We are specifically interested in developing and promoting healthy social structure by means of architecture and urban design, as during his life around Europe, Toni Yli-Suvanto got personally to experience where undesirable social development in cities can lead to, whether in a small town in Lapland, or in one of European metropolises like London, Berlin or Zürich. Due to his personal interest on this topic, he got opportunities during his career to lead award winning projects, which turned a negative cycle of socio-economic development into a positive one.
Being and belonging together has a direct link to our wellbeing. Knowing your neighbors, neighborhood or your working colleagues and having easy opportunities to meet, interact and share your experiences with them, provenly reduce our stress, anxiety and depression levels. Particularly the integration of the elderly in today’s aging population is an opportunity needing action.
Diverse communities are a matter of costs and investment value. Dynamic communities have increased resilience against economic setbacks due to the variety of businesses, skills, age groups and family situations. The property value is likely to be more resilient to future changes as the demand is not focused on only few particular property types or ownership models, and internal market develops healthier, as solutions can be found within the community for changing life cycle situations.
Mixed social structure and cohesion brings safety and security. Vibrant communities with people from different age groups, cultural backgrounds, or with different economic means have increased resilience against social segregation or polarization. 24/7 presence and knowing your community brings increased feeling of safety and security.
Promoting social activities, cohesion and diversity is also good for business. Healthy and open social environment reduces absence and increases productivity. Dynamic social working context is likely to promote innovation, and best ideas often come in unexpected social encounters, during shared activity session or while brainstorming together relaxed on cozy sofas.
Architecture and urban planning have a massive role in developing our communities and the social environment we live in. The global megatrends of urbanization, polarization, aging and climate change create increased pressure for change, making this topic even more critical.