Kuopio by Nature 2023

Page 1

KUOPIO by NATURE

Top events and anniversaries

Savilahti – Valley of new talent and innovations

Climate action in the Kuopio region has an international dimension

2023

KUOPIO by NATURE

ANNUAL JOURNAL OF THE CITY OF KUOPIO

Editor-in-chief Kirsi Soininen

Executive editor Reetta Airaksinen

Visual Designer

Jenni Loimulahti, Ahooy Creative Oy

English editing

ELSA kielipalvelut, Satu Heikkinen

Journal texts

Kumu Communications osk, Akiola Media Oy, Ahooy Creative, KMG Turku

Cover The cityscape of Kuopio from the harbour, Photo Wille Markkanen

Special thanks to: Satu Hilden, Anne Vänttinen, Henna Lindroos, Mirja Kolehmainen

Printed by Grano

Editorial office

City of Kuopio / Marketing and Communication

Tulliportinkatu 31, P.O. Box 228, FI-70100 Kuopio

Feedback editor@kuopio.fi

www.kuopio.fi

www.kuopiohighlights.fi

www.kuopiotahko.fi

For us, this consists of three ele ments – living, laughter and feeling good. It means a passion for life, flow and movement, smooth everyday routines. It means the freedom to make your own choices and live a life that looks like you, in an environment that suits you, in your own way.

We are a university town of approx imately 123 000 residents, and our vi sion is to be the capital of good life for everyone living in Kuopio while also setting an example for the rest of the world.

In a survey examining internal migration within Finland, Kuopio was ranked the second most attractive city in the country. What sets Kuopio apart from the competition are the quality factors of life, environmental factors, a reasonable cost level and friendly people. Our community is our strength and we like our fellow citizens.

Our city centre is vibrant, and located less than two kilometres from the centre is the Savilahti district, a unique campus of three levels of education. Approximately 20 000 future talents are studying or pursuing a postgraduate degree in Savilahti. Within this smart capital lies the future of our region.

bined with everything that the inter national university town of Kuopio has to offer is our unique asset.

Kuopio has a permissive atmosphere that allows everyone to live a life that looks like them in a connection with each other. Once you have found your way here, it feels hard to leave. Nature is always close and there are many opportunities to enjoy hobbies. You simply like it here and life feels easy. We have a strong passion for life here – fire is our soul and water is our nature.

Three cheers for the city of good living, laughter and feeling good, the capital of good life, commonly known as #piäkaupunki, #cäpital!

2 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 EDITORIAL
“In Kuopio, it seems as if everyone knows a secret about life.”
Kuopio
In Kuopio we believe in living together a good life that looks like you.

Live Like Local

Connection with nature grows naturally stronger in Kuopio PAGE 4

Future Kuopio

40 Expecting stronger fair winds

42 Peaks of Kuopio are reaching new heights

44 New form of communal life

46 Savilahti – Valley of new talent and innovations

53 Ecosystems in North Savo create an innovative growth environment

56 Influential research and 10 million small good deeds

57 Numbers: Working life & Business

58 Kuopio – the Capital of Good Life

3 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 CONTENTS
in North Savo create an innovative growth environment
53
stronger in Kuopio 12 Inclusion fosters a sense of security
Climate action in the Kuopio
has an international dimension
Significant efforts to curb climate change
Numbers: Nature & Travel
Ecosystems
PAGE
Nature 04 Connection with nature grows naturally
14
region
18
19
20 Culture in Kuopio makes an impact in many ways and on many levels 24 A place where the exotic and good feelings last 28 Kuopio has all you need to make life taste good 30 Top events and anniversaries 36 KuPS – big emotions and football 39 Numbers: Everyday life & Studies A place where the exotic and good feelings last
24
PAGE

Connection with nature grows naturally stronger in Kuopio

In Kuopio, nature connectedness is nurtured by the presence of forests that embrace residents all around, the uphill climbs that make you sweat and the waters surrounding the city on all sides. Although we, as locals of Kuopio, share the same opportunities for growing our connection with nature, the actual experience is always very personal.

So, what kinds of relationships with nature can be forged in Kuopio? Five fascinating local figures, each with a passion for nature, share their answers.

Did you know? In Kuopio, the distance from your doorstep to nature is never more than 500 m.

FIND YOUR PLACE OF POWER

In the olden days, sacred natural sites with special powers were often associated with the provision of food. The more bountiful a place was in berries, mushrooms or game, the more important it was. Equally important for modern humans is the spiritual nourishment provided by nature, and many who spend a lot of time in nature have their own favourite place where they visit time and again to find inner peace and gather strength.

What would your place of power look like? Would it be a tussock with stems bent under the weight of blueberries, the crest of a rock overlooking a stunning view of Lake Kallavesi, or a rough boulder towering over a small forest pool in the shade of trees?

4 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
The human longing for nature goes way back to a time when the circumstances dictated that our relationship with nature had to be much stronger and more symbiotic than it is now. However, several studies have shown that nature still has undeniable positive effects on our wellbeing, worldview and mindfulness skills.
TEXT PAULIINA AHONEN | PHOTOS NIILO ISOTALO, RISTO AIRAKSINEN, TAHKO MTB

1. Reconnect with nature through exercise and play

EXPLORE LOCAL NATURE

When one generation after another grows up without regular contact with nature due to urbanization, it is no wonder that people have a weaker connection with nature or, at worst, lose all touch with nature. Fortunately, a lost connection can be revived, and once you learn its value as a child, it will be easier to cherish it later on in life.

Outi Nikunen, Training Manager and Vice Chairperson at Puijon Latu, knows that there are innumerable ways to strengthen your connection with nature, and sometimes all you need to do is make the decision to step outside the door.

“Nature gives us a lot of sensual, mental strength as its colours, scents and sounds fill our minds and hearts with joy, peace and bliss. Someone once said that beauty and seduction are nature’s tools for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with,” says Nikunen.

OUTI'S TIPS FOR STRENGTHENING YOUR NATURE CONNECTION

1. Go on a picnic in the forest or in local nature.

There are wonderful picnic spots in and around Kuopio that are easy to get to ecologically and at a low cost, even with small kids. Tasty snacks and an inquisitive mind will make the picnic a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

2. Embrace a slower pace.

If you have become estranged from nature, the most important thing is to start spending time in nature again.

Enjoy your morning coffee out in the yard, pick flowers own your way home, read a book on a jetty or admire the starlit sky after clearing the snow – these will bring you closer to nature. A strong connection with nature does not mean you have to be a hardcore hiker, but all you need is the ability to enjoy the moment.

3. Try out a new activity.

Ski or cycle through the hilly terrain of Puijo or Jynkänvuori, head out on Lake Kallavesi in a canoe or on touring skates, find a hill and go sledding, climb on a jet ski or grab a fishing pole and make your way to a forest pond. The range of natural places to visit in Kuopio is virtually unlimited.

4. Join a nature community.

Enjoying nature is most fun when you do it together. For example, becoming a member of Puijon Latu, a local organization that promotes outdoor recreation, is a great way to meet new people and learn more about various types of outdoor exercise and ways to enjoy nature. A positive volunteer and community spirit helps you deepen your connection with nature in a safe and caring atmosphere.

6 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
CONNECTION WITH NATURE GROWS NATURALLY STRONGER IN KUOPIO

2. Nature as the backdrop for sports

DISC GOLF WITH A CHAMPION

The most famous landmark of our city, Puijo Tower, is nestled in a magnificent primeval forest and the oldest private nature reserve in Finland. The gem of our city and a rare treasure in Finland, the Puijo area has also served as the backdrop for many major sporting events.

Deep in the forest, the 18-hole, AA1-rated Puijo Discgolf course also serves as a practice course for the two-time Finnish Champion, European Champion and the First Runner Up of USDGC Niklas Anttila. Niklas describes his home course, which has been ranked the best in Finland, as visually impressive and suitable for beginners as it offers a relaxing experience.

PRO TIPS FROM NIKLAS FOR DISC GOLF BEGINNERS

Why disc golf? An easy sport that anyone can enjoy with low starting costs.

What do I need to start playing? One disc may be all you need to get started. Your first disc should be an approach disc or a putter.

Does the disc matter? Yes, it does. There are putters, approach discs, fairway drivers and drivers. There are different types of discs for different throws, but you need to be a slightly more advanced thrower to enjoy all their benefits.

Does the course matter? Every course is different. A course with short holes is most suitable for beginners.

Team or individual sport? Professional disc golf is an individual sport, although there are some doubles and team competitions. As a hobby, disc golf is fun with a group of friends.

How can you practice in the winter? When the courses are snowed over, you can give your throwing arm a workout in an indoor hall or a gym.

What is the key to improving your game? A lot of repetition and practice to become more versatile. You need to master all types of throws and have good disc handling skills.

7 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE

3. Happiness comes in waves

LIFE AMONG THE ISLANDS

According to the Island Development Act, Kuopio is a part-island municipality and a port surrounded by one of Finland’s biggest lake archipelagos, comprised of 1964 islands. No wonder that for many locals, the easiest way to find peace of mind and inner calm is amidst the waves of Lake Kallavesi.

Tumi Turunen is a 71-year-old pensioner whose heart beats for theatre, fitness boxing, film and spending time at his island cabin. Turunen cycles all trips under 30 kilometres and occasionally goes on longer rides too. In fact, his two-wheeler has taken him to Naples, Petrozavodsk, Archangel, and through Cuba and China all the way to the Caspian Sea.

Turunen's grandfather lived in a croft on the island of Luhastensalo, while Hietasalo and the other nearby

islands have become familiar places thanks to his father’s plot deals. Turunen describes Lake Kallavesi as just the right size: it is manageable, but still offers routes that can take you to the other side of the world, if you want.

TUMI’S TOP 5 PLACES IN LAKE KALLAVESI

1. Hietasalo Island

Dubbed the Riviera of Kuopio, this island is a hiker's paradise. Excellent facilities, easy terrain, mushrooms and berries and a short boat trip to the city make the island the perfect place to visit with the whole family.

2. Iivarinsalo Island

A popular sailing destination, this island has it all: sandy beaches, campfire sites, a nature trail and an exercise and play area for kids.

3. Vehmersalmi harbour and Millibaari

If you have not yet tried the pizza at the legendary Millibaari, you must do so this summer!

4. Luhastensalo Island

The home of Turunen’s grandfather and his childhood landscape, a place where youth camps and scouting activities have been organized for several generations.

5. Karhonsaari Island

A beautiful, rocky natural site with an arboretum that has a wide variety of trees and shrubs. The island also has an interesting history as part of the Finnish sawmill industry, because the first steam sawmill in North Savo was established on the island back in 1875.

8 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE

4. Nature experiences through the lens are always unique

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A WAY OF LIFE

I f you cannot physically go into nature, the revitalizing effects of nature can be experienced by looking at nature photographs. These photos have a calming effect, but also make you more alert and help build mental vitality. This phenomenon has also been observed by the 36 000 Instagram followers of Niilo Isotalo who find an inner peace from his photographs.

A student of forestry at the university, Isotalo’s close relationship with nature has recently grown even deeper as he has turned his focus on

exploring the diversity of nature and various environmental issues. Nature knowledge is not only an important tool for the photographer, but also something that has to be developed constantly.

Isotalo also considers local knowledge important and says that some of his best shots have been taken in local nature when the conditions were just right. That is why Isotalo does not share the dream that many nature and landscape photographers have of travelling abroad to shoot rare species or magnificent mountain views. Personally, he is more interested in capturing Finnish landscapes.

“The beauty and unique character of a photograph is not tied to a specific place, but depends on the skill

to find the opportune moments to capture a familiar landscape in a new light,” Isotalo explains.

As an example of a spectacular location in the area, Isotalo mentions the region of Maaninka where a morning haze often forms in late summer, making photographs look simply magical. This is also the perfect time to photograph birds and other animals in the area.

Other excellent locations in the region include lakeshores, small ponds and brooks, offset by open fields, grand forests and beautiful, lessvisited nature reserves. Isotalo also gives a special mention to the exceptional area of Puijo and its ancient forests.

9 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE

NIILO'S 4 TIPS FOR ASPIRING NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS

1. Choose the right time

Explore nature outside the most popular times of day. Everyone knows what sunsets look like, but hazy summer mornings on quiet fields, for example, can have a beauty that is out of this world!

2. Consider natural light

You do not have to travel far to take impressive photographs. By exploring local nature in different lighting conditions, you will learn what types of photos you should take depending on the time of day.

3. Mark your locations on a map

Mark interesting sites into a map application. You could also jot down the places where you have seen animals or rare birds. This way, you will remember the places and it will be easier to plan your photography trips.

4. Take lots of photos

The only way to learn photography is to take photos. You will find your own style over time, and you should not care too much about the kinds of photos that others are taking. The most important thing is to enjoy nature and shoot whatever feels most natural to you.

10 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
CONNECTION WITH NATURE GROWS NATURALLY STRONGER IN KUOPIO

5. In the ups and downs

MOUNTAIN BIKING

There is hardly anyone these days who does not know someone who has a thing for mountain biking. And why not, since it's a very versatile activity and can be enjoyed year-round. What’s more, the activity goes just as well with bicycle commuting and enjoying nature as it does with competitive sports, so no wonder that once you hop on a bike, you will enjoy the sport for a long time.

Pasi Savolainen, Chair of Kuopion pyöräilyseura, the cycling club of Kuopio, has cycled all his life and been involved in club activities for about twenty years. Whizzing around on a two-wheeler has become a way of life

for Savolainen, but he promises that it is never too late to start.

“You can now find electric-assist mountain bikes, which makes it easier to cycle through difficult terrain and helps bridge the gap between fitness levels. This means you can enjoy the best features of the sport, that is, outdoor recreation, exercise, wellbeing and challenges, even if you have less riding experience,” says Savolainen, encouraging newcomers to the sport.

In addition to sweating your way uphill, the action-packed version of the sport, downhill mountain biking, has become much more popular in recent years. In the Kuopio region, this popularity has no doubt been driven by the excellent mountain bike

trails and chair lifts of Tahko. The lift takes the bike and its rider to the top of the hill, ready to enjoy the thrill of speed while riding down the purpose-built bike trail.

LEARN THE BASICS TO GET YOUR WHEELS TURNING

For whom?

As a versatile sport, mountain biking is suitable for people of all ages who want to see more and move faster than walking pace.

How do I get started?

An easy way to get into mountain biking is to join a club of amateur bikers. You need decent gear and a suitable environment to try out the sport. The size of the bike and its features should be chosen based on the rider and the riding environment. A modern standard mountain bike is a front suspension gear bike with cross-country tread patterned, high-volume tyres with disc brakes. You also need rear suspension if you want to ride more demanding terrain. In terms of clothing and other accessories, you should prioritize comfort and safety above all else.

Where can I go mountain biking?

The Kuopio region offers many opportunities to enjoy mountain biking. The pride of the city and the cycling club is Puijo with its marked routes. In addition to Puijo, Tahko has good routes that provide the perfect challenge for riders.

11 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE

Inclusion fosters a sense of security

Our life-threads are woven together into the great tapestry of life. Interaction and communication, opportunities to influence matters and fulfil our potential, and good everyday life create a sense of security.

Having control over the circumstances in our life allows us to take our life in our own hands. The sense of security – the feeling of being in control of one’s life – is strengthened by the experience of participation. When others accept us and are on our side, we feel that the community is meaningful to us.

“It all comes down to perceived security, or how a person perceives

their life. The feelings of being in control of one’s life and being accepted by others reinforce each other,” says Professor Arto O. Salonen from the University of Eastern Finland.

“Experiences of detachment can increase insecurity and fear. Sharing everyday joys and sorrows with others builds trust between people and increases the sense of security,” Salonen continues.

LIVING IN THE SAME REALITY CREATES SECURITY

Feeling safe and secure is a fundamental right that belongs to everyone. In a safe everyday environment, we can live without fear and exercise our rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of movement.

12 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
TEXT RIITTA JUSSILA PHOTOS KUOPIO-TAHKO MARKKINOINTI AND TIINA HARING

“The perception of security depends on the individual, because different people are faced with different threats and perceive them in different ways. The key question is whether these threats affect your everyday life and behaviour,” says Head of Strategy Ari Evwaraye from the Ministry of the Interior.

SHARING YOUR LIFE WITH OTHERS CREATES A SENSE OF BELONGING

“It is important for our sense of security not to become alienated from other people. For example, getting all the children in one neighbourhood to go to the same school creates a more equitable environment,” says Evwaraye.

The feeling of being left out threatens our sense of security, which is why including everyone is a matter of safety.

SEE YOU AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!

The cherry on top of the safety cake are the authorities, the police, the

rescue services and the defence forces, who keep citizens safe and secure.

world, because they bear the main responsibility for the well-being of their residents,” says Evwaraye.

Kuopio has many reasons to be happy. Its strengths include the surrounding nature, being a suitable size, and its diverse and international character. The city is a centre of growth offering many study and work opportunities.

There are a number of things that cities can do to improve the sense of security.

“Cities are the most important safety authorities. The work done by municipalities and cities has made Finland the safest country in the

“We can work systematically to set up places with a low threshold for residents to gather and meet. We can ask citizens to participate in budgeting. We can promote cultural and historical sites so that locals can connect with their history and community. In addition, we can use art to promote interaction and build trust,” says Salonen, listing his ideas.

With its wealth of knowledge and expertise and educational opportunities, the Kuopio region ensures the safety and security of locals. The nationwide Emergency Services Academy Finland, based in Kuopio, provides vocational education and training and continuing education as well as preparedness training. Effective inter-authority cooperation between Karelia Air Command, the Rescue Department and the Police provides security and help to local residents in case of accidents and crises.

13 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
“It is important for our sense of security not to become alienated from other people.”

Climate action in the Kuopio region

has an international dimension TEXT MINNA AKIOLA | PHOTOS TIINA KILVENSALMI AND JYRI WUORISALO

Extreme weather phenomena are a global issue: there are droughts, heatwaves, floods and too much or too little rain. The process of preparing for and adapting to these risks is known as climate security. Kuopio takes climate action in the form of research, national and international cooperation and various measures.

14 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE

Some of the risks of climate change are known and we need to adapt to them, but there is also a lot that we do not yet know – and that is what we need to prepare for. Climate security is an umbrella term for this preparation and adaptation work. That being said, climate change is not the only phenomenon underlying climate security. It is just one element among many. Another emerging issue is biodiversity loss, which is causing dramatic changes to the planet. These two phenomena feed each other.

“Climate security also encompasses phenomena such as climate migration, which is already underway. It does not yet affect Europe very much, but will do so over time. We can expect mass migrations across the globe, and Europe is already preparing for them. A good example

of this is the predicted melting of the Himalayan glaciers, which will cause one billion people to move west, that is, to Europe,” says RDI Advisor Jyri Wuorisalo from the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

Climate change also fuels conflicts, because it causes problems with food and water supply. We need to prepare for these as well; adaptation and preparation are at the heart of climate security.

SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS

The Kuopio region has already started searching for solutions to the problems, and climate action is taken in close network cooperation between various parties in the city. Savonia UAS and the University of Eastern Finland are important partners for each other, while key organiza-

15 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
“Combating climate change is a long process that has only just begun.”

tions studying climate change produce research knowledge for schools, the city and the business sector to apply in practice. The Finnish Meteorological Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare all have offices in the Kuopio region.

“Up until now, climate action has mainly focused on the mitigation of climate change. Adaptation and preparation efforts have only started to gather pace in the last few years. Our national adaptation and preparation programme was published only recently,” remarks Wuorisalo.

Preparation plans are in place in North Savo particularly regarding major changes in agriculture and forestry. In the future, we will need new crop varieties that can withstand climate change. We will also have to consider new tree cultivars that can survive in these areas. We must also

prepare for forest fires that may be even more violent and spread over larger areas in the future.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Climate security does not only refer to the process of preparing for and adapting to extreme weather, but it is also related to other things that are happening in nature. For example, new pest species can have an impact on agriculture.

“Savonia University of Applied Sciences has published an online training package on climate security, which has garnered interest even at the UN level. We are also working with the business sector to develop new technologies that are needed in the preparation work. Climate security is a broad field of activity that is constantly trans-

16 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
CLIMATE ACTION IN THE KUOPIO REGION HAS AN INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION

forming. At the same time, we are engaging in international cooperation, sharing our experiences and hearing about the experiences of others,” says Wuorisalo.

Savonia UAS works as the partner of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU). This mandate has been granted by the Government of Finland. International cooperation has two levels: at the EU level there is a lot of education development, while at the UN level the institution is involved in network collaboration for disaster risk prevention.

In recent years, Savonia UAS has partnered with the UN to organize climate security workshops for people working in humanitarian cooperation. According to the UN, the climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis. It marks a major change in international humanitarian cooperation – the climate crisis is just as severe as any conflict. In fact, crises these days often occur simultaneously; even Ukraine is preparing for climate change, even while the country is at war.

INNOVATIONS ARE NEEDED

Wuorisalo is running the Climate Security Business Network in Kuopio, a project aiming to ensure that the business sector is even more involved in the preparation and adaptation process. He believes that climate issues will ultimately be resolved through businesses.

“The fact is that these problems will not be solved by the authorities, but we also need innovations. We need new ways of doing things, new technologies and new types of services. This is most obvious in the sectors where changes are happening fast – such as agriculture and forestry.”

Combating climate change is a long process that has only just begun. Wuorisalo regrets that people in Finland have only now realized that

things have changed, after experiencing several bouts of hot weather in the past couple of summers. As the Nordic Region get warmer, he believes this may have unforeseen consequences on our living conditions.

“As citizens, our most important job is to accept that the changes will be big and even unexpected, and we will see more of them. COVID was cruel, but good practice for us. It was also an exercise in responding to disruptions in society, which will become more common.”

KUOPIO INVOLVED IN PREPARATIONS

The Government's adaptation and preparation programme is a sign that climate action is now politically accepted in society. According to Wuorisalo, it is crucial for the Kuopio region to react to the situation through education as well. After all, education is a driver of change in the long run.

“Cities will be the biggest sufferers of climate change. Everything that is related to dry spells and heatwaves has a direct impact on their inhabitants due to weaker water security and food supply problems. The City of Kuopio has already jumped on board with the preparation collaboration,” says Wuorisalo.

Locals have also stepped up their efforts to mitigate climate change: electric city bikes have been a big hit, people know how to save energy and consumption habits have changed with regards to vegetarian food, for example. Schools and businesses have also done their best.

“We take action and want to redouble our efforts on behalf of the climate. We are on the same boat with everyone else around the globe. We cannot do this on our own, but we must work together, both regionally, nationally and internationally,” says Wuorisalo.

17 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
CLIMATE ACTION IN THE KUOPIO REGION HAS AN INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION
“Cities will be the biggest sufferers of climate change.”

Significant efforts to curb climate change

Climate projects in Kuopio

GREEN DATA FUTURE SOLUTION

– The aim of the project, implemented by Savonia University of Applied Sciences, is to gather data on the use of environmental and climate-friendly technologies and to communicate their impact in an easily understandable form to the customers of companies in the region.

Climate action covers an extremely broad array of activities in the City of Kuopio, from urban planning all the way to international cooperation. One of the strategic drivers of the city is the circular economy, such as the reuse and recycling of materials.

Mayor of Kuopio Jarmo Pirhonen is pleased that there are a number of research institutes and companies in the city that engage in climate action and inspire others by sharing their ideas of what could be done even better.

“Kuopio was recently rated the most vibrant urban centre in Finland. This is related to the idea that all our services are easily accessible by foot, bicycle and public transportation – such as the new electric buses of Kuopio. Another climate action is the fact that locals can find their nearest exercise facility pretty much right outside their front door, meaning that there is less need to drive around by car,” says Pirhonen.

PEEÄSSÄ AIMS FOR CARBON NEGATIVITY

PeeÄssä Cooperative Society, the largest service company in North Savo, has carefully considered the environmental responsibility of its investments already for the past 15 years. Property optimization plays a big role: the properties of the cooperative try to optimize the settings for ventilation, heating, lighting and refrigeration devices.

“An example of the climate action taken by PeeÄssä is the water recycling system of the car wash next to Prisma in Kuopio, which saves up to 90 percent of water during a wash. In addition, PeeÄssä has installed a solar power plant on the roof of all its own properties where such an installation has been possible,” says CEO of PeeÄssä Mikko Junttila.

PeeÄssä is building and renovating a new hotel in Tahko, which will also utilize energy optimization. Another

DATA REFINERY SMART CITY PLATFORM – The City of Kuopio is developing a smart city platform to facilitate the application of data in climate action, among other things. The platform can be used to gather, refine, visualize and distribute data for companies, education providers, research institutes, wellbeing services and the City of Kuopio to use.

IMPLEMENTING

ORGANIZED CLIMATE WORK IN POHJOISSAVO REGION – If the funding decision is positive, the City of Kuopio will join forces with 14 municipalities in North Savo to commence SISU, a project aiming to anchor climate action in the operations of Kuopio and the other municipalities.

project currently in progress in Tahko is SmartTahko, which gathers actors in the area together to create a digital Tahko. One of the aims is to improve the temperature control of the accommodation facilities.

The goal of PeeÄssä and the entire S Group is to be carbon negative by the end of 2025.

18 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / NATURE
Preparing for climate change not only requires new ways of thinking about construction, but also measures to curb the change. What climate action is being taken in the region of North Savo?
TEXT MINNA AKIOLA

Nature & Travel

In Kuopio people get to live as they like – at their own pace, in the middle of nature and city, while always surrounded by human compassion.

THE 5TH

SURROUNDED BY

100

THE DISTANCE FROM YOUR DOORSTEP TO NATURE IS NEVER MORE THAN

M 500

FINLAND'S BEST DISC GOLF TRACK AT

6340

31

LAKES

PUIJO

KM 5

SHORELINE BEACHES

DIFFERENT FIRE PITS, GOAHTIS (FIN: KOTA) FISHING LODGES AND LEAN-TO SHELTERS (FIN: LAAVU)

600

KM OF SKI TRACKS

SPAS

OVERNIGHT STAYS IN KUOPIO-TAHKO

1.6

TAHKO STEPS

1054 800M LONG

TOURISTS IN KUOPIO

3.9

NATURE CONSERVATION AREAS

2

100 HECTARES MILLION MILLION

THE LARGEST NATIONAL CITY PARK WITH A SURFACE AREA OF

7,300

BEST CITY TO LIVE KUOPIO BY NUMBERS

Culture in Kuopio makes an impact in many ways and on many levels

Culture is near and dear to locals in Kuopio, and its many opportunities are explored with enthusiasm. The culture of Kuopio has that special something – even according to those who do not consider themselves culture enthusiasts. When cultural experiences are made as easy to enjoy as possible, it leaves a fascinating aftertaste that you are happy to return to for seconds.

20 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
TEXT TIMO MANSIKKA-AHO | PHOTOS AKSELI MURAJA, MIKKO MÄNTYNIEMI, TIINA KILVENSALMI AND VICENTE SERRA

Culture in all its forms is an essential part of life for Kuopio locals, just as ball games and coffee on the Market Square. In Kuopio you have the freedom to live your own kind of life and enjoy the cultural experiences that suit you best.

FEAST YOUR EYES ON DANCE

Culinary art is culture at its most delicious, and all forms of culture taste even better in good company. Dance Theatre Minimi has produced successful food theatre performances for several years now. Mikko Makkonen, Artistic and Managing Director of Minimi, says that the performances aim for a direct, dynamic and downright immersive audience experience.

Food theatre in Minimi’s productions goes far beyond the conventional style of watching a show while food is being served. We seek immersion with a threshold that is as low as possible; audiences learn what it feels like to be immersed in a play where dance, speech and music all take

place among the audience. The dramaturgy is composed together with the menu, and the form keeps close to the human experience.

Makkonen points out that, despite the huge popularity of food theatre, it is just one of the tools in the toolbox that Minimi uses to try to introduce newcomers to theatre. Courses, training events and various campaigns lower the threshold and make art experiences known to an even wider audience.

ANTI BRINGS ART INTO EVERYDAY LIVES

Lowering the threshold is also one of the key principles of ANTI, an international contemporary art festival of site-specific works that is held every September in Kuopio.

Managing Director and Lead Curator Elisa Itkonen says that ANTI takes audiences on an alternative journey of wonder and experience to Kuopio. The important thing is to provide a range

21 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
Food theatre in Minimi’s productions goes far beyond the conventional style of watching a show while food is being served.

Lumit,

of art experiences to as many people as possible.

All the events of the festival are free of charge for audiences, and the venues have been purposely chosen to be as accessible as possible. We try to bring art into everyday lives, to familiar places and environments.

Over its 21-year history, ANTI has grown into one of the most significant live art festivals in the world. In addition to the actual festival week, various art workshops and other events are organized throughout the year and vacant spaces are put to use for the purpose of experiencing culture.

Elisa Itkonen emphasizes that the underlying idea of all these activities is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy culture.

We want to promote an inclusive, urban culture and provide versatile settings for various types of wow experiences.

STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS FOR POWERFUL CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

Kuopio invests in the settings for cultural experiences even on a structural level: the use of facilities and, on the other hand, the construction of new facilities, specifically with culture in mind, are some of the city's targets for development.

Mika Strömberg, Principal of Lumit, Kuopio Senior High School of Arts, highlights the importance of facilities built to serve cultural purposes for experiencing culture. This is

even more relevant in the studies of young people specializing in the arts and in encouraging them to pursue vocational education and training.

If the facilities have been designed and built to serve the purposes of these particular forms of art, the quality is what it should be and the facilities are safe to use. Created to serve the needs of Lumit, the dance floors with their mirrors and rails, and various music facilities for individual, percussion, band and singing instruction, to name a few, provide excellent

22 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
the Senior High School of Arts has various magnificent pieces of art on display, a lobby with a high ceiling and many other impressive details. The work "Heart" by artist Hanna Vihriälä has been completed in 2022.
“Culture in Kuopio is a matter close to locals’ hearts.”

opportunities to discover insights into one’s field of study.

There is truly more to Lumit than meets the eye. In addition to its purpose-built classrooms, the Senior High School of Arts has various magnificent pieces of art on display, a lobby with a high ceiling and many other impressive details. The school cafeteria has a peaceful atmosphere, despite 300 high school students all enjoying their meals there at the same time.

THE MORE YOU PLAN, THE BIGGER THE IMPACT

Photography is a form of culture that makes an undeniable impact.

Photographer Marc Sabat from Kuopio confirms that the best pho-

ANTI, an international contemporary art festival, allow as many people as possible to enjoy culture throughout the year.

tographs truly are worth more than a thousand words. Ideally, planning a photograph starts with thinking about the impact you are trying to make.

Landscape photography is a good example of an effective way to spread awareness about all the things that, say, Kuopio has to offer and what is happening here. At the same time, photographs can evoke strong emotions and leave a lasting impression.

When talk turns to one of Sabat’s specialties, food photography, and its ways of influencing people, the conversation gets even more intense. A delicious-looking final shot that makes a powerful impact is made up of carefully crafted details, but everything starts off with understanding the big picture.

It is important to direct the viewer’s gaze to the right points in the photograph. By adjusting the lighting, colours and background, you can create a huge variety of impressions. How the overall arrangement is composed also has a big impact.

Sabat believes that the first priority when it comes to food is to make it look natural and good. The best impact a photograph can make on the viewer is to make them feel a tinge of hunger when they see the photo.

Culture in Kuopio is a matter close to locals’ hearts, and it makes an impact in many ways and on many levels. Whether it be Marc Sabat’s hamburger makeup, Minimi’s

“Independence Day Ball” food theatre performance, the ANTI festival week or structural solutions such as Lumit, everything aims towards making a powerful impact with a cultural experience while also making it easier to enjoy such experiences. Cultural experiences can lift you up high, and Kuopio knows how to keep the threshold for enjoying them as low as possible.

KUOPIO MUSIC CENTRE – The house of experiences invites you to enjoy – encounters in everyday life and at parties. Come to listen to the world's top musicians and enjoy musical experiences

www.kuopionmusiikkikeskus.fi

VB PHOTOGRAPHY CENTER – We are the Finland’s first regional photography center that organizes national and international photography exhibitions throughout the year.

vb-valokuvakeskus.fi

KINO KUVAKUKKO – municipal Art house-style cinema. A cinema independent of mass streams.

www.kuvakukko.fi

23 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
CULTURE IN KUOPIO MAKES AN IMPACT IN MANY WAYS AND ON MANY LEVELS
Other opportunities to experience fascinating international culture and storytelling

A PLACE WHERE THE EXOTIC AND GOOD FEELINGS LAST

TEXT SALIMA PEIPPO PHOTOS JP KORPI-VARTIAINEN, WILLE MARKKANEN
PIETIKÄINEN JP Korpi-Vartiainen
AND SANNA

Back in 2018 my Spanish husband and I were sitting in the living room of our old stone house in Tarragona, Spain. We had just decided to move to Finland. I was both excited and terrified at the same time. What if my Spanish family would not like living in the bleak North? Was it worth throwing away everything we had built for ourselves in Spain and starting over? What if they found the language, the cold weather and the cultural differences simply unbearable?

As a Finn, I naturally knew more or less what I was getting into. During my international career

as a circus artist, I had also lived in 15 different countries and had come to appreciate Finland as a good place to live. But would it be just as good for a foreigner?

The city we would move to was ultimately chosen by chance. We received job offers from several cities. My husband asked me which of them gave us the best chances of seeing the northern lights. Kuopio was the northernmost option, so we ended up choosing it. Our child was happy simply knowing that there would be playdough in Kuopio too. We did not have any previous ties to the city, nor any family living there.

25 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 COLUMN
“I genuinely feel that the locals possess some kind of magic.”
We ended up choosing Kuopio since it was the northernmost option and the best chance of seeing the northern lights.

So, how did we adapt to our new home? Now, looking back at our life, we did experience a lot of challenges and difficult moments during adaptation, but nothing that the support network in Kuopio could not guide us through. I remember how on our child’s first day in daycare a cheerful childcare worker said: “Don't worry, we’ll teach her Finnish and Savonian! Last year we taught a Chinese kid as well.” My husband’s language studies were in the hands of Kompassi and the Coaching Centre (Valmennuskeskus). And the people of Kuopio.

I genuinely feel that the locals possess some kind of magic. This magic is used to cultivate vitality and achieve things together, casually and with style. Here, everyone is invited to do things together. You don't have to be born in Savo, or even in Finland, to be welcomed as a Savonian person.

I myself was given the honour of directing the Kuopio Dance Festival, my husband is pursuing his long-term dream by studying at the Emergency Services Academy Finland, and our daughter is in the music class of Haapaniemi School. It was fortunate that, of all the places in the world, we ended up here!

For a foreigner, Kuopio is truly exotic. The clean nature and snowy winters with numerous win-

As a circus artist I also perform as a fire artist. This photo was taken at the Joy and Light event in Savilahti, Kuopio.

ter sports opportunities are inviting. We’ve also managed to see the northern lights we were hoping for. Cross-country skiing and skating have given us a lot of joy, wonder and laughter.

In the summer, the lakes and the nightless nights are magical. Have you ever thought about the fact that a lot of Spaniards have never swum in a lake, only in the sea? Lively events and rich cultural life invite everyone to join in. Some of the everyday wonders include houses that are warm inside in the winter, children who can walk to school alone and official matters that are handled without corruption.

Every opportunity is open in Kuopio. Every day has that sense of feel-good exotic. And that is the kind of exotic and good feelings that last, year after year.

26 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023
“You don't have to be born in Savo, or even in Finland, to be welcomed as a Savonian person.”
COLUMN

Kuopio has all you need to make life taste good

Kuopio attracts large numbers of tourists, relocating businesses and new residents. The city has an exceptionally high pull factor, the second highest in Finland. What has driven the success story of Kuopio?

What is so special about the city that everyone wants to come here?

REGIONAL PULL IS A SUM OF MANY PARTS

The attractiveness of Kuopio is a proven fact: in the study Vetovoima & Vaikutus (“Appeal & Impact”) Kuopio was ranked the second most attractive city in Finland for the second year in a row. What’s more, the intermunicipal net migration rate of Kuopio was the fourth highest and the net immigration rate the 12th highest in the country in the past year.

WHAT IS THE SECRET TO THIS SUCCESS?

“Success and growth do not happen by chance, but they are the sum of many parts. The seeds have been sown much earlier,” says regional researcher Timo Aro.

“The attractiveness of Kuopio can be attributed especially to its institutes of higher education, its role as

the growth centre of the large region of Eastern Finland, and the fact that the city is known as the place where the good life comes easy. The wonderful nature and the variety of events and interesting sights make people feel that Kuopio is a great place to visit and stay,” says Aro.

Regional pull consists of so-called hard and soft factors. Besides employment and study opportunities, the building blocks of a meaningful life include culture and opportunities to enjoy sport. These hard and soft factors are beautifully balanced in Kuopio.

ALL YOU NEED FOR A HAPPY LIFE

Regions such as Kuopio have fared well during the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been looking to improve their quality of life amidst all the uncertainty, and this has benefitted

provincial centres, the municipalities surrounding big cities and the ones with many holiday homes.

Kuopio is looking to the future with a strong growth mindset. Many new education programmes are now opening up, and the rapidly developing business sector needs more talent. Talented professionals are more than welcome to move to Kuopio with their whole family.

In addition to pull, Kuopio has what it takes to retain talent – to make sure that people like it here and also want to stay.

28 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
TEXT AULI TUOMI | PHOTOS WILLE MARKKANEN AND KUOPIO-TAHKO MARKETING
“The atmosphere here is easy-going. There’s more time and space than in the big cities.”

“The thing that makes people and businesses want to stay in Kuopio is the circle of positivity and growth. Looking around, you can see everything you can wish for to create a meaningful life. In addition to job opportunities and study places, you can enjoy sport, cultural events and memorable experiences in Tahko and in the nature reserve of Puijo,” says CEO of the Kuopio Region Chamber of Commerce Kaija Savolainen.

COMPETITIVE WITH THE WORLD’S METROPOLISES

Having lived in Singapore for a long time, Okko Kuivalainen settled into Kuopio during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite growing up in Espoo, Kuivalainen often spent time at a cot-

tage in Hirvensalmi, so he feels he has always been a Savonian at heart.

Kuivalainen felt at home in Kuopio right away. There is none of the rush of big cities. He can still continue working his job in Singapore thanks to the excellent remote connections, just like in any metropolis in the world.

“The atmosphere here is easygoing. There’s more time and space than in the big cities. It’s easy to connect with people. A Singaporean friend of mine who was visiting absolutely fell in love with Kuopio as well,” says Kuivalainen.

“I don't miss anything from the metropolises, because I can find everything I need right here. Kuopio is also a surprisingly international place; there are people here from all over the world.”

Kuivalainen encourages everyone to explore their hometown with curiosity.

“You can end up having an adventure by simply doing your grocery shopping in a different neighbourhood. Or you can invent an excuse to go and check out a café at some random service station. In addition to museums and sights, there are all sorts of interesting little things you can find in Kuopio.”

Kuivalainen also points out that travelling abroad from Kuopio is easy.

“The place is by no means isolated, but provides convenient transport connections. But it still always feels good to come back to Kuopio.”

29 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL

Top events and anniversaries

The year 2023 marks a round anniversary for both KuPS and the Puijo Tower. In addition to anniversary celebrations, other events in culture, sport and business are held in and around Kuopio throughout the year. Come and find one for you!

TEXT RIITTA JUSSILA PHOTOS WILLE MARKKANEN, VICENTE SERRA, OLLI NURMINEN AND JUKKA HARTIKAINEN

Puijo Tower 60 years –memorable experiences in the national landscape

The best-known landmark in Kuopio is turning 60 years old. Standing on top of the Puijo Hill and surrounded by an ancient primeval forest, this transmission and observation tower rises 224 metres above the surface of Lake Kallavesi. The 75-metre concrete tower is designed by architect Seppo Ruotsalainen.

“The Puijo region is celebrating the anniversary year with several new features. Visitors can enjoy a new chair lift and accessible nature trails, among other improvements. Puijo is

a forested living room for all Kuopio locals and a must-see sight for foreign travellers,” says Entrepreneur and CEO at Puijo Peak Oy Pekka Niemelä.

Various seasonal activities and events are organized at Puijo throughout the anniversary year. For example, visitors can enjoy downhill snow tubing with coloured lights in the beginning of the year. The events of the anniversary year are kicked off with a winter event for the whole family in January. A magical Halloween trail in the dark of autumn and a Christmas event wrap up the anniversary year.

As the old saying goes, “the scene from Puijo is the beauty of Finland gathered in one picture”. The Tower offers a panoramic view of the Finnish national landscape, and visitors can admire the view up to 50 kilometres in every direction.

“The Tower Restaurant serves local, seasonal dishes and, what’s more, in the revolving restaurant (360 degrees in one hour) you can see where the food on your plate has come from,” says Niemelä.

puijopeak.fi

31 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL

KuPS turns 100 years old

Kuopion Palloseura (KuPS), the football club of Kuopio, will be celebrating its 100-year journey throughout the year. The KuPS anniversary book, written by author Lasse Lehtinen, was published back in December 2022. KuPS is celebrating its birthday on 16 March, the day marking 100 years since the founding meeting of the club.

“The birthday week is dubbed the ‘Yellow Kuopio Week’. The day of the 100th anniversary will include a formal reception for invited guests and stakeholders. The anniversary year is full of events, such as a pub-

lic celebration on the market square, the march of the KuPS community to Väre Areena and the anniversary match of KuPS. All the junior players will celebrate their club during the junior anniversary weeks. In addition, the Kuopio Museum will host a football-themed exhibition, the ‘KuPS 100 years’ fan shirt will be on sale and a drawing competition will be organized for schoolchildren,” says Chair of the Board at KuPS Markku Raatikainen.

Kuopion Palloseura is one of the most successful football clubs in Finland and also one of the pull factors

of North Savo. The club is an inseparable part of the Savonian heritage, having moved and touched locals for generations.

“Our youngest junior players are only 2–4 years old and they can continue playing all the way through into our representative teams. The club produces team players who have excellent teamwork skills, also in their professional life,” says Raatikainen.

kups.fi

32 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL TOP EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES

Festivals

YOUNG CULTURE FESTIVAL

25–28 MAY 2023

is a multi-art event by and for young people. The festival consists of performances, workshops, street art and fringe events.

nuorikulttuuri.fi/festival/

KUOPIO DANCE FESTIVAL

14–20 JUNE 2023

The largest international dance art event in the Nordic countries has been held since 1970. The highquality programme interests both professional and amateur dancers of all nationalities thanks to the universal language of dance.

kuopiodancefestival.fi

KUOPIO WINE FESTIVAL

30 JUNE – 8 JULY 2023

The biggest wine and food festival in Finland, Kuopio Wine Festival gathers friends of good food, wine and music to the Kuopio harbour area. kuopiowinefestival.fi

HOODFEST

11–12 AUGUST 2023

The festival gathers thousands of visitors from all over Finland to celebrate with the top names in domestic and foreign hip-hop. hoodfest.fi

OUR KUOPIO FESTIVAL

12–27 AUGUST 2023

The festival is a community event for all residents of Kuopio. The programme includes theatre, concerts and yard sales.

kuopio.fi/meidan-kuopio

ANTI – CONTEMPORARY

ART FESTIVAL

12–17 SEPTEMBER 2023

ANTI is an international contemporary art festival presenting sitespecific works. The festival is held every September in Kuopio. All the events of the festival are free of charge.

antifestival.com/en/

KUOPIOROCK IS CELEBRATING 20TH BIRTHDAY

ON JULY 27–29, 2023.

The Kuopiorock festival brings a variety of artists, including international stars, to the naturally beautiful Väinölänniemi cape every year. Time after time, Kuopiorock has been selected as one of the top ten out of hundreds of festivals in Finland.

This year 2023, Kuopiorock will be rocking and celebrating with amazing artists. Kuopiorock is not only a festival, but also provides a platform for networking in a relaxed atmosphere.

Despite being surrounded by nature, Väinölänniemi is located at an only 1.5-kilometre distance from the market square. Festival goers have access to the beach and the activities organised around it. The event stands out from other festivals thanks to its closeness to nature combined with music and other experiences.

kuopiorock.fi

33 KUOPIO
2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL TOP EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES
BY NATURE

Business

TAHKO SKI LIFT PITCH 12–13 APRIL 2023

In this networking and competition event for startups and investors, entrepreneurs and investors are taken to the top of Tahkovuori Hill on a ski lift. The pitching contest gives startups a chance to pitch their business ideas to investors and win prizes. tahkoslp.com

#SYNTY SEPTEMBER 2023

Synty is a business event in Kuopio where participants explore creativity and hear personal experiences and stories from professionals. synty.fi

BRAND SEMINAR NOVEMBER 2023

The event provides a platform for business and public sector actors in North Savo to build networks and establish partnerships. The seminar event is organized by the City of Kuopio and MARK Savo. brandiseminaari.fi

FROM SAWO TO THE WORLD

30 NOVEMBER 2023

The event is organized by the Kuopio Region Chamber of Commerce. The themes are the region’s international identity, the internationalization of businesses, and international talent and students. sawostamaailmalle.fi

Sport

THE FINLAND ICE MARATHON 25 FEBRUARY 2023

One of the oldest ice skating event in Finland. This event takes competitors on natural ice of Kallavesi in the harbour of Kuopio. The moonlight skating on 24.2.2023 is a free outdoor event and a unique experience. finlandicemarathon.com

PADEL SPRING BREAK, IN BELLANRANTA, 26–27 MAY

2023

This event gathers all padel enthusiasts together. The after-game pool party is held at the Saana spa and terrace while enjoying live music. padelspringbreak.fi

34 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL TOP EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES

TAHKO MTB

30 JUNE – 1 JULY 2023

The laid-back Tahko MTB gathers mountain biking enthusiasts, from first-timers to the top of the sport. More than 2,000 enthusiastic mountain bikers participate in Finland's biggest mountain biking event every year.

tahkomtb.fi

KUOPIO SWIM & RUN

8 JULY 2023

Swim & Run – “Kill the Hills - Like the Lakes” – is a form of exercise in nature that has evolved into a challenging competitive sport. The event involves cross-country running and open-water swimming with multiple swim and run stages.

www.kuopioswimrun.fi

SUNSETS KUOPIO

4–5 AUGUST 2023

This sports and entertainment event brings participants representing more than ten sports to the Kuopio harbour area. The free event consists of various activities and entertainment. Visitors can test their skills at beach volley, darts, tennis, twerking and Finnish baseball on the beach. sunsetskuopio.com/in-english/

Music and art

KUOPIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA,

the largest symphony orchestra in Eastern Finland, has served the province for more than a hundred years. The orchestra’s home is the concert hall in the Kuopio Music Centre. The orchestra consists of 44 musicians from all over the world. Its repertoire includes symphonies as well as chamber and light music. kuopionkaupunginorkesteri.fi/ en/

KUOPIO CITY THEATRE

is the largest professional theatre in Eastern Finland and was founded more than a hundred years ago. Audiences can enjoy a versatile Finnish repertoire performed on the Minna and Maria stages. kuopionkaupunginteatteri.fi

DANCE THEATRE MINIMI

is making contemporary dance known in Kuopio and around the world. Minimi also develops physical theatre through circus and other physical forms of art. Minimi also does street theatre. minimi.fi/en_GB/

35 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL TOP EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES

KuPS – big emotions and football

Competing in the men’s and women’s premier division of football in Finland, Kuopion Palloseura (KuPS) has recently delivered many exciting sports moments for football fans in Kuopio. The women's KuPS team is the twotime reigning Finnish champion and the men's team has secured its place among the top teams of Veikkausliiga, Finland’s premier football league, and has won the Finnish Cup twice in a row. Thanks to their success, both teams have also had a chance to play on international fields.

36 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
TEXT JESSE KETTUNEN | PHOTOS VICENTE SERRA

Football romantics get hyped up ahead of the game whenever KuPS plays on its home turf at Väre Areena. When it comes to football, the fan culture in Kuopio goes back a long way and is growing stronger by the year. One of the team’s supporters is Jouni Nuutinen who says that KuPS has been a part of his life already for four decades.

“Back in the 80s when hardly any of the matches were televised, I started following KuPS through Urheiluruutu. When I moved from Pielavesi to Kuopio in the early 90s, I became an even more active supporter,” says Nuutinen.

Nuutinen does not follow football only as a spectator, but also has experience playing football as a hobby, watching his son's games from field side and coaching KuPS’s neighbourhood team.

“My son now plays on the KuPS 09 team, and football is a big part of our life as a family. We used to go and see KuPS play with my son, but as kids grow up, they don’t want to spend so much time with their dad anymore,” says Nuutinen with a laugh.

Local fan culture and match events have gradually evolved, according to Nuutinen. People living in the region are interested in the local team, which also includes players and personalities who come from the same region. Match days are a social event that people do not want to miss.

“Crowds are drawn in by the atmosphere created by the supporters’ group KPO Crew in the fan section of the stands, which now also has an alcohol license. Folks are singing and the atmosphere gets better year by year. KuPS has given us joyous moments of triumph, as well as big disappointments, but getting to experience and share these feelings with others is just wonderful,” says Nuutinen.

Former Chair of the Board of KuPS Oy Antti Haapakorva agrees. Haapakorva believes that it is the traditions, the community and the joy of sport that encourage people to come and see the matches.

“Whenever KuPS has a home match, the whole family knows that dad will be at the stadium. Few things evoke such a wide range of emotions. True, there have been many disappointments, but the silver in 2010 and the championship in 2019 were such emotional achievements that they were enough to make a grown man tear up. Those are moments I’ll never forget,” says Haapakorva, looking back at recent successes.

This year, KuPS is celebrating its 100-year journey as a sports club. In honour of the anniversary, writer Lasse Lehtinen, who has also held several positions of responsibility in politics and football, has written an anniversary publication that relates the story of KuPS through people and phenomena. According to Lehtinen, KuPS has laid the foundation for its current success over the past years. Things have been done right and the results can now be seen both in the stands and on the field.

“A sports club has to have a soul and a history, a meaning for the people in its home city. Volunteer work and traditions form the basis for more success, if such is in the offing. KuPS has had all this, and that is why the locals of Kuopio have embraced the club and made it their own. To those who have not been to a single KuPS match, my condolences. You have missed out on something beautiful and valuable,” says Lehtinen.

37 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
“Local fan culture and match events have gradually evolved.”

Other ball sports in Kuopio

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

As the current champion of Vaahteraliiga (Maple League), Kuopio Steelers has established a culture of winning and American football in Kuopio. Playing its home games at the stadium in Väinölänniemi, Steelers is now a permanent favourite in Vaahteraliiga and allows spectators to enjoy some of the best live American football matches in Finland. Vänäri is simply bursting with emotion as the reigning champion defends its title.

ICE HOCKEY

KalPa is Kuopio’s long-standing ice hockey team which competes in Liiga, or the Finnish Elite League. Over

its long history, the team has played many memorable games in front of big crowds and produced exceptional talents who have shown the world how ice hockey should really be played. The most recent examples have come from former KalPa players, Olympic and World Champion Teemu Hartikainen and Stanley Cup winner Artturi Lehkonen.

VOLLEYBALL

The joining force of men's volleyball in Savo, Savo Volley has quickly found a place among the top teams of Finnish volleyball. With its home matches played all across Savo, Savo Volley is drawing volleyball fans to the stands once more, and the atmos-

phere in the decisive matches of the season, in particular, resembles that of international arenas.

Women's volleyball is played by Puijo Wolley in the Finnish Women's Volleyball League. The club works in close cooperation with Puijo Wolley Juniors to build a player path where everyone can enjoy and play volleyball and pursue their personal goals.

OTHER SPORTS

In Finnish baseball, both the men's team Puijon Pesis and the women's team Puijottaret play in Ykköspesis, the second tier of the championship series. In floorball, Welhot plays in women's F-liiga, the highest floorball league in Finland.

38 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / LIVE LIKE LOCAL
KUPS – BIG EMOTIONS AND FOOTBALL

Everyday life & Studies

Kuopio is a genuinely international city and provides unique opportunities for living, studies and business alike.

76%

OF YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SATISFIED WITH THEIR LIVES

APPROXIMATELY 3,200

FOREIGN NATIONALS LIVING IN KUOPIO

DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES LIVING IN KUOPIO

1,000 STUDENTS 25,000

FOREIGN STUDENTS

32%

HAVE A DEGREE FROM A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTE

76%

FROM SECONDARY EDUCATION

A UNIVERSITY CITY AMONG THE TOP 300

IN SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS

THE HAPPIEST RESIDENTS AMONG THE LARGEST CITIES IN FINLAND

THE MUNICIPALITY WITH THE MOST SUMMER HOUSES IN FINLAND

10,800

TOP 3

MIGRATORY MUNICIPALITY IN FINLAND

77%

OF THE POPULATION LIVES IN THE URBAN AREAS

23%

AROUND 112 A 10-MINUTE

IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

WALK FROM ONE’S FRONT DOOR TO THE NEAREST OUTDOOR SPORTS FACILITY

KUOPIO BY NUMBERS

Expecting stronger fair winds

The infrastructure for lake tourism in Kuopio is developing rapidly. The services offered at Bellanranta will soon be expanded even further, while the Lakeland Oasis (Luoto) of Kuopio, which will be opened just in time for summer 2023, is combining urban life and lake nature in a way that has never been done before.

Lake Kallavesi is an inseparable part of the identity and landscape of Kuopio. As the largest lake in North Savo, it provides an ideal environment for activities, recreation or simply taking in the natural setting by the water. Kallavesi not only adds an element of tranquillity and aesthetic beauty to the urban landscape, but also offers long-distance water routes that take travellers up north and down south.

Kallavesi offers an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for lake tourism. These opportunities have been leveraged even more systematically in recent years by both the City of Kuopio

and local entrepreneurs. New winds will blow in lake tourism in Maljalahti in 2023, and the forecast is also looking bright at Bellanranta where development is picking up speed.

LAKELAND OASIS (LUOTO) –SAUNA AND LIVING ROOM BY THE LAKE

The new, magnificent Lakeland Oasis (Luoto) of Kuopio will be completed in Maljalahti, near the harbour, by summer 2023. Project leader Ville Iivonen has sat in the hot seat – quite literally –

40 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
TEXT TIMO MANSIKKA-AHO PHOTOS STUDIO PUISTO ARKKITEHDIT AND WILLE MARKKANEN

many times; having experience of Löyly in Helsinki, Kuuma in Tampere and several other Finnish sauna projects. In Kuopio, the sauna is once again the cornerstone on which other memorable experiences are built.

The main building of the Lakeland Oasis (Luoto) will have two luxury saunas and versatile restaurant services. The adjacent building will be dedicated to activities. The resulting oasis will be an easy access place where you can take a sauna, enjoy yourself and do things in the finest settings and a casual atmosphere.

When working in the export business, Iivonen was constantly hearing requests from international partners to experience a real Finnish sauna. Ice swimming would take the experience to the next level – Iivonen says that the Lakeland Oasis (Luoto) will also place a strong emphasis on year-round activities.

“Cities by water are normally bustling with life in the summer months, but the Lakeland Oasis (Luoto) can be visited in any season of the year for a variety of reasons. The lousier the weather, the better it feels to come here to relax – enjoying the sauna and a swim as the sleet is pouring down is an experience beyond compare.”

Iivonen is excited about the lively beat of Kuopio: the virile, growing city creates huge potential

for tourism. Natural landscapes right next to an urban city centre with its wide-ranging services form a combination that attracts visitors from near and far.

BELLANRANTA BELIEVES IN CONTINUOUS DEVELOPMENT

The views from Bellanranta on the other side of the city centre are also looking more and more favourable for lake tourists. A fairly impressive range of services are already available in the area – and Managing Director of Kuopion Saana Jukka Savolainen says that now is the time to make sure that the quality of the services is up to par.

“We are constantly gaining a better understanding at Bellanranta of the expectations of today’s demanding lake tourists. Lake Kallavesi brings enormous natural appeal to Kuopio, and it is great to see that the city can also adopt a visionary approach that helps make the development projects of local companies possible.”

The versatile range of high-quality services at Bellanranta will be further expanded in the near future. For example, a brand-new accommodation concept will be introduced in the area.

41 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
“Kallavesi offers an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for lake tourism.”

Peaks of Kuopio are reaching new heights

Drawing from the principles of continuous development and collaboration, the landmarks of North Savo that have stood in these parts since time immemorial are evolving into even more attractive, all-inclusive oases of experiences, offering wonders to discover for locals and tourists alike.

PUIJO – NATIONAL LANDSCAPE AND CROWDPULLING DESTINATION

For the past 60 years, the Puijo Tower has welcomed people arriving to the city particularly by road. Despite being one of the most famous landmarks in Finland, it is only the tip of the iceberg when you consider everything that the Puijo area has to offer these days to anyone interested in experiencing nature.

“Puijo is part of the national landscape, and we have tried to develop the area by introducing the widest possible range of activities that can be enjoyed in the nature of Puijo,” says CEO at Puijo Peak Pekka Niemelä.

Puijo Peak is developing Puijo in line with its strategy, 4seasons, 4reasons Brand-new attractions and tourism products are being created particularly for the darker seasons of the year with the help of the infrastruc-

ture reforms made by the city and the unique location of Puijo. As the manager of the region, Puijo Peak also creates opportunities for other service providers in Puijo, thereby improving the combined attractiveness of the entire area.

A snow tubing slope, programme services for groups, electric-assist fatbike rental and various virtual and augmented reality adventures are just a few examples of the experiences that can now be enjoyed in the

42 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO

national landscape. The improvements in the area have not gone unnoticed: Puijo Tower was visited by 58 different nationalities in the summer season, and c. 15 000 people explored the Halloween nature trail over a period of two weeks in the autumn.

The attractiveness, customer volumes and sales of the area have grown significantly, but Niemelä promises that this is only the beginning: new additions are constantly being developed.

TAHKO – IMPROVING SERVICES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

Located fifty odd kilometres north of the city centre is perhaps the brightest star of tourism in Kuopio, Tahko, which is just as unique a phenomenon as Puijo. Development projects and

Panorama Landscape Hotel & Lähde Forest Spa is being built on top of Tahko. The building has been designed to blend naturally into its surroundings both visually and in terms of the activities it provides. The stunning scenery offers dynamic experiences year-round. The plan is to make the first activities available to visitors in spring 2023. The project designer is the Norway-based architect, Professor Sami Rintala.

new investments are constantly in progress.

“The entire Tahko area is developing in a positive direction,” says Chair of the Board of TAHKOcom Pekka Vihma. “We have established a presence in modern channels using modern tools. New holiday destinations are being built and old ones are renovated to meet the high expectations of today's travellers.”

Vihma points out that Tahko reacted to the emerging platform economy already 20 years ago, and its service development was harnessed to follow this megatrend. Step by step, TAHKOcom was born – a unique sales channel that is now used to sell 300 000 accommodation days in over 1 000 places of accommodation. In addition, TAHKOcom is the best source of information in the area, gathering 1.3 million contacts per year.

Vihma says that the development of Tahko will continue to pick up pace. A new project named SmartTahko is looking for ways to make the Tahko

tourist area the number one location for technological development and smart services.

“We are working constantly to improve the quality and attractiveness of the area using new methods and technologies. If we want to continue to succeed, we need to set goals for ourselves and look boldly into the future.”

Tahkon Kehitys Oy is a company established specifically for the purpose of promoting the development of the area, involving the eight biggest actors in the area and the City of Kuopio. It is a forum that focuses on developing Tahko following the principle ‘more together’. Discovering new insight together has already produced several synergistic areas of activities.

The active development of the areas of Puijo and Tahko brings new life to the entire city. In addition to increasing visitor pull and retention, the versatile experiences and advanced technological solutions ensure better services for locals too.

43 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO

New form of communal life

Living in a city, your neighbours are often total strangers to you and your interaction with them is nothing more than a quick ‘hi’ in the stairwell. What’s more, the common facilities for residents, built in the air raid shelters down in the basement, do not exactly inspire you to engage in communal activities. Many long for the old village culture where everyone knew their neighbours and children were raised by the whole village.

44 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
TEXT MIKKO JAAKKOLA PHOTOS PHOTOS PROFILM AND VICENTE SERRA

Lately both housing developers and residents have shown growing interest in communal housing. One such project is the upcoming Kotikatu365 housing and service quarter in Hatsala, Kuopio. The first residential building of the community will soon be completed. A daycare centre and a nursing home were built in the area back in September. By 2030, Hatsala will include several residential buildings, a multistorey car park and many common facilities.

WORRY-FREE OPERATOR MODEL

Built by Health City Finland in Oulu and Kuopio, the Kotikatu365 quarters are the first area complexes in Finland that are based on the principle of communality. In addition to their communal concept, the operator model of the areas is innovative.

“The model includes enabling resident events in the community, maintaining shared equipment and vehicles and common facilities, and providing information through a resident portal,” says CEO of Health City Finland Pekka Ronkainen.

MORE COMMON SPACE

In the spirit of communality, the buildings have been designed to include functional and comfortable common facilities. For example, residents have access to a well-equipped gym and sauna facilities, lounge areas and playrooms for children.

“The aim is to encourage natural, everyday encounters between people. Residents can come and spend time in the facilities, and we also organize various low-threshold events,” says Ronkainen, describing the concept.

have become more active. We have also received feedback from women saying that their sense of security has increased significantly,” says Ronkainen, summing up the results.

FUTURE-READY

Kuopio has long been interested in communal construction. This residential and service quarter model was first presented to the city almost ten years ago, after which the search for a suitable site began.

“We wanted to test communal housing in Kuopio, so the aim was to find the best possible site for the project close to the very centre of the city,” says Housing Director of the City of Kuopio Katri Hiltunen.

“A spot at a good central location now opened up in Hatsala as the public swimming pool and bowling alley moved elsewhere,” she adds.

Resident surveys show that the communal concept and operator model have been positively received.

“Residents in Oulu have noticed that their life has become easier, and especially the more elderly residents

The communal housing projects in Kuopio and Oulu are being followed with great interest in other cities as well. Communal living can, indeed, be one of the upcoming megatrends in housing. At least Kuopio is ready for it.

45 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
“Especially the more elderly residents have become more active.”

Savilahti – Valley of new talent and innovations

The hub of businesses and educational and research institutes that is being built on the shores of Savilahti is a unique combination of leading expertise, new ideas and communal spirit. It is a place where people and ideas meet.

TEXT MINNA AKIOLA PHOTOS TIINA KILVENSALMI, VICENTE SERRA, ARKKITEHTIPALVELU OY, AKSELI MURAJA AND SAVO VOCATIONAL COLLEGE

Savilahti not only gathers local talent and students together, but is also part of a global network through businesses, educational institutions and international students. According to Kirsi Soininen, Marketing Director of the City of Kuopio, the best thing about Savilahti is its community. Buildings are just buildings – they do not have a purpose unless they contain meaningful content, people and activities.

Soininen points out that the huge group of approximately 17 500 students in the area forms a unique community in itself, but when combined with the businesses in Savilahti, the result is something entirely exceptional. Students in Savilahti both discover and create new knowledge. What innovations could this remarkable pool of talent produce in the future? Soininen believes that the businesses located in Savilahti have an advantage over others, because they have direct access to the intellectual capital produced by three different levels of education.

“Future innovations will be created in the interfaces where unusual combinations are made. It is important to create touchpoints where the students and businesses in Savilahti can find each other. Through these touchpoints, students and businesses can pool their intellectual capital together. We need to foster numerous such collisions so that the different actors get to know each other and can discover common themes across organizational boundaries,” says Soininen.

47 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
“Savilahti is a significant hub of research, studying and competence that attracts international experts to Kuopio.”
JUKKA MÖNKKÖNEN RECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND

ENORMOUS POTENTIAL

The idea is to enable events where different actors can meet. The themes of these events could be linked, for example, to the priority competencies, but Soininen believes that they should not be narrowed down too much beforehand. They could also be leisure activities, such as a rowing competition on Lake Kallavesi for the entire Savilahti community or an event related in some way to light, which is the overarching theme of the area. The Circle of Light is not only a branding tool for the area, but also a programme for urban lighting, art, design and culture.

“Our goal is that the various actors in the area would take the initiative in organizing events. The starting points for building community in Savilahti are a safe, open culture for diverse ideas and a modern way of thinking,” says Soininen.

The amazing group of students in many different fields forms the backbone of Savilahti and the future of Kuopio, says Antti Niskanen, Project Director of the City of Kuopio. Students bring life into the area with their fresh thoughts and create a positive atmosphere.

“There is enormous potential there, as long as we can get even more students to stay in Kuopio and offer them paths to entrepreneurship and employment. We have a gold mine in our hands, if we succeed in doing this,” says Niskanen.

One example of the productive collisions fostered between the students and businesses in Savilahti is Pondi, a talent pool coordinated by

48 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
SAVILAHTI – VALLEY OF NEW TALENT AND INNOVATIONS
“In my opinion, Savilahti is more than just the physical area and its buildings. The mutual trust between actors, the community and the joint activities in this centre of excellence create a bigger impact.”
MERVI VIDGRÉN
PRESIDENT, SAVONIA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES

In Savilahti, art and design will enliven the streetscape with help of the Circle of Light. It aims to enhance the identity, attraction and spirit of the area and turn Savilahti into a vibrant urban space round the clock and year.

The Savilahti sports and event center, Luola, which will open in 2024, will become a versatile meeting place. The center also offers the district a communal shelter for 7,000 people.

49 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO SAVILAHTI – VALLEY OF NEW TALENT AND INNOVATIONS

Osuma Henkilöstöpalvelut and KPY Cooperative that connects talent and employers flexibly and effortlessly. The primary goal is that students would get to know local employers already during their studies through shorter and longer periods of employment. Once both sides are familiar with each other, getting a job after graduation will be easier. This also helps employers find future experts.

MODERN STUDYING

The degree programmes offered by the University of Eastern Finland are expanding to include the field of technology. The Kuopio campus will start educating Masters of Science in Technology in the Degree Programme in Technical Physics. At the same time, Savonia University of Applied Sciences has received reinforcements in new study programmes, while Sakky has opened a new campus.

KPY Novapolis, a subsidiary of KPY, the accelerator of vitality and business in Kuopio, is helping to expand the education offered in the area by planning to establish a company-led coding school in Savilahti. The idea is to find big, strong companies as well as medium-sized and smaller companies that would form a community and establish a coding school. Similar concepts can be found all over the world. A new company-led coding school in Estonia, for example, has been a great success.

“This intensive software training programme does not lead to a qualification, but it is an excellent example of modern studying,” says Anssi Lehikoinen, CEO of KPY and KPY Novapolis. For example, a person with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering could take a quick course in software technology in the coding school and pursue a career in smart machine building.

STARTUPS AND INNOVATIONS

In recent years, Savilahti has provided a new home for several enterprises from outside North

50 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
SAVILAHTI – VALLEY OF NEW TALENT AND INNOVATIONS

Savo that could be classified as growth companies. The ICT sector has been heavily represented in this group, with the arrival of companies such as Vincit Plc, Nordcloud Ltd and Unikie Ltd. A new kind of startup culture has also spread across Savilahti. Hub Panostamo in KPY Novapolis brings together young, growth-oriented companies that are closely integrated into the campus area and are active players there.

“We organize events in KPY Novapolis that anyone can attend. The idea is that companies would find customers and partners and discover new ideas for their activities. We are the engine that brings companies and people together to come up with new ideas and innovations,” says Lehikoinen, describing the concept.

KPY Novapolis has also invested in shared facilities. Novapolis has noticed that the shift in work culture has inspired companies to look for flexible workspaces in the form of co-work solutions. The new CoWork environment opened in Savi-

lahti also serves as a meeting place for students and companies.

One of the creators of new ideas and approaches is Genelec, the world leader in audio monitoring solutions, which has established its own Innovation Lab in Savilahti. The goal is to nurture creativity and entrepreneurship and attract the best professionals to the area. G Innovation Lab is aimed at motivated individuals with complementary skills and a deep shared interest in the audio industry.

“Students, on the other hand, can apply to the Genelec Mentor Program, where they can write a thesis, for example, related to the topic areas defined in the Pitch Challenge by Genelec,” says Managing Director of Genelec Siamäk Naghian.

Savilahti is a place that produces new entrepreneurship and innovations and a steady stream of new talent to fill jobs. It is a unique centre of excellence where leading competence is present on many levels.

51 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
“Our new campus, built according to the Nordic Swan Ecolabel criteria is an accurate portrayal of Savilahti as a whole – we boldly set out to create something new, promoting education and well-being together.”
HEIKKI HELVE DIRECTOR, SAVO CONSORTIUM FOR EDUCATION

Ecosystems in North Savo create an innovative growth environment

Over the past thirty years, the Kuopio region has developed into a conducive environment for research, development and innovation (RDI). The interdependent ecosystems in the region enrich the competencies of companies and organizations and create new innovations.

Due to their wide networks, the local ecosystems get noticed in international forums and the global market. Educational and research institutes, the university hospital, think tanks, good transport connections and digitalization have created an

of the ecosystem both gives and receives, working for the greater common good.

“The ecosystems in North Savo are the most multidisciplinary ecosystems within one region in the Nordic countries, and together, they form the SuperEcosystem,” says RDI Specialist Johan Halvarsson from the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

DEVELOPMENT THROUGH COOPERATION

infrastructure for synergistic cooperation networks of experts in different fields, where the dependencies are positive in nature – each member

“The SuperEcosystem is an umbrella organization for all the ecosystems and clusters in the region and their member companies. Business Center North Savo and DigicenterNS also support the SuperEcosystem. It is based on the smart specialization strategy of the Regional

53 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
“The SuperEcosystem is an umbrella organization for all the ecosystems and clusters in the region and their member companies.”

Council of Pohjois-Savo and the EU, which promotes new conditions for business. The active network provides companies of all sizes diverse opportunities to settle in North Savo,” says Halvarsson.

The region has many assets. It possesses strong RDI expertise, wide networks, short distances and four stunning seasons of the year. It is a multicultural region where everyone can be themselves. People from Savo are known for their willingness to help others, work hard and take pride in their achievements.

The development and growth of the ecosystems in North Savo has been supported by the innovation-oriented activities of the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo, ELY Centre, various actors and organizations and decision-makers. Extensive cooperation between researchers and various educational institutions has played a crucial role in this development.

ENABLERS OF GROWTH

The City of Kuopio has signed an innovation ecosystem agreement with the Finnish Government, which outlines our joint efforts to strengthen and grow attractive competence centres. Introduced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the agreement fortifies public and private RDI activities and supports competitiveness, employment and internationalization.

“The ecosystem agreement allows Kuopio to receive sustainable urban development funding from the EU that is meant for cities with universities. The cities allocate these funds to the priority competencies in their region; in Kuopio, these are health, wellbeing and nutrition, and water expertise,” says Arto Holopainen, Chief Innovation Officer at the City of Kuopio.

The City of Kuopio supports the ecosystems by providing test platforms, for example.

Kuopio Living Lab is a test platform formed by the City of Kuopio, Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) and Savonia UAS. Companies in the field of health and wellness technologies, for example, use the Living Lab to test and co-develop new products and services in an authentic environment.

The urban testing environment is embodied in Savilahti, which brings together living, studying, working and leisure. The district is being developed according to the principles of sustainable development, with due consideration for environmental, economic, cultural and social sustainability. The people in North Savo want to make Savilahti the most attractive research, education and innovation environment in Europe.

“Savilahti is like a condensed model of the city structure and contains several ecosystems. The district is located right next to the city centre, but still in the middle of nature. The institutes of higher education and research, companies and the university hospital in Savilahti combine research in health and wellbeing and practice,” says Holopainen.

TOWARDS GLOBAL SOLUTIONS

Working under the specialization priority of water expertise, Kuopio Water Cluster aims to discover solutions to water issues around the world. This includes looking for answers to questions of

54 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO SAVILAHTI – VALLEY OF NEW TALENT AND INNOVATIONS
“The City of Kuopio supports the ecosystems by providing test platforms, for example.”

how we could better prepare for extreme weather, take climate security into consideration and ensure access to clean water.

One of the main themes is leveraging digital data through data analytics and artificial intelligence.

For example, a virtual model of stormwater management can be created by using the city's utility services as a development platform, a Living Lab.

Different industries converge at the interfaces of ecosystems. Kuopio Health is an international, multidisciplinary, open innovation network of researchers, specialists, companies and funding agencies in health, wellbeing and the food industry. The ideas born within this community are used, for example, to develop new medicines for markets.

“International projects promote North Savo and describe what we have and what we can do. People also listen to us. Projects create new opportunities for companies to form contacts and open doors and sell their products around the world,” says Halvarsson.

55 SAVILAHTI – VALLEY OF NEW TALENT AND INNOVATIONS

Influential research and 10 million small good deeds

The challenges of the times are tackled in North Savo in various ways – through research, development and new innovations, in addition to doing small deeds that together add up to something big and meaningful.

active because they lead to substantial pharmaceutical and health benefits and savings.

“Finland possesses enormous potential in the health sector and in health technology. We have an excellent infrastructure, skilled personnel and committed patients. There is a lot of potential for growth,” says Töyräs.

PAYING GOOD DEEDS FORWARD

The Mieliteko project aims to increase mental wellbeing and reduce substance abuse and pro-substance attitudes. The main target group of the project is people from North Savo aged 18–65 who are unemployed or outside the labour force.

“Mental health challenges often go hand in hand with substance abuse,” says Project Director Helena Länsimies.

INVESTING IN RESEARCH AND TOP KNOW-HOW PAYS OFF

Kuopio University Hospital (KUH) conducts research in dozens of medical specialities. Priority fields of research include neurological, ophthalmic, and internal diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. In 2021, there were just under 700 research projects in progress at KUH, and many of these are carried out in cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland.

“Research is the foundation of a health care system that is effective and equal. Research also produces

know-how, innovations, and vitality. That is why the wellbeing services counties need to invest in research and top-level expertise,” says Director of Research and Innovation, Professor Juha Töyräs from KUH.

High-quality research forms the basis for reputation and attraction. Together with the University of Eastern Finland, KUH is at the forefront of research with a focus on health sciences, thereby also supporting business and employment.

Clinical drug trials are a good example of the research done in collaboration with businesses. Participation in drug trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies should be even more

The aim of the project is to improve the understanding of mental health issues among decision-makers, professionals in the field and local residents and make mental health an everyday concern.

“Mental health is something that we all have,” says Länsimies.

Hoping to become a movement that shifts attitudes, Mieliteko is challenging everyone in North Savo to do 10 million small good deeds in 10 years.

“This means that everyone living in North Savo should do four small deeds every year. For example, you could smile at a passer-by or greet your neighbour. Many small deeds can make a big impact that spreads far and wide,” says Länsimies.

56 KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 / FUTURE KUOPIO
TEXT RIITTA JUSSILA | PHOTO VICENTE SERRA

Working life & Business

Success stories emerge from places where they have room to grow. The attitude of Kuopio’s residents is built on courage, persistence and, above all, collaboration.

A POPULATION OF RESIDENTS 122,500

53,000 COMPANIES 7,000

JOBS

200,000

RESIDENTS LIVING IN ITS COMMUTING AREA

200

No1 THE CITY CENTER OF KUOPIO IS THE LIVELIEST IN FINLAND

EXPORT COMPANIES

300

IMPORT COMPANIES

TOTAL INVESTMENT VALUE OF THE CITY’S DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS BILLION € 4 2

TOP

NATIONAL AGREEMENT

RECOMMEND LOCATION FOR COMPANIES AMONG LARGE CITIES IN FINLAND

IN HEALTH AND WELLBEING ECOSYSTEM AND WATER CLUSTER

KUOPIO BY NUMBERS

Kuopio – the Capital of Good Life

Kuopio is the center of Eastern Finland – the Capital of Lakeland – and one of the most dynamic cities when it comes to residential development, attractiveness, job opportunities and population growth.

THE CITY CENTER OF KUOPIO IS THE LIVELIEST IN FINLAND

DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES

THE 8TH LARGEST CITY IN FINLAND

A POPULATION OF

122,500

KUOPIO IS KNOWN FOR

THE MARKET SQUARE, PUIJO AND TAHKO

112 STUDENTS 25,000

200,000

RESIDENTS LIVING IN ITS COMMUTING AREA

TOTAL INVESTMENT VALUE OF THE CITY’S DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS € 4

SURROUNDED BY OVER

100

THE LARGEST NATIONAL CITY PARK WITH A SURFACE AREA OF

7,200 BILLION

RESIDENTS LAKES MILLION SQUARE METRE

THE IMAGE OF KUOPIO

THE 2ND MOST POSITIVE (AMONG FINNISH CITIES)

7,000

COMPANIES JOBS

53,000

EXPORT COMPANIES

300

200 IMPORT COMPANIES

KUOPIO BY NUMBERS
KUOPIO BY NATURE 2023 59 2 h Helsinki Paris Madrid London Berlin Tallinn Prague Copenhagen Munich Rome Stockholm Vienna ZagrebBudapest Milan Barcelona Minsk Kiev Moscow Bukarest 3 h 4 h Reykjavik Oslo Dublin Helsinki 45 min 4 h 25 min

Kuopio is easy to love, but difficult to explain. It is a city full of sensation from the freshness of the morning to the pulse of the night.

The best memories are born, where the heart lives.
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.