Walkability in Helsinki: Survey Design and Results Report

Consulting Project

The city of Helsinki has set an ambitious aim to be the most functional city in the world. One core dimension of this vision is improving walkability in the city center.

To start a dialogue with residents about the vision, Helsinki decided to open a survey for asking how people perceived the current state of walkability in the city center and where it could be developed. Their idea was to provide an effortless way for citizens to get involved in the planning process already early on.

We were hired to co-create a Maptionnaire survey with Helsinki’s planning experts, and, after the data collection phase, compile a report of the results.

The project was launched with a workshop for designing the contents of the survey together with a group of architects, city planners, participation coordinators, and mobility researchers working for the city. Once their diverse wishes were combined, the survey included questions about e.g. the everyday movements of pedestrians, people’s wishes for improvements, and the plans the city already had underway.

Picture 1: The respondents were asked to draw their everyday routes on a map. They could also mark places along their routes that they find unpleasant as well as the highlights of the routes or places that make them stop.

Picture 1: The respondents were asked to draw their everyday routes on a map. They could also mark places along their routes that they find unpleasant as well as the highlights of the routes or places that make them stop.

Picture 2: The city’s existing plans for improving the pedestrian experience were highlighted on the map as clickable objects that included information and feedback requests about them.

Picture 2: The city’s existing plans for improving the pedestrian experience were highlighted on the map as clickable objects that included information and feedback requests about them.

Besides receiving information about the highlights or unpleasantries of people’s walking routes, we also consider the areas with no markings at all valuable for the project.
— Anu Hämäläinen, Participation Planner, City of Helsinki