Turku

Turku is the oldest city in Finland. The former capital of the country was founded in 1229. It is located in southwestern Finland, by the river Aura on the shores of the Baltic Sea. There are around 194,000 residents in Turku. The versatile life, top-class selection of education, culture, and wellbeing services, as well as the beautiful archipelago, form a magnetic combination in Turku. 

Turku is the oldest city in Finland. The former capital of the country was founded in 1229. It is located in southwestern Finland, by the river Aura on the shores of the Baltic Sea. There are around 194,000 residents in Turku. The versatile life, top-class selection of education, culture, and wellbeing services, as well as the beautiful archipelago, form a magnetic combination in Turku. 

Challenge for the pilot

Turku offers great services to support wellbeing. Still, residents don’t always find them or know how to take part in decision-making. The focus of the Turku pilot is communication. The aim is to find ways to communicate about health and wellbeing services, and that way help city residents make choices that benefit their wellbeing and participate in decision making. To reach a sustainable result, Turku has approached these challenges from different angles. Turku targeted residents directly and worked with city employees and NGOs providing services for them.

How the model for cross-sectoral cooperation benefitted the pilot?

The Turku pilot has applied the model to many different situations. For example, it has been utilized in co-creation workshops and when creating a digital experience application for city employees. The model has benefited us by providing new sorts of structures and ideas for cross-sectoral cooperation. It has acted particularly well as an initiator of discussions, as the questions highlighting issues that are often overlooked or assumed.

How did the pilot benefit the life of the residents?

When people have a better understanding of the services and participation opportunities, they can nourish their well-being better and find opportunities to participate in decision-making. 

In the Turku pilot we have also aimed this on three different levels, which are:

  1. Making decision-making more achievable and visible by boosting communication skills and cross-sectoral cooperation of the employees working with health and wellbeing and/or people from marginalized districts
  2. Communication and marketing of the well-being services and encouraging residents to participate 
  3. Teaming up with other organizations and projects to beat loneliness and exclusion by activating communication and social marketing experiments to reach people from marginalized districts and a wider audience 

How was extended reality (XR) used in pilot?

In the Turku pilot, we have created a digital experience on cross-sectoral cooperation and participation for Turku city employees. The game aims to encourage city employees to improve cross-sectoral cooperation, pay attention to communication and involve city residents in decision-making. The game is based on the model of cross-sectoral cooperation created in the Healthy Boost project. 

What was the value of having transnational peers in Healthy Boost project?

Every country and city experience similar problems, so it has been fascinating and beneficial to share good practices and exchange ideas. With peer cities, we have discussed project progress, what kind of issues have been encountered and how they have been overcome. It's good to know that you are not alone, and you can always have a conversation with persons in a similar situation.