The aim is to preserve lasting urban values: that which remains despite change.
In Helsinki most buildings are preserved by the local detailed plan. In special cases a building can be protected by national building protection legislation, which falls into two categories, the Protection of Buildings Act and the Buildings Protection Decree. At the amount 4000 buildings and cultural historic areas are preserved (2003) in the town plan including historic parks, villa areas and other heritage areas of value .
The building stock of Helsinki is relatively young. Only 559 buildings exist that have been built before 1900. The number of buildings that remain and were built before 1850 is 83. More than half, 51% of building stock is built after 1970's, together 19014 buildings.
In Helsinki we have altogether 42 244 buildings; of them
559 have been built before 1900
83 have been built before 1850
between 1900-1940 were built 5,894 buildings (12%)
between 1940-1970 were built 13,120 buildings (31%)
after 1970 were built 23,230 buildings (51 %)
This means, most of the buildings in Helsinki were built relatively recently.
The share of the historical building stock is very narrow or small. Most of the buildings and areas that were preserved until now in the town plans were built before 1940; in other words most of the buildings that are preserved now, belong to the historical building stock. Now we preserve also buildings and areas that belong to he modern period. In the Master Plan 2002 we have already designated some areas that were built in the 1970s as cultural historically valuable areas. Also some buildings from the 1970s are already preserved in the town plan such as the FINLANDIA house (Alvar Aalto). I have been working in a project, where we documented PIHLAJAMKI housing area from the 1960s and developed documentation methods and preservation and protection measures for this area. Pihlajamai was listed by DOCOMOMO-organization together with Olympic Village, Maunula and Taka-Txl・as areas that are also of great international value. There will be three inventory reports alone concerning the values and evaluation of this area; there are many complicated methodological and philosophical issues related to the preservation of this kind of area.
The 2002 Master Plan lists more than 200 areas are listed in the master plan: they must be developed so that their heritage values are preserved. Not only the whole city centre (the old city) but large suburban areas are designated as such areas. Nowadays also buildings of the Modern Movement are listed in growing numbers. The listing and protection methodology of the buildings of Modern Movement is under process. The protection brings many special issues that are different from the preservation of older buildings .and areas. The aim is to keep these areas as living housing areas and guide the process of change so that vital cultural values can be preserved. One such pioneer project in Helsinki has been the protection and preservation of Pihlajamaki, a housing area from the 1960's. Pihlajamaki is one of the three housing areas listed by DoCoMoMo in Helsinki. The urban form of Helsinki tempered by layers of history is seen as a cultural value.
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