Ecological living, research and model gardens in Viikki
The fields in Viikki have been cultivated since the Middle Ages. The local place name “Viikin Latokartano” dates back to the 1550s. Viikki became part of Helsinki in 1946. These days the fields are used by the University of Helsinki for educational and research purposes. Many interesting parks and gardens have appeared in Viikki in recent decades, and it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring them. Here one will discover an ecological living area, see residential yards that are used for growing food, experience the tropical gardens at Gardenia, visit the cows on the university teach farm and end the day by climbing the bird watching towers – all of this in the geographic centre of Helsinki and just 20 minutes from the city centre! Eco-Viikki represents the first urban ecological living area in Finland. Covering an area of 24 hectares, the area was planned as a sustainable, healthy and adaptable living environment whose solutions conserve energy and reduce waste. Construction began in 1999 and the first houses were completed in 2000. The entire district of Viikki is home to around 9000 residents. The Viikki Street Tree Research Project began in 2003 by the Public Works Department in collaboration with the University of Helsinki’s Department of Forest Sciences and several other partners. The project, also known as the Viikki Urban Tree Laboratory, aims to find economical and practical means for providing adequate growing soil for urban trees growing in normal street environments. Particular attention is paid to finding a suitable composition of structural soil and other tree site planning and building solutions for optimum tree growth in the local climate.