A sustainable city features public transport and diverse services

YIT CORPORATION News, February 24, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. 

YIT’s residential construction projects in Russia emphasise accessible services, good transport connections and comfort. 

“The concept of a sustainable city has many different aspects and can be defined in numerous ways,” says Juha Kostiainen, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Urban Development, at YIT.

“YIT believes that good public transport connections and a diverse service environment are key elements in this respect.” 

According to Kostiainen, effective public transport and a diverse service environment featuring both public and private service providers reduce the need for transport—especially the need for passenger cars.

“Transport always affects the carbon footprint. A well-planned urban structure that offers good public transport and easily accessible services can reduce the need to move about. It is essential to provide a wide range of activities in the area.”   

Kostiainen explains that YIT’s goal in sustainable urban development is to broaden the perspective and examine the energy efficiency of entire residential areas instead of individual buildings. 

“Especially in Finland, the energy efficiency of buildings is very good, and the new norms that will take effect in the near future will make it even better. It is therefore more important to focus on entire areas.”

The notion of a sustainable city also includes a social aspect. “Residents must feel their environment is valuable and aesthetically pleasing. This motivates them to take care of it,” says Kostiainen.

Examples of ways to make living environments more comfortable include providing space for environmental art, ensuring the biodiversity of areas left in their natural state and organising various events. In the Helsinki Konepaja district, YIT has in the past two years participated in the residents’ cleaning day and in the arrangements for the Finnish graffiti championship.  

In Russia, YIT maintains and services over 25,000 apartments and their living environments. YIT Service, YIT’s maintenance company in Russia, organises many different events for its customers throughout the year. The volunteer events known as Eco-Saturdays, which go back several years, have been immensely popular among residents. During Eco-Saturdays, residents and YIT Service employees get together to clean, spruce up and enliven the yards. 

Sustainable design in practice 

YIT has carried out several projects in Russia based on the concept of a sustainable city. A residential area known as Rifei with more than 2,000 apartments is under development in the suburb of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, to the north of Yekaterinburg. Construction began in 2011 and, to date, seven apartment buildings with more than 700 apartments have been completed. There is also a day-care centre in the area.

“Rifei is a great example of sustainable urban planning. The area’s strengths include the short distance to Verkhnyaya Pyshma, a city of 70,000 residents, and its workplaces, as well as the access to a ready urban infrastructure,” Kostiainen explains. 

In Kazan, YIT is constructing a residential area called Sovremennik, which comprises 11 apartment buildings, three car parks and a day-care centre. Sovremennik is located in the Novo-Savinovski district in north-eastern Kazan close to a wide range of services and an effective public transport network. True to its name, Sovremennik is a modern residential area. Its buildings feature the latest materials and residential technology, not forgetting environmental aspects.

In Zhukovsky, a suburb of Moscow, YIT is constructing a residential area known as Mikrorajon 5A. The area now features 13 apartment buildings, with ground-floor facilities designed to be used as business premises for local services. The area will also include a day-care centre and two car parks. The services and transport network of Zhukovsky are highly developed, and the suburb has been nominated as one of Russia’s 12 science cities. 

One of the differences between Russian and Finnish construction projects is that in Russia the developer also participates in the design and construction of the area’s schools and day-care centres. 

“We talk about social infrastructure in this context,” says Kostiainen. “The idea is to build socially viable environments that offer both apartments and the necessary local services. An area where schools, day-care centres and other services are accessible by foot is comfortable and practical, even if public transport still needs to be developed.”

The present and future side by side 

Sustainable urban environments are not only created through new construction. They can also be created at existing sites. In Smolny Prospekt in St. Petersburg, YIT is renovating three old buildings in the historical city centre and constructing three new buildings, which will house nearly 400 luxury apartments. The new buildings were designed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. The area will also include a day-care centre, a two-storey underground car park and green spaces. The project’s architecture has been carefully designed to match the surrounding historical urban environment and create a prestigious and comfortable living environment for the residents of this significant district.

“I have worked on large urban projects around the world, and it is only in Russia where they truly understand what visionary urban development is about,” says Bofill.

“The architectural tradition born in the early 1900s has had a major impact on capitals around the world, starting in places such as Beijing and later spreading elsewhere. Our designs in Smolny Prospekt were inspired, among other things, by the Winter Palace, which is also located by the Neva River in the historical centre of St. Petersburg.” 

“In Europe, converting areas such as old machine shop districts into residential and cultural areas has been a popular trend in recent years,” says Juha Kostiainen. “Such projects, carried out in a dense urban structure, enable the creation of interesting and comfortable mixed-use environments where residents have easy access to many different types of services.”  

For further information, please contact:

Juha Kostiainen, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Urban Development, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 400 721 475, juha.kostiainen@yit.fi

Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)40 561 6568, hanna.malmivaara@yit.fi

YIT creates better living environment by developing and constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. Our vision is to bring more life in sustainable cities. We want to focus on caring for customer, visionary urban development, passionate execution and inspiring leadership. Our growth engine is urban development involving partners. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2016, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.8 billion, and we employ about 5,300 employees. Our share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.yitgroup.com 

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YIT is the largest Finnish and a significant North European construction company and urban developer. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction. Together with our customers, our nearly 8,000 professionals are creating more functional, attractive and sustainable cities and environments. We work in 10 countries: Finland, Russia, Sweden, Norway, the Baltic countries, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Our revenue in 2019 was approximately EUR 3.4 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com

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