Posts Tagged ‘helsinki’

In Helsinki, Finland, where young people traditionally leave home at 18 but can no longer afford urban rents, Millennials are applying by the hundreds to live with the elderly.

According to Kae Lani Kennedy at Matador Network, “Retirement homes are serving as more than a community for the elderly. These facilities are providing affordable housing for the city’s growing population of homeless millennials.

“ ‘It’s almost like a dorm, but the people aren’t young. They’re old,’ explains Emil Bostrom, a participant in ‘A Home That Fits,’ a new housing project that allows millennials to move into retirement communities. Bostrom is a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher, and though he has a steady income, it is not enough to compete with 90,000 other renters in a city that has roughly 60,000 affordable rental properties. …

“Bostrom, along with many other young adults, can enjoy discounted rent in exchange for socializing with the seniors in their community. …

“By interacting with a younger generation, the elderly involved with ‘A Home That Fits’ have the opportunity to be engaged in an active and diverse community, instead of being left behind in a forgotten generation.” More here.

And check out a post I wrote about the same phenomenon in Cleveland, here. Both initiatives sound like fun to me.

Video: Seeker Stories

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Bill Littlefield, at Only a Game on WBUR radio, got a lesson in the subtleties of Finnish baseball when he interviewed the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa recently. Costa went to Finland to report on pesäpallo, a game whose players are sometimes scouted by US baseball teams.

“Brian Costa: The biggest difference is the pitcher, instead of throwing the ball from a mound at the batter, stands beside him and throws it up in the air and sort of gets out of the way. But there are base paths, there’s four bases, there’s home plate, players field with gloves. …

“Bill Littlefield: Critics of baseball in the U.S. say the games are too long. It’s too slow. There’s not enough action. Would such critics be happier with pesäpallo?

“Brian: Oh, they would love pesäpallo. There are very, very few strikeouts, very few swings and misses, so pretty much every ball that gets pitched gets put into play. …

“Bill: What’s it like for fans attending a game of pesäpallo? And how many are there? Is this a big popular attraction?

“Brian: This is really not a city sport, so [in] Helsinki, you won’t see that much of it. But it is the sport of the Finnish countryside. You’ll have towns where the local population may be 3,000 people, and they’ll get 3,500 at a game. …

“Bill: You note that a scout from the New York Yankees was in Finland last month for All-Star weekend there. … [But] Finnish players, I gather, do not seem very interested in playing baseball as we know it?

“Brian: No they’re not. It’s very interesting. … None of them seemed to really follow Major League Baseball. The people who I asked about their impressions of it kind of smirked or winced or just said, ‘eh.’ I mean, they feel like they’ve got a better version of it.”

More here.

Video: PattijoenUrheilijat

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Here’s a funny lead I got from @smallercitiesu (SmallerCitiesUnite!) on twitter today. It’s about tapping the body heat of cows in India and other poor countries to create electricity. And as you might guess, there are a couple of designing Finns behind it.

Caroline Pham writes at the magazine Good that Finnish design students Liva Kallite and Netta Korhonen created a bovine wearable that could help out some of “the approximately 1.3 billion people around the world who live without electricity. …

“Introducing the Cowolt, a two-piece ‘energy harvesting blanket’ outfitted with thermoelectric modules that essentially harness an animal’s body heat, turning it into charge for batteries. According to CityLab: ‘The difference between the creatures’ internal temperature of about 102 degrees and cooler, ambient air would then create electricity via the Seebeck effect. They estimate a vest could charge a 12-volt battery in 26 hours on the power of one robo-cow.’

“Creators Kallite and Korhonen, both students at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture in Helsinki, point out the deficiencies in alternate means of electricity like kerosene (inefficient, expensive, health risks), solar energy (high maintenance and high up-front costs), diesel power generators (too large scale for personal use), and micro hydro power (negative effects on natural surroundings). Essentially, these aren’t efficient options for those without electricity, and harnessing what these people might have on-hand, like farm animals, is a more realistic mode.

“Who knows whether it will actually catch on, but the hope is that Cowolt would provide enough charge to power smaller devices such as lamps, telephones, and radios, and thus provide those without stable sources of electricity with opportunities to be a little more self-sustaining in their everyday lives.” More here.


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Poet friend Ronnie expressed admiration on Facebook for Colorado’s governor, who actively supports the arts, and she linked to an announcement about applying for the Governor’s 2014 arts awards.

“The 2014 Governor’s Creative Leadership Awards are now accepting nominations, through Feb. 27, 4 p.m. Formerly the Governor’s Art Awards, and given to locations or districts (Pueblo won one last year), this year it will recognize organizations and individuals who ‘demonstrated a significant commitment to Colorado’s creative landscape through civic leadership and volunteerism including advocacy, vision, collaboration or innovation.’ …

“Nominations are accepted under the following categories:

• “Arts and creative placemaking: Presented to individuals or organizations that use the arts to envision new futures through activities such as activating a public space, animating a community or sparking redevelopment.

• “Arts and community action: Presented to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated selfless service, inspired others to take action or catalyze change in their community using the arts.

• “Arts and social change: Presented to individuals or organizations that work to solve a critical social problem such as homelessness, drug prevention, abuse, poverty or racism using creativity and/or arts.”

In addition, you have until Feb. 3 to nominate Colorado’s poet laureate. More here on Colorado’s efforts.

Why don’t more states and cities promote the arts? I can think of places right now that should have their own creative arts districts. Or maybe a design district. Suzanne tells me that Helsinki, Finland, has attracted international recognition for its own design district, here. I like how they define it as a state of mind rather than by specific street boundaries:

“Design District Helsinki is a neighbourhood and a state of mind.  It is creativity, uniqueness, experiences, design and Finnish urban culture.”

Photo: Salida Creates
Downtown Salida is a Certified Colorado Creative Arts District.

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