfectly,” explains Mats. “When the snow melts, we will hopefully get to set up the first structures immediately. By then we should have all the details resolved. Very exciting!”

What is Smart Kalasatama?

Smart Kalasatama is a project aiming to make Kalasatama in Helsinki a resource-wise neighbourhood. “Resource-wise” means that the area is developed flexibly and through experiments together with residents, corporations, the City of Helsinki, and other actors. The vision is for smart city development innovations to save residents an hour each day.

The rain garden is a part of the Smart Kalasatama project’s agile piloting programme. The programme buys small experiments for the area to make innovative services available to residents. The programme aims to promote cooperative experiments between multiple actors and to stimulate the development of good concepts into service innovations and new business ventures.