Helsinki Impact Conference offered tangible solutions and encouraged people to think ahead

Helsinki Impact Conference, organised by the City of Helsinki, invited decision-makers, experts and researchers to join forces and examine the role of cities as global change-makers in the future of Europe. The conference, held at Musiikkitalo in Helsinki on 9–10 October, was part of the official programme of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and its theme was particularly topical: it is cities that serve as the stage for nearly all contemporary phenomena such as immigration, accelerating inequality and climate change. As cities grow quickly, it is important to find solutions to promote the well-being of both people and the climate.

Declaration of the Helsinki Impact Conference 2019: Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm spur the solving of global challenges

Helsinki invited other cities and collaboration partners to take systemic and rapid actions in solving global challenges. The joint declaration was signed on 10 October 2019 in Helsinki as a conclusion to the Helsinki Impact Conference.

Helsinki’s 3D city model 

One of the key themes of HIC 2019 Conference is strengthening the role of cities as innovation platforms. Digitalization is shaping the world at a fast pace. Therefore, European cities must take an active role in utilizing all the possibilities brought forward by new digital technologies. One of these possibilities is 3D city modelling.

Transforming cities through branding

Practices of city branding have evolved in parallel with what researchers have termed the “entrepreneurial” city – a city that is transformed and marketed with the purpose of succeeding in inter-urban competition for capital, visitors and skilled people. This outward orientation of western cities emerged as a response to the crisis of the Keynesian economic model and Fordist mode of production from the 1970s onwards. 

Timely regional information for a brighter future

Cities engaged in acting together locally towards sustainable policies and meaningful change lead the way to a better future. One way to contribute to speeding up the progress towards sustainability is to provide accessible up-to-date data in one place. In the era of information overload, it is becoming increasingly vital that reliable data is readily available – not only for decision makers but also for everyone interested in our future.

Championing Cities

“The city is arguably one of mankind’s greatest innovations. A focus for creativity and exchange, its identity is defined by its Places of Connection, Places of Arrival and Departure, Places of Collection, Exchange and Distribution”, Professor John Worthington

Moving Towards Global Impact of Cities

The existing political and economic system has evolved to respond to the challenges of the period of industrialization more than 150 years ago. Now, the urgent climate crisis and rapid technological change are challenging old structures such as the division of power between supranational, national and local entities. Cities and cross-border city networks have a possibility to redeem their potential as more influential players in global agenda setting by tackling these challenges efficiently and fairly. By strengthening city networks from peer-learning platforms into capable changemakers, we can have a truly global impact on the wicked problems of our day.

From Agenda to Action – The Implementation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Power of Cities

In recent years it has become clear that many of the world’s greatest transformations from digitalization to climate change make their most profound impacts at the local level. Cities are the new powerhouses of the world, and now build a global community much like nation-states before them. The desire to move our role from a mere implementor to the setting of the global agenda is shared among many cities. As mayors, we are responsible for providing the best possible conditions for the everyday lives of our citizens. Increasingly, this means responsibility beyond our physical borders.

City Regions Must Act Together

Metropolitan regions must take an active role in developing the future of our world. Administrative boundaries should not be a hindrance to European cities’ pursuit to find the best possible solutions to building socially, environmentally and economically sustainable societies.