Green Distrticts

Parkly: smart and modular urban furniture

Parkly in Malmi.

The Helsinki Innovation Districts project collaborates with companies and residents to test and develop new services that contribute to the pleasantness, functionality and sustainability of urban living. One of the new services that has already been tested in Helsinki’s suburban regeneration areas is urban green oases and verdant hangout spots. Parkly’s smart and modular urban furniture were piloted in summer 2021 on Ylä-Malmi square and Kalasatama. 

Developed by urban design agency RaivioBumann, the purpose of Parkly is to increase the amount of urban greenery in both public spaces and yards with the help of movable green urban furniture modules. The modules are used to grow various herbs and edible and pollinator-friendly plants. The urban green oases built out of them can also be used to manage stormwater and alleviate urban heat islands on a small scale. In Kalasatama, Parkly modules also served as platforms for sensor solutions for monitoring the state and microclimate of green spaces. In the future, AR & 3D-based co-creation application will allow residents to take part in implementing their own Parkly solution.

“What makes Parkly so versatile is the movability and modular nature of the green units. The units can be customised and combined in many ways to flexibly build different solutions for a variety of environments, such as asphalt streets or paved market plazas. Parkly is more about creating a place than furnishing a space,” says designer Päivi Raivio.

Ecological and made from wood, Parkly modules are a rapid response to people’s wishes to see more greenery in various urban spaces where adding it would be otherwise difficult. They are also a part of the circular economy, as the trees growing in the Parkly modules will end up being planted in parks, for example, once they have grown to a certain size.

Parkly green modules were positively received by residents in the pilots. The Parkly assembly in Malmi was designed in collaboration with daycare children, local young people and other residents. The Parkly green oasis also served as a venue for small events and contributed to the revitalisation of market events in Malmi. For the City, the pilot provided valuable information on what kind of functions the marketplace currently has and how the space is used. Furthermore, the pilot also provided insight on how the place could be developed in the future. “The purpose of these kinds of pilots is to find new solutions for Helsinki. In this pilot, we wanted to test how movable green solutions work as meeting places and how they contribute to the pleasantness of sites awaiting redevelopment,” says the Helsinki Innovation Districts project’s Project Manager Maija Bergström.