Eriksson Architects invests in research and development. Our tools range from habitat surveys to virtual models. For example, last winter we investigated homeseekers’ preferences in KUUMA-region* with an internet survey in co-operation with Mapita Ltd. and Etuovi.com –web service. The survey was first of its kind in the history for Eriksson Architects.
The survey is part of “Kuuma Quality Housing” (Kuuma-laatuasuminen, an abbreviation for a project for high-quality small scale housing that promotes smart growth) which is a two-year joint research and development venture between 10 municipalities and a multidisciplinary team of consulting firms, coordinated by Eriksson Architects’ Arja Sippola and Satu Lavinen.
What did the survey reveal? Within the region, the homeseekers preferred very different municipalities: Tuusula (15%), Järvenpää (15%) ja Mäntsälä (9%). Good connections or location were the key strengths, followed by prevalence of small-scale housing, and specific features of the apartment or its surroundings. Most users appreciate hanging out at home, local services and connections to large recreation areas. The survey revealed several different resident profiles: some, (“with a Ford to Forest”) not so surprisingly prefer quiet, loose housing in separate apartments, and fetch their services from afar, while some (“City Greens”) prefer ecological lifestyle, appreciate public transportation, bicycle routes and favour local services and consider that a smaller lot combines the benefits of independent housing and ease of apartment housing. To summarize the results, it looks that there is a solid demand for urban housing in the KUUMA-region though detached housing is still popular and present-day lot sizes are criticized for their meagerness. A denser urban structure has many undeniable advantages, despite the ongoing debate about the reasons and solutions regarding carbon footprint. This is good news for the KUUMA-region: the municipalities need versatile homes and housing areas in the future too. This, of course, means job for planners and designers!
* KUUMA-region consists of 10 municipalities around Helsinki, the capital city of Finland: Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Mäntsälä, Nurmijärvi, Pornainen, Sipoo, Tuusula ja Vihti