#40 Helsinki: "Not Everything Is Important" or Focusing on Effective Climate Actions

Episode 46 July 19, 2023 00:45:03
#40 Helsinki: "Not Everything Is Important" or Focusing on Effective Climate Actions
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#40 Helsinki: "Not Everything Is Important" or Focusing on Effective Climate Actions

Jul 19 2023 | 00:45:03


Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

In our fourth episode recorded live at the Urban Future Conference 2023, we had the pleasure of talking with Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Head of Climate at the City of Helsinki, Finland, and Susa Eräranta, Project Director for Climate Mitigation at the City of Helsinki and Professor of Practice at Aalto University.

With them, we discussed the unique approach taken by Helsinki to address climate change, with a focus on effective actions, critical thinking, and prioritisation of efforts.


Overview of the episode:

01:53 - Teaser: What is a little-known fact about Helsinki?

02:57 - What are our guests' backgrounds?

07:34 - What is happening in Helsinki right now? What makes the situation unique in Helsinki? What challenges are shared with other cities?

10:22 - What does focusing on the most effective actions regarding climate change look like in practice?

14:52 - In this perspective, is citizen behaviour change not a focus for the city?

21:52 - Helsinki's carbon neutrality target: carbon zero and carbon negativity

31:06 - The benefits of making mistakes and learning from them


37:11 - Roll With The Punches: our guests answer this or that questions quickly, and with their first instincts

42:43 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?


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Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu.


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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:06 Welcome to Smart in the City, the BABLE Podcast where we bring together top actors in the smart city arena, sparking dialogues and interactions around the stakeholders and themes most prevalent for today's citizens and tomorrow's generations. I am your host, Tamlyn Shimizu, and I hope you'll enjoy this episode and gain knowledge and connections to accelerate the change for a better urban life. Smart in the City is brought to you by BABLE Smart Cities. We enable processes from research and strategy development to co-creation and implementation. To learn more about us, please visit the BABLE Platform at bable-smartcities.eu. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:00:46 So welcome back to another episode of the Smart in the City podcast. We have quite an episode lined up for you today. I am sitting in Stuttgart, Germany, which also happens to be the headquarters of BABLE Smart Cities, and we are live at the Urban Future Conference. Um, we're a proud media partner, and if you missed it this year, definitely make sure to already make a note to not miss it for next year in Rotterdam. Um, it is one of my all time favorite events of the year, and I highly recommend that you check it out. So, without further ado, I want to travel north today to another episode in the Nordics, this time with Finland. So we have two guests today from the city of Helsinki who bring in their unique knowledge and backgrounds. Let me introduce you to them. So first off, we have Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, the head of climate at the city of Helsinki, Finland. Welcome. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:01:38 Thank you, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:38 <laugh>. Pleasure to have you. And with her today. Um, her counterpart, uh, Susa Eräranta, a product director for climate mitigation, city of Helsinki, and the professor of practice at Alto University. Welcome, Susa. Susa Eräranta 00:01:52 Thank you Tamlyn Shimizu 00:01:53 <laugh>. Glad to have you both here, and I'm really excited to learn more about everything Helsinki is doing and all of your different ways of thinking. Um, so first I would like to start us off warming us up. I, I should say, cooling us down because it's like 30 something degrees here, in Stuttgart. It's a heat wave. So, um, let's call it a cool down for now. Um, but could you tell us maybe little known facts about Helsinki? Do you have anything that comes to mind? <laugh>? Susa Eräranta 00:02:25 Yeah, that's a good question. I think one of the things that, uh, people usually don't know about Helsinki is that most of it is actually sea. So two thirds of Helsinki is actually sea and only one third of it is land. Oh, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:40 That's really interesting. Yeah. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:02:41 Yeah. And actually, uh, Helsinki Metro is the, the most north most metro in the world. So we are very proud of that. Oh, you know, if you, if you want to try a very north kind of experience, you can come and visit Ian and they can metro. Right. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:02:57 I, I would love to also, I've never been actually, so I hope to visit you soon, <laugh> sometime soon. So, um, so Kaisa-Reeta, can you tell me a bit about your background and your story? What led you to, to your position today and what are you most passionate about? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:03:15 Yeah, I have, I'm a physicist on my background, and I've been always, uh, very interested about the numbers and also environmental things. I graduated a little bit more than 20 years ago, and, uh, I went to work for a Finn Telecom company called Nokia. And, and, uh, I was there about 10 years, and during those years, I, I got more and more into the environmental and, uh, energy things. Um, the last years while I was working in Nokia, I was in Brussels. And, uh, then I got that kind of a climate, uh, awakening, you could say, you know, I realized this, this is, this is something I really want to, you know, to work for. And I came back to Finland. And after that I, I, I had been working for the government of Finland and also an organization, uh, environmental organization, cream Peace. So I was working as an, uh, energy and climate campaigner for cream peace Nordic. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:04:14 And, and then about a little bit more than four years ago. Yeah. Uh, you know, I got a call from City of Helsinki and, and they asked me to, to come to work for them as during that time as a project director for a climate, uh, program. And, you know, when somebody calls you from the biggest city of the hel and ask you to, to come to lead the program, you know, in that, that kind of city, don't say no. Yeah, yeah. <laugh> you, you don't say no. So, and, and you know, here we are. So two years ago the climate unit was established. So before that I was, you know, uh, working as a project director, but, but then two years ago, exactly, almost two years ago today. So it, it was started and, and now we are growing fast, and then we are doing a lot of also, you know, not the mitigation, but also adaptation in our unit. So that's the story. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:05:04 That's the story Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:05:06 20 years in, in a nutshell. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:05:07 It's a cool background. I always love talking to people who have such a mixed background, and it's interesting to hear how they came about coming to this position today. So, um, Susa, I would like to ask you the same question. How did you come to your current role? Susa Eräranta 00:05:23 Yeah, it has also been a lengthy part, like Kaisa-Reeta. So, um, I'm originally an architect and an urban planner, and I have worked quite many years for, uh, diverse scales of urban planning in municipalities, uh, mostly in the Helsinki region. And then during those years, I somehow realized that maybe we are not yet doing our best, uh, with the climate issues, for example. So maybe two years ago, um, I, uh, changed to, um, Helsinki region level to head the climate and circular economy operations. Uh, and then, um, one year ago, um, Kaisa-Reeta had a really interesting post, uh, open at the city of Helsinki to work in the climate unit, and I decided that that's like really hands-on job with the climate task. So I decided to come back to the city of Helsinki and now work with the climate issues. And also simultaneously I'm working in academia, so I'm, uh, also trying to teach them, uh, future generations of planners to also, uh, acknowledge these planetary issues and, um, climate issues as well. Cool. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:06:35 And, and how, um, how do those two roles actually interact? Um, the, the professor role and, and your role at Helsinki? Susa Eräranta 00:06:44 I think they interact actually quite well because also this work that I'm doing in Kai unit is, uh, quite academically founded. I would say that we are doing really much, uh, meteorological development and also, uh, collaborating with scientists and so on. So it's also good to, in a way speak their language and understand how to actually print those more theoretical thoughts into practice. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:07:09 Yeah. And I think it's also another way round because, you know, Susa and I now have a very, uh, concrete and hands on experience that what are the challenges in the city. So if you are only working on the academia, i I, I think that you, it could be very easily happen that you get quite far from the real, real life, so does a real life problems. Yeah. So I think that it's, it's, uh, you know, win-win Yeah. Situation basically. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:07:34 Yeah. I imagine those feeding into each other quite well, so, um, yeah, absolutely. So can you both set the scene a little bit on what is happening in Helsinki right now? Uh, what makes the situation unique in Helsinki? What challenges are shared with other cities? Maybe Kaisa-Reeta first? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:07:52 Yeah. Um, the big picture is that the biggest part of emission are coming from heating mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, it's more than 60% at the moment. We have a energy company which is fully, uh, owned by the city, but it's a limited company. So we have a limited ways to, to, um, force them to do things because it's Mark working on the market. Uh, then, you know, the second biggest part of emission is coming from the traffic. It's about the 25% at the moment, and the rest is, uh, electricity and, um, everything else and everything else. And the electricity part, they are not the problem for us. The, the electricity is getting clean on the Nordic market very fast. Uh, but, but really the traffic and the heating, they are the, the biggestest biggestest headache. Uh, but what makes the situation unique, you know, is that we have a very strong mandate from our, uh, leaders. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:08:50 Um, what, um, uh, climate change target or the climate, uh, emission reduction target is included on the city strategy. The climate, uh, is one of our four, uh, that kind of, you know, main project at the moment. We have a mayor leading the program group, city manager is, is the leading or the whole chairing the operational group. You know, we really have this kind of very good situation from that perspective that there is a mandate to do and, and, you know, to, to implement things. It's, it's, uh, and I think that that's something we really should be very grateful of. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:28 Yeah. Enabling, yeah. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:09:29 Eabling. Yeah. And the city of Helsinki is, is doing, uh, quite well, you know, from economical perspective. So we are doing profit, so it also gives us some freedom, so it's easier to get, to make investment needed investments and, and things like that. So that's the big picture in, in, in short. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:09:50 Yeah. Anything to add there, Susa or she covered it? Susa Eräranta 00:09:53 I think she covered it mostly. Maybe just one, uh, key issue that maybe differs healthy gear a bit from the others is this very strong focus on the effectiveness of climate work. So we have really worked to kind of reestablish the climate program, for example. Uh, so it's more target oriented and especially focusing on the most effective actions. And that's in a way quite unique. I haven't seen that approach very explicitly elsewhere. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:10:22 Yeah. Can, can you maybe put that a little bit, uh, clearer for the listeners? What does that actually look like in practice? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:10:29 Yeah. The, the first climate program we had about the five years ago, it, it had 147 different accents. And the accents were really, uh, small scale if, if you could say so. So there were, you know, things that you, we su you know, uh, in increase the number of the pallet, uh, planting pallet agriculture on the city. And we su you know, uh, promote commuting to do to your workplace by bike. There were that can very, very weak access. And we realized that, you know, it's not going to, it's not going to work. So with this kind of very small accents, we are not going to reach our target, you know, all the big accents, like, you know, it's, it's, we're really reducing, uh, emissions. We are missing. And now we, you know, put all the small accents on the side. So we, we are, we are saying that, you know, not every accent is needed, you know, because we very easily in this climate bubble, we are repeating and, and just saying that every small accent counts and everything is important. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:11:34 And we are saying, no, no, everything is not important. The big things at this point of the climate change, they are important and we are focusing on toes. And how they differ from the earlier version of the program is that they are very engineering kind of, you know, accents. They are, they are not sexy. They are not very easy to understand. They are actually quite pouring ones. It's like that, you know, you have to add insulation on the houses, you have to change to the geothermal. You have to in increase number of the solar pvs, you have to use a low concrete, low carbon and concrete. They are that kind of, you know, very engineering kind of, you know, access. But they are the accents. We are doing the mile, you know, it's, it's, they are the accents. We are really reducing emissions, you know, and everything else is just that kind of, you know, uh, funny things we could do, but they are not going to save us. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:12:26 And that's, that's, you know, how it really differs. And we, we are calculating a lot, as I said, you know, I'm a person who loves numbers, so we calculate it, you know, on daily basis. You know, we, we are trying to really estimate that, that how much every action is reducing, uh, emission, what is the cost, you know, how fast emission reduction, reduction is, is, is going to to come. And, and, you know, it's, it's very, that kind of asa said, you know, science based Yeah. That, that, that kind of thinking is behind everything we do. Yeah. But, but of course, you know, it looks very, it's looks very, very different comparing to the first person of the, of the program. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:13:06 Yeah. I think that's very important. And I guess those measures could be sexy to some though, right? They're like sexy to the engineers and, uh, sexy <laugh>. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:13:16 And there, there are other, other people. But you know, for example, I was, uh, I was super excited because, you know, we decided that, you know, in every infrastructure construction, you know, in Helsinki we are going to use a low carbon, um, concrete. And I was super excited about it. And now I have found one person, you know, who is also excited about it. And I was like, okay, this is, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:13:39 I can get excited about that. I can, I can be your third person to get excited about it. But it's, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:13:44 It's, they're, they're not that kind of, you know, obvious one because you know, people very easily they think that, you know, uh, the climate change, um, mitigation is about the green roofs or it's about that kind of, you know, putting that kind of recycling, uh, shelves on your house, on things like that. But they are really not that kind of things which are making a big effect. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they are nice to have things, but you know, if we are only focusing on those and we are not doing the big ones, you know, we are going to lose this fight. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:15 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So yeah. Susa, you want to add there? Yeah, Susa Eräranta 00:14:19 I would maybe say that we are now focusing on, in a way, making the, the frame of urban life more, uh, climate friendly in a way so that it's not up to the individuals only to make the changes in their lives, but also the city is taking the responsibility of changing the issues that the city can, in a way change. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:14:39 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So are you saying that, do you, do you not focus on, um, I guess behavior change and stuff in citizens? Is that not a focus of yours, or are you still focusing on that? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:14:52 We are focusing on that, but you know, not traditional way mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because, you know, I think that the traditional way to, uh, try to change behavior is, is through education and through information, and we don't do that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but we are, for example, trying to, uh, make people to, to be more active on their daily life, you know, like, you know, choosing more, uh, climate friend ways of transport, for example. But we are doing it by, you know, making parking in and walking in for infrastructure better. And we are trying to, you know, like, because, you know, one of my friend who is, is working on the, on the physical activity program always said that the human being is, is like a water that it's, it, he or she's always trying to choose the easiest way. Yes. And, and we are very lazy and, you know, we don't want, we don't want to make that kind of, you know, extra effort. And that's, you know, only way we are able to make the people, to make right choices is to make those right choices very easy for them. And this is, you know, what we are trying to do, this is really, we are trying to, you know, change the behavior, but not the traditional traditional way. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:02 I'm a big, big proponent of that actually. I, I, I talk about that a lot about how people, people will just choose the thing that's easiest for them, and that's the most convenient Convenience trumps almost everything in how people function. Um, you can choose, uh, even if people, you show people two routes where this has cleaner air and this has dirtier air, if that takes 10 minutes longer, they will choose the dirtier air most of the time, I think. Yeah. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:16:28 And I'll, I'll do the same. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:16:30 Yeah, exactly. We can't blame anyone, right. We're busy. We, we would choose the most convenient thing. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:16:35 Yeah. And I, I think we have been, uh, sharing information about the climate change and that kind of environmental, uh, friendly choices already, like 20 years at least. Mm-hmm. And, you know, not much has, has changed. So I think we have tried it already, and, you know, it doesn't work. We have to try something else. Susa Eräranta 00:16:52 And I think, uh, like lately, we have also made these calculations of how big actually is the impact of this individual accents. And I think Kaiser Reta can share some really kind of interesting examples of how low the impact actually is, uh, even if all of the Helsinki residents will do some of those things. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:17:12 Yeah. Because, yeah, I already told, I love numbers <laugh> and I love calculations. So we calculated it, it was that kind of, you know, a finger exercise at the beginning that's kind of, you know, inside joke a little bit. We, you know, created that kind of imaginary friend called Becca, and, and then we calculated that if Becca is, is going to reduce the temperature of his own, you know, apartment by three decrease and reduce, uh, sour, you know, like 25%, so it's going to take, you know, shorter sours and switch off the lights. He's not needing, uh, the carbon footprint of Becca is going to be reduced by 2.88%. So, and if we think that that kind of sustainable level is that you have to reduce your carbon footprint, like, uh, 80 or 90%, so it's, it's quite far. Mm-hmm. It's very, very far. It's, it's less than 3%. And if every resident in, in Helsing is going to do the same, so everyone, and we know that, you know, not everybody is, is going to do the same. The effect for the city's, uh, emison is 0.5%. So we, we don't think about this kind of things. So the, the numbers, they are very, very low. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:18:29 And so how do we balance, um, okay, so does that mean no one, no one is responsible, you know, like, can we not hold anyone responsible then for your own personal actions? Or are you just focusing the actions on the systematic changes and hoping that draws the people to behavior change? Um, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:18:48 It's a little bit both. Yeah. But do you want to go first? Tamlyn Shimizu 00:18:52 Yeah. Susa Eräranta 00:18:52 I think the main issue now is to make the systemic change so that the city in a way itself also lays the foundation for sustainable life. So that not so much is dependent on whether an individual acts sustainably or not, but that the city makes it more easier to do those sustainable actions. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:19:13 Yeah. And, and, you know, some, at some point of the, the process, we also need individuals, but the individuals need to do, needs to do Right. Access and not concentrating and not use all their energy on, on the, that kind of small things with which chains close to nothing. But for example, we, we, um, as I said, you know, heating is a big part of ance in Haki. And, uh, we started couple of years ago that kind of energy renaissance program in Helsinki. And it's basically the idea is that we hired engineers working for the city, and they are helping housing associations to, to make, uh, energy renovation because we found out that the energy ance, they are very difficult for, uh, normal A people who are normally running housing associations in, in, in Finland. And so, uh, at that point, we, uh, did a marketing campaign. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:20:07 We said that, okay, do the biggest climate action of the year. Now we need your help and you need to act. And to act. We ask them to do, to ask what's, to go to the housing association meeting and propose that we should study, you know, if there is a, you know, a room for energy renovation in, in, in our housing association. And then, you know, we were, as a city, we were able to send the engineers to help the, the, uh, the, the housing associations. And for example, you know, by doing this, you could reduce, uh, 60 or 70% of the energy consumption of the whole housing association instead of focusing on your own single apartment in the house. And the effect is like, you know, it's 100 time, time speaker. So I think that, you know, it's, it's a little bit, you know, as an old N g O person and, you know, have been working, working also on that side, you know, it's, uh, wizard look on the mirror also, because, you know, we are as, as a NGO workers, we are promoting very much on those small individual things. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:21:12 And we are not telling people that what they really sick do, you know, of course everybody is speaking about the voting, but you know, outside of that, you know, we, we just, you know, we're speaking about the plastic bags and, and solders sours, and we, we don't give, uh, people, uh, the right, uh, tools to act because at least I think that there are many people who really want to do more. Yeah. Yeah. But, but they, they just, you know, there is not that kind of, you know, knowledge, you know, what what they can do. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:21:42 Yeah, absolutely. Um, so Kaiser-Reeta, you're the, you're the numbers person, <laugh>, uh, Susa. What, what, what do you like to focus on <laugh>? Susa Eräranta 00:21:52 I think currently I'm focusing very much on this, um, future study methods, maybe because, um, the carbon neutrality target that we have now been mostly talking about is not the only target that Helsinki has set. It's the first and maybe the easiest target on a way, um, to, to mitigation. But, uh, actually after, uh, carbon neutrality, we have also set a target for carbon zero and even carbon negativity. And if we consider the carbon negativity target, which is more about these rich narrative cities, maybe, uh, so it's, um, going to be a very different kind of a future. And now that we have been trying to concretize what it would actually mean, uh, we have had some issues because it seems that the, uh, in a way, the willingness to imagine these kind of different futures, um, is quite limited. Uh, and, uh, we should need some new methods maybe to somehow encourage this imagination of thinking about good life in a carbon negative city. Because now we are mainly focusing on issues which we need to give up on to reduce the emissions. But we actually believe that, um, the carbon negative CT could also bring many new good theaters we did. And we will somehow like to, um, encourage this imaginary journey towards the carbon negative city also for the others. But it hasn't been too easy yet. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:23:20 <laugh>. Yeah. It's like people are like, okay, one step at a time, <laugh>, that's good to cover neutrality first, and then we can go into, but I, I love that you're thinking that step ahead. Can you, can you show us a little bit, what does that look like for you? What are some of those, uh, like of course it doesn't have to be based on, um, science. I'm just asking for a little bit of your imagination. Like what, what do you, what do you believe that that would look like? What would be the benefits there? Susa Eräranta 00:23:46 Yeah. Well, we think that, uh, in a carbon negative city, for example, this active mobility that Zaretta was already before referring to, I should play a more bigger role than now, for example. And maybe also the services should be more local, that you would find some of the basic services already in your neighborhood and wouldn't need to travel around the region to find those basic services. And I would also say that it would mean, uh, that we also adapt to the climate change because changes are going to happen even if we would be carbon negative today. So maybe also having more unpaved, crown, crown in the city, for example, and maybe even more greenery mm-hmm. <affirmative> and also, uh, aspects of this more, uh, passive resilience in a way. So that, um, yeah. Many kind of things which would I think would also, um, improve the individual level health and also the planetary wellbeing as well. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:24:47 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. What do you think is like the biggest lesson that you want your students when you're teaching them to take away with them I, about these topics? Susa Eräranta 00:24:59 Yeah. Uh, I think that the one, one main lesson that I'm trying to give them is that, um, there are no right or wrong answers at this point, but the main issue that they should learn there and that we should also learn in practice is critical thinking of actually thinking about, um, artists actions that we are doing actually taking us towards these targets. Because usually we utilize many of these planetary targets, whether they are about climate or biodiversity or anything else, we are just utilizing them mostly for branding, I would say, in many cities. And still the concretization of those and actually reaching the targets, it's still like long way ahead. So also, um, encouraging them to, to think critically about the, uh, existing practices and methods and tools that are utilized of, uh, what are the, what is the data actually telling us, and where are the tools actually leading us to, because they might already have these, some of, uh, built in theaters that are taking us to a very different future than the aims that we have actually set. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:26:08 Yeah, absolutely. There's also this greenwashing that happens within cities too, right? We usually think of this, that companies are doing this, but actually cities, cities do this too. So, um, Kaisa Reeta, I love your stories about what's happening in Helsinki about some of these measures. What do you, do you have any other use cases or best practices to share with the listeners on what Helsinki is doing that are the most effective measures? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:26:30 Yeah, I think that, you know, we are, uh, forerunner on the, on the building construction mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, um, since day one, you know, we started think about also, you know, the scale as SOA said, you know, we have to think about, you know, how far we are able to, uh, get with these, uh, accents. And then we decided that, you know, we don't have time for piloting anymore, so we have to, uh, you know, go all in. And we have, for example, a set, uh, requirement for the energy efficiency of the building. It's not only for the building city owns, but, but to, uh, city planning regulation. We have set, uh, energy efficiency requirements for all the building which are going to build to, to the city. And actually yesterday evening, so it's, uh, it's, uh, straight from the press. So, uh, city council decided, and in future we are going to start require a certain carbon footprint for the, for the buildings. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:27:29 And, and that's other, you know, because it's, it's every single building which is going to be built. So those are the effective ways, and they are also, this is like a hint for the other cities. They are very cheap, you know, because it's just, you know, uh, changing the regulation mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's, it's, it does not cost anything for us. It's just the two. We say that, you know, if you want to have a, a plot, if you want to build something here, you have to fulfill this requirements. We are, we are using a low concrete, uh, infrastructure, um, a low carbon infrastructure concrete. Uh, we are investing a lot on the, on the biking infrastructure because we think that the, the infra, infra and infra are the three important things, you know, to increase, uh, biking share. We are building a lot, uh, public, uh, rail, uh, transport at the moment. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:28:18 Um, what else? We have this team of wonderful engineers helping the private households to do their part. Uh, what else am I missing? Something we have, yeah. And chair all my, you know, my love <laugh>. We have been working, we have done a lot on, on the geothermal to trying to make it easier. So for example, uh, one year ago we decided that, you know, if, if you are not able to get enough energy on your own from your own plot, you are able to put, um, your energy wells on the, on the city, city land. So if there is a road or a park nearby, so you can use the, the city property to, to get enough, uh, geothermal, we are reducing the, the permit, uh, pills and, and, and things like that. Souse, can you, did I forget something? Susa Eräranta 00:29:07 No, I think those are the main, the concrete actions, but I also think that what we need, uh, in many cities is this change in the way of thinking about, thinking about this scale. I really much like, uh, whether it was <inaudible> or somebody else who utilized this metaphor, that if, uh, we should get to the moon tomorrow, it's not enough if we get to the neighboring kind of locations in a way that we should actually think about what are the actions that are going to take us, uh, far enough, uh, with the target that we have set in a way. So I think this is something, this calculation and also understanding of scales and understanding of the numbers and measures and so on. That's in a way the, the main issue with, with these mitigation targets in the near future, because all of the cities have scars, resources, all of the cities have limited time. So in a way, there is not no time or resources also to, based on these actions which are not actually leading us closer to those targets. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:30:12 I, I always like to say that it's not about not having time, and I think it's the same about resources, it's just about prioritization. And I think that's really what what you are doing is prioritizing what really matters. Right, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:30:23 E Exactly. Yeah. You know, we are cons concentrating on what we must Yes and should do instead of house, you know, what we could do. Yeah. And I think that there is a big difference between these two. Yeah. But it's, I understand it's, it's very easy to focus on those easy, nice, happy, shiny accents because no one is, is opposing them. And, you know, they are very easy to implement and, and to get approved. But you know, when you are really having this kind of big things, you know, there is always somebody, you know, opposing, and it's, it's always like a big fight. So it, it, it requires a little bit samina mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, to, you have to be a person that nobody can say no Tamlyn Shimizu 00:31:06 <laugh>. You're, you're one of those people, huh? I'm, yes, I can tell. I can tell. I can tell. She just looking like, mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. <laugh>. Uh, yes. Uh, love it. Um, so actually Reta, you, you actually told me before this that you're gonna be part of, um, Urban Future fuckup night. I will. And I'm super excited. Yes. I'm excited to hear you too. I'm very excited. Um, and I actually wanted to ask you, um, about, you know, I don't know if you want to call it a mistake, we like to call it the biggest lesson learned. Um, but I know that also in Helsinki, you want to fail fast and, and that's your, your, your motto. Um, so, so can you tell me about some of those times where you've failed fast? Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:31:51 Um, I think that it, it was actually Susa who, who did this. And this is like, you know, the, I'm a very good loser, so I'm, you know, queen of embarrassment, you know, I do stupid things every day and, you know, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:32:06 But, but you know, to moment I really felt shame. I was really feeling bad, you know, it was when Susa did that kind of analyzing of, uh, to accents we had on the first program. And I knew that, you know, they were not the best actions and they were, they were quite weak. But Susa did that kind of, uh, ed, uh, uh, made the method to evaluate the actions. And, uh, only five actions out of 147 was Axon, which was really reducing emissions. And so at that point, I was like, you know, I was almost losing my good spirit. And that does not happen very often, but, but it was really that kind of, you know, I felt the same. And, and that was, you know, you know, immediately when I saw that the first idea, you know, I had was that, you know, let's, let's do not show these numbers to anybody <laugh>. Yeah. But, but the second audio is that, you know, we should use this method, you know, in future we, and at the moment we are using, we are, every action we put in our program, you know, we are, we are, you know, putting on the, on the table and, and the categories. And we are seeing that, you know, if it's really that kind of effective or not. Susa Eräranta 00:33:17 Yeah. And actually we have, uh, compiled this guidebook about all of the mistakes or the lessons learned and what we learned about those. So it's also available online. So if anybody wants to check, there are all of the lessons learned. Okay. With some explanation of how we think we might do it better, uh, in some other way. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:33:39 Oh, good. Yeah, we'll try to link to that in the show notes too, for people to, to check out. Uh, thank you so much for sharing that as well. I know the first reaction, of course, we're all human, right, is to say, oh, the push us in a closet. No one, no one has to see this. This is shameful. Um, but it, it really is this different way of thinking that you're putting out on the table. So I really appreciate that. Um, that's wonderful. So Susa, did you have something to add? No. Okay. <laugh> good. Um, I always like to give you all also the option of an open floor. Now, I know we've talked a lot about, uh, different actions that you're doing, um, some about the numbers and effectiveness, but is there anything else that we miss that you really want people to know today? Susa Eräranta 00:34:20 Well, I can start, uh, maybe with the more long-term calls, but simultaneously that we are thinking about this carbon neutrality and so on. We should make sure that we don't make any lock-ins for, in a way, locking the emissions to a specific level, for example. But we should keep in mind that it's not enough to get the emissions to zero, for example. But we should get those below zero in a way to also decrease the carbon from the atmosphere. So in a way also to leave the room open for, uh, the reason or the futures, and also start to think about those futures because they are not, maybe Devi gates away, they are quite nearby. Uh, and now we don't have very much, uh, concrete ideas of, um, how those might be actually, um, made. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:35:11 Yeah. And, and I would like to challenge all the other cities, uh, to do this kind of, you know, critical evaluation of the world, their work, because, you know, when we did it, it was a painful, it was not the, you know, walk in the park. It was shameful, you know, at, at, at certain points. But it was really, really helpful. And I think that, you know, next time we are going to fail better at least. But it's, it's, uh, because in, in this climates bubble, and I count myself in, we have that kind of, you know, darlings, we really suit kill, or at least we should, you know, really, uh, you know, evaluate if, if they are valued, you know, claims anymore. Like, you know, the, every, every accent is important and every accent counts or that, you know, everybody has to participate to creating this kind of plans. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:36:02 And, you know, we really should, you know, we have done, we have used those kind of, you know, um, beliefs like at 20 years or at least 10 years. But, you know, we are not getting very far. So I think that we really should evaluate and, and see it and be that kind of honest and, you know, true to ourselves at least that is this really the way we should go for art? And that's the challenge I really would like to, to, to, to draw to the other cities that, you know, and, and we are failing and we are telling everybody, you know, I'm going to, you know, embarrass myself tomorrow evening on the city, fuck up night, and tell everything we have done wrong. And so it's, it's, it's, that's the way how we are able to learn. And I think that, you know, everybody should change the, to, to join this, uh, this, uh, failing fast, uh, team and to share their learnings because, because it, it does not make sense that, that everybody is, is making the same mistakes and, and inventing the wheel on their own. So I think that, you know, not only, you know, telling what, what was the success, but also, you know, telling, telling it that what does not work, that do not try this, it does not work. We already did it. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:11 Yeah, absolutely. Love that. Um, so now that's the, you're, you're done with the main interview part. Now we just get to play a little game, <laugh>. And, uh, so this is one of my favorite segments that we do. It's called Roll With the Punches, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:27 Roll with the punches, answer this or that questions quickly and with your first instincts. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:37:37 Um, so there are some silly ones, some more serious, but basically they're meant to, um, get a conversation going about some of these. Um, so Susa, you will answer first and Reta you'll answer directly after her. Um, and we'll go through them quickly. And then at the end, if you want to explain any of your answers, you can. Okay. Are you ready? Yeah. <laugh> ready as you you'll ever be. Right. Um, all right. Shared vehicles or electric vehicles. Susa Eräranta 00:38:02 Shared vehicles. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:05 Same. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:06 Spring or autumn in Helsinki. Susa Eräranta 00:38:07 Spring. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:09 Same <laugh>. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:10 No, you have to disagree. Effectiveness or data? Susa Eräranta 00:38:013 Effectiveness. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:16 Uh, this is a difficult one. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:18 Uh, effectiveness, but data is also important. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:21 <laugh>, behavioral change or techno, technological innovation? Susa Eräranta 00:38:024 Behavioral change, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:27 Technological innovations, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:31 <laugh> energy renovations or public transport planning. Susa Eräranta 00:38:36 That's hard. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:38 <laugh> Susa Eräranta 00:38:38 Both. Energy renovation, maybe Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:41 You, you can't pick both. Susa Eräranta 00:38:45 I can't pick, pick both. <laugh>, you should pick the other ones. So we can have both Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:47 <laugh>, Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:38:49 But Yeah, I, I have to say energy renovations Tamlyn Shimizu 00:38:52 Also, but initiatives or collaborating with international organizations. <laugh>, <laugh>. Cause the podcast listeners can't see your face. I think we have to. She is in like a, a turmoil inside on this one. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:39:07 Neither <laugh>. Yeah, Susa Eräranta 00:39:19 I would ask why, but, Uh, if either then maybe the international, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:24 International organizations. Susa Eräranta 00:39:26 I would go on the, on the local Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:28 Local wind power or solar power? Susa Eräranta 00:39:32 Wind. Power Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:39:33 Wind. Definitely. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:35 Podcasts or audio books, Susa Eräranta 00:39:38 Podcasts, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:39 <laugh> audio books. <laugh>. No, no. You, you, you have to leave now. <laugh> Kidding. Wrong. Wrong. There are some wrong answers. Climate education in schools or public awareness campaigns. <laugh> Susa Eräranta 00:39:55 Climate Education in schools. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:39:57 Same. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:39:58 Okay. Yay. Good job. Good job. Um, there was a, there was a few tricky ones in there. Yeah. Um, do you wanna talk about them and explain any of your answers? Um, we had the effectiveness or data that puts you in turmoil. Um, Reta. <laugh>. Yeah. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:40:15 It's, it's because I, I think that we need both, we need a data to, to make that kind of, you know, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:40:22 Data comes first and then you choose what's effective. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:40:24 Yeah. But, but it's in, in many cases we think that we need a lot of data. Yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, you know, in, in our first program we had 280 different indicators, and most of them we could not, you know, update because we didn't have data and, and that, that those were not needed. You know, if you have, you know, one call to be carbon neutral and reduce the emissions, you know, then you probably need couple of, you know, indicators to see if you, if you are going on the, on the right direction. But I think that we need, uh, you know, certain amount of data to be effective, but, but not, you know, too much. Yeah. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:01 Makes sense. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:41:01 Because it is, we can ease very easily, waste a lot of time just to collect data and it's, it's away from the other things we, we can do. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:09 Yeah. Susa Eräranta 00:41:09 Yeah. I agree. We are currently very much focusing on producing data on anything that comes to mind and also developing methods for analyzing that data. But, uh, I think that what we lack most is not the data, but actually the, the willingness and the attitude to change the things towards the more effective actions. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:41:29 Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Um, you also disagreed on behavioral change and technological innovation. Do you want to explain your different viewpoints? It's probably similar, but Susa Eräranta 00:41:41 Yeah, I think, yeah, I think my main focus was that, uh, we could actually solve these issues already now without having more innovations. It comes back to this willingness and this attitude. So in a way it's about the behavioral change of also all of us, uh, to make these things happen and not esteem that we need many more innovations so that any of these could be possible. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:42:06 Yeah. And I, I agree with that. So maybe it's a technology without innovation, because I think that we don't really need, uh, new innovations at this point. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we, we have a technology, we, we need, we have most of the technology. Yeah. We have, we have mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but, and I, I think that probably a little bit lose my belief in human beings and then how they are able to change their behavior. So, uh, and you know, I don't, I don't, I don't, I don't want to count on that. Yeah. Yeah. Because I, I really think that we have to b find other ways to, to, to solve this problem cuz we are running out of time, you know? Yes. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:42:43 Time is ta Yeah. Um, good. I, I will leave it at that. I think the other ones are pretty clear. Um, unless you have something else to argue about, um, any contradictory points. Okay. <laugh>, then we just have one last question, and it's a question that I ask every single guest. Um, and it's, to you, what is a smart city? Whoever wants to go first Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:43:08 For me, uh, smart cities, um, city with which, uh, functions well, so I, I don't, I don't, you know, many people think that the smart is something, uh, about the digitalization or, you know, things like that. But for me it's, it's not, not like that. It's, you know, a city which operates and functions well. Yeah. You know, even if the solutions are stupid or smart, but, you know, it works well, you know, it's fine for me. Yeah, Tamlyn Shimizu 00:43:34 Absolutely. <inaudible>. Susa Eräranta 00:43:36 Yeah, I think a smart city is a one which, uh, respects life in all of its all, uh, all forms. So in a way, the one that balances the, the planetary livability with the human livability and doesn't su uh, prioritize the human livability over everything else. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:43:55 Yeah, absolutely. Very good. So with that, we made it through it's very hot <laugh>, so we, we did really well considering the heat. So huge. Thank you also to, um, urban Future Conference, um, in facilitating all these great episodes and all the learnings and interactions. And thank you really to both of you today for coming and speaking to me. I think you had really amazing insights to share with so many other cities. Um, so hopefully we can keep, uh, failing faster together. Um, so thank you so much. Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen 00:44:28 Thanks for having us. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:44:30 Thank you. And to all of our listeners, don't forget, you can always create a free account on Babel Smart cities.eu. Thank you very much. Tamlyn Shimizu 00:44:39 Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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