The second Housing Forum in the history of Hoas was held on May 10. Themes of the day were responsibility of housing and community spirit.
The purpose of the housing forum is to hold interesting discussions related to housing and students’ lives, and to offer representatives of the student unions a direct channel for discussion with Hoas.
Is it possible to live responsibly in Finland?
The day started with a discussion where a panel of experts discussed whether it is possible to live responsibly in Finland. The discussion focused especially on where the emissions from housing originate and what are the best opportunities for consumers to influence.
Emission-free energy is a simple, impressive solution
In the panel discussion on responsibility, it was stated that when you, as a consumer, want to reduce the carbon footprint of housing, the easiest single way is to purchase energy that is emission-free – or to pressure your landlord to do so.
At the forum, it was also stated that the carbon footprint of housing is of course about much more than just obtaining emission-free energy. For example, during the construction phase of a new house, emissions equivalent to about 50 years of use are generated
“Development in the construction industry has been stagnant, but now changes must be made quickly. Big questions for Hoas are improving the energy efficiency of current buildings and designing new apartments in a sustainable way – in such a way that students will still live in them a hundred years from now. Although our responsibility goals are ambitious, at the same time we have to keep the prices of student housing reasonable. We are always looking for the smartest solutions,” Hoas’ responsibility manager Marika Nyyssönen stated.
Decisions and guidance at the national level are of great importance
Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki’s Urban Environment, who participated in the housing forum discussion, saw that the future government has important decisions related to responsible housing in its hands.
“It is really important that the future government does its part to ensure that we have enough student apartments and other reasonably priced rental apartments. Equally important is that it is always profitable to make the best energy solutions in terms of the environment and the investments they require in those apartments. The future government must ensure that the maximum prices and regulations for interest-subsidized affordable housing do not become an obstacle to these investments, because they save the climate and pay for themselves,” stated Sinnemäki.
Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki, CEO of Green Building Council Antti Ruuska, Kesko’s customer information director Minna Vakkilainen, SYL board member Sonja Naalisvaara and Hoas’ responsibility manager Marika Nyyssönen took part in the discussion. The discussion was moderated by journalist Jari Hanska.
The future of community with Hoas
After the responsibility panel, representatives of the student councils and Hoas tenants, as well as Hoas management, delved deeper into the development of Hoas’ sense of community.
The topic was introduced with a presentation of research-based perspectives of community and an overview of the current state of community at Hoas.
In the workshop groups formed by the participants, the future of community was considered from three perspectives; the importance of spaces, the possibilities of digital community and lowering the threshold for participation in resident activities.
Spaces for different needs
Regarding the facilities, it was discussed, for example, that it would be beneficial to map the use needs of the facilities more systematically, so that they would be best utilized. In addition, it was stated that the needs can vary a lot between different people and properties, and that the formation of community requires the tenants to be active in any case.
Support for community building from digital platforms
Even if the workshop did not find direct solutions to the problems of community from the digital platforms, it stated that there would be a demand for some kind of digital platform for tenants to interact with each other. Instead of a new app, the discussion platform should be found in the same place as, for example, where sauna and laundry reservations are made. This way one would visit there often in everyday life anyway.
Openness and ease lower the threshold
To lower the threshold for tenants’ activities, possibilities were considered to change terms and titles to sound less official. In addition, it was stated that the more tenant committees tell about themselves and what they do, the easier it is for others to get involved.
Information will be utilized in communality development
The topic of communality in housing is especially topical now, as the Joint Administration Act will be renewed in 2024. We want to support communality in housing in more creative and flexible ways than before, and for this reason the perspectives and ideas brought out in the workshops by the representatives of the background organizations are an excellent basis for community development plans.