Vantaa's government programme objectives aim towards sustainable, international and comfortable cities
Thousands of training places will be needed in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in the coming years for early childhood education and social and health work, and future employment services must be made more supportive. The state must ensure the operation conditions for air transport, not only for employment but also for security of supply. To ensure success, the next government must strengthen the prerequisites for managing sustainable growth.
The big issues of the future will be solved in big cities like Vantaa. The tasks and funding criteria of municipalities must in future be differentiated according to population, says Vantaa in its government programme objectives.
“The municipalities in Finland are very different, and time has passed since the model of unitarian tasks of municipalities. At this stage, cooperation between the state and large cities must be intensified through a contractual partnership model, and the special status of the metropolitan area must be taken into account in the government programme,” says Mayor Ritva Viljanen.
Municipal funding must be secured in the face of changes in the coming years, such as the launch of welbeing services counties next year and the transfer of employment and economic services to municipalities at the beginning of 2025.
“We want to build thriving, vibrant cities, and growth requires an adequate funding base, even as the role of municipalities changes. Municipalities must also be able to organise their labour market services effectively and, above all, in an encouraging way,” Viljanen says.
The central government transfers system must be reformed to take better account of the real costs of population growth and foreign-language speakers than is currently the case. 23 per cent of Vantaa residents speak a language other than Swedish, Swedish or Sámi as their native language, compared to 8.3 per cent nationwide (Statistics Finland 2021)
Education and employment to secure a better future for us all
Children need safe environments, and early childhood education and care needs trained professionals. A sufficient number of student places and work-based immigration ensure a skilled workforce and, for young people, a study place is a safeguard for the future. With well-functioning employment and economic development (TE) services and adequate provision of student places, we can secure work, competence and wellbeing.
“We need more than 5,000 new early childhood education professionals in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area by 2030, and there is a shortage of education and social work professionals. However, training places for these fields are located elsewhere in Finland. Long-term unemployment has remained higher since the coronavirus pandemic, so improving opportunities for continuous learning is also very important for Vantaa. We need more educational opportunities in our home town, close to the workplace,” says Viljanen.
The state and municipalities must jointly review the staffing structure of the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care. The number of training places in the sector must be increased by a factor of 1.5. Education and employment should be used to improve equality in areas with a risk of increasing inequality. Reducing segregation, that is inequality, is also one of Vantaa's strategic objectives.
Vantaa must unable to continue investing in growth
Vantaa's population growth slowed during the years of the pandemic, but the population is still growing at a rate of thousands of inhabitants per year. According to preliminary data from Statistics Finland, Vantaa's population was 241,800 in September 2022. The concentration of population in cities requires cities to invest in growth. Vantaa is still growing fast.
Sufficient housing must be produced to meet the needs of the growing population. MAL agreements on land use, housing and transport between the state and urban regions are a good way to promote urban development in a holistic way.
“Vantaa is preparing for the construction of its Light Rail line, and it is important that the state ensures its financing. Sustainable transport is built on public transport, and good public transport also ensures labour mobility. The years of the pandemic reinforced segregation, and the construction of Vantaa Light Rail will reduce that, especially in East Vantaa. Along the Light Rail line, there could be housing for up to 60,000 people and it could also offer huge opportunities for new business,” says Viljanen.
Vantaa Light Rail will require major investments in the near future. During the pandemic, passenger numbers on public transport collapsed, and the state’s relative share in the financing of transport investments in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area should now be restored to the average level of the 2000s.
“In the coming years, we will make a lot of investments in the future, because Vantaa can afford to grow. We want to grow into a sustainable, comfortable city,” Viljanen says.
Air transport ensures Finland's accessibility and international connections
The air transport situation has been hampered, not only by the prolonged reduction in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but also by the Russian ban on overflights. The state should now take care of the operating conditions for air transport and ensure the transition towards low-emission aviation.
“This is important not only for Vantaa, but for the whole of Finland. The airport is vital for the whole country in terms of accessibility and security of supply, and as many as 140,000 Finnish jobs are linked to the airport,” Viljanen says.