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Helsinki recognised as a visionary in London

Helsinki’s former harbour and industrial area Kalasatama has been transformed into a dynamic district.City of Helsinki

The City of Helsinki’s Kalasatama Digital Twins project scooped a pair of awards at Techfest in London, including the main prize.

Held at the end of last month, TechFest honoured the best technology-led innovations that are shaping the industry. The Kalasatama Digital Twins project received the International Cities Visionary Award and the Judges’ Supreme Award, the latter being the pinnacle achievement of the event.

The technology behind the project, digital twinning, makes it possible to use modelling to plan, test and build products and services in a virtual city environment before actual implementation. Studies have found that the technology can shave 10 per cent off the total cost of operations in the manufacturing sector.

Whilst the genesis of the innovation in Helsinki stretches back to 1987, it has been in recent years that the city has taken significant leaps forward in 3D modelling.

A global opportunity

The City of Helsinki offers high-quality 3D models as open data to all operators and collaboration partners as part of a pilot study. Image: City of Helsinki

The recognition in London aligns with the City of Helsinki’s goal to be a world leader at capitalising on digitalisation.

“Digitalisation and making use of digital tools also hold a special instrumental value in the carrying out of Helsinki’s vision to be the most functional city in the world, which offers the most fluent urban everyday life to its residents,” noted Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

Helsinki’s progressive approach to digital city modelling is shared by its collaboration partners, Rotterdam and Singapore, with which is shares open data.

Such open, global collaboration is essential to create an ecologically sustainable world. The UN has estimated that around 2.5 billion people will move from the countryside to cities by 2050.

“If similar figures to the 10 per cent cost savings of the industry sector could be reached globally in city construction efficiency through digital modelling of cities, then cities could be built for 250 million people ‘for free’ using savings,” said Jarmo Suomisto, project manager for Helsinki’s 3D model. “In addition to this, significant improvements can also be reached in the optimisation of carbon neutral cities and in the maintenance of existing structures.”

By: James O’Sullivan