Helsinki has practised social mixing in its housing policy for decades. By mixing different types of tenures we create balanced neighbourhoods for people with different preferences and backgrounds.

Social housing is an important part of this mix. The Finnish ethos for equality is manifested in Helsinki’s housing policy: the “Helsinki Mix” is applied in the new coastal neighbourhoods as well as infill building in older areas. A mixing policy enhances the experienced safety in the neighbourhoods and offers options in the resident’s own familiar neighbourhood when housing needs change.

At the moment, Helsinki’s housing production numbers are historically high: in 2020, almost 7 280 dwellings were built. In the current Programme on Housing and Related Land Use, the City strives for a mix of 25 % state subsidized rental housing, 30 % intermediate tenures and 45 % unregulated owner-occupied and rental housing.

The prerequisite for strong housing policy is the City’s notable land ownership, which is two thirds of the land within the city area. The City also owns 63 500 dwellings, which are mostly state subsidized rental dwellings but also right-of-occupancy dwellings and unregulated rental dwellings. An important tool for delivering high-quality social and affordable housing is a City-owned housing developer.

In practice, social mixing is planned on the block level, as it has been done in the new residential areas of Jätkäsaari and Kalasatama. Often the courtyards are allocated for common use, which enables more social interaction within neighbourhoods.

In infill planning the current housing stock is carefully analysed and the aim is to balance tenure distribution. This tenure balancing is an important part of suburban regeneration, a long-term and comprehensive project for developing older suburban areas.

Helsinki welcomes you to visit our attractive neighbourhoods, where social housing plays an important role!

Picture: Riku Pihlanto / City of Helsinki