Atte Harjanne 630 – Towards smarter Helsinki! 

Helsinki is growing big time. This means we need more apartments, more rail traffic and a lot of collaboration – and smart politicians to make sure this gets done. I’m up to the task – and I hope you think so too.

I’m Atte Harjanne, a 32 year old researcher living in Kallio. I’m running for Helsinki city council in the upcoming municipal elections from the ranks of the Green party.

In politics I have two overarching goals. First, I want to bring more scientific and expert knowledge to politics and decision-making. In the face of the social, economic and environmental challenges of today we need to base our policies on knowledge, not images. Second, I want to build bridges and create shared understanding across different perspectives. Too much of current politics is about playing zero-sum games and collecting points instead of actually making the world a better place.

As for Helsinki, my views are clear:

  • I welcome the rapid growth of the city. Helsinki is a great place and has the potential to be even more: the best city in the world to live and an economic and cultural hub with global impact. All we need to do is to build more housing and light rails, and fast.
  • Citizens, businesses and NGOs make Helsinki the place it is. The role of the city officials is to enable as much interesting and fun culture in Helsinki as possible. This means radical open data policies, sharing public spaces, relaxing norms and funding local grassroot level volunteer work.
  • The time to improve transparency and clarity of governance is now. Helsinki is going through a governance reform this year, as the new mayor takes office after the elections. In the current systems the lines between politicians and officials have been blurred and the complex organization of the city bureaus has caused inefficiencies. The new governance model is good on paper, but changing the culture and making sure the reform reaches its potential requires active work in the council as well.

Feel free to contact me for more information on these themes or my views on other issues! You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Municipal elections are held on April 9, with advance voting taking place between March 29 and April 4. In Helsinki the voters will decide the composition of the 85 seat city council. In addition the winning party gets the seat of the new mayor.  Municipalities have quite a broad autonomy in Finland with a lot of power to control land-use planning, health and social care services and education.

Foreign citizens living in Finland are eligible to vote if they have lived in the country for a sufficient period of time. For more information about the eligibility, check vaalit.fi.