My neighbourhood

Ecological Suurpelto is a communal residential area

During the last decade, the rural environment has turned into a cozy and urban residential area. Espoo’s Suurpelto is continuously developing, and thousands of residents have moved in to the area.

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Here, you have everything: lovely homes, nature and services nearby, functional transport links, a modern waste collecting system and the power of community. Suurpelto fulfils all expectations and requirements for living.

“I retired three years ago and wanted a change of scenery. I moved 2.5 kilometres to the northeast, but I managed to change the scenery. In Suurpelto, you have everything you need,” says the Chairperson of the Suurpelto Association Kirsti Strömmer.

The Secretary of the association Anita Järvisalo took part in the founding of the resident association when she moved to the area in 2012. In the early years, she acted as the Chairperson of the association.

“Taking part in the association activities is natural to me. The association unites the residents. Through cooperation, the residents become almost like family.”

There are about a hundred members in the association, with plenty of space for more members. The association has a close relationship with the City of Espoo and numerous other associations, enabling all sorts of activities.

According to Kirsti Strömmer and Anita Järvisalo, the transport connections in Suurpelto are excellent.

Broad range of services

Strömmer is happy about the fact that new ideas can also be implemented in the area. Suurpelto has been designed as an urban and garden-like residential area that is continuously under further development.

“In the future, there will be even more residents as more buildings are constructed. In addition to families with children, retired people also want to live in an urban neighbourhood with a broad range of services nearby.”

There are different types of residential buildings: high apartment buildings, low-rise apartment buildings, terraced houses and detached houses. Glazed balconies add to the everyday comfort of living. The first concentrated waste collection system takes the bio and mixed waste as well as waste paper directly to the landfill through a pipe, decreasing the number of refuse collection vehicles in the area.

“A few years ago, we got a commercial centre with a grocery store, post office, restaurants as well as sports centres for children and adults. There is an international school, day care centre and self-service library in Opinmäki. There, you can also rent spaces,” Strömmer explains.

According to Järvisalo, the transport connections in Suurpelto are excellent.

“The bus takes you to Matinkylä, Tapiola, Leppävaara, Espoon keskus and the metro. Ring II goes right next to the area. Suurpelto also belongs to the city bike network.”

According to Strömmer, the area depends on public transport.

“It is also possible to hire tools: you can hire a power drill or a furniture washer through an online application and pick up the tool from the collection point container. It is possible to use a sewing machine in the library.

Nature all around

Suurpelto is located right next to the Espoo Central Park.

“Having the central park right around the corner means that even residents in poorer health have the opportunity to get out and enjoy the forest. Through the park, you can get all the way to Nuuksio,” Strömmer explains.

According to Järvisalo, it is possible to go skiing almost directly from one’s doorstep and there are things to do in the summer as well.

“We have received a patch of land from the city along with planting boxes. The association members have grown flowers and other plants, such as strawberries, highbush blueberries and new potatoes.”

There are several parks in the area. Instead of padlocks, fruit trees are the symbols of the Garden of Love and the residents of Suurpelto and other operators have planted hundreds of them. In the Lillhemt park, people can grill, play volleyball or spend a summer day by lying in a sunlounger or having a picnic. There are numerous activities for children in the Angry Birds park and other local playgrounds.

“The new Lukutori park and square were constructed in an emission-free manner,” Strömmer says.

The square was named after the Lukupuro stream that flows through Suurpelto. Järvisalo explains that the stream is being reconditioned by the residents.

“The stream dredging work parties are a large but fun project. Common reed and bulrush have been weeded out from the bed of the brook. We also organise work parties for litter picking twice a year.”

Numerous different bird species are living in the canebrake and other parts of Suurpelto. Bird enthusiasts can watch the birds through their binoculars and a photo exhibition is compiled of the photographs. Foxes and deer also live in the area.

Pegasos figure at Lukutori in Suurpelto.

Roots in the new ground

The Suurpelto association is the heart of local communality. The association organises various activities every month. At the beginning of the year, the activities include sports weeks for adults, snowshoeing and a traditional winter event for children. The Blooming Suurpelto is also a traditional event in May with various activities for the entire family. Singalongs have been organised in the nursing home.

“The objective is to get people to meet each other, spend time and do activities together as well as to grow their roots,” Strömmer explains.

Last December, Suurpelto’s own elf Anna B, who had woken up from a 300-year nap, appeared in the Suurpelto Christmas calendar. Järvisalo had learned about the history of Anna Bildsten, a local farmer’s wife that lived in the area in the 18th century.

“Anita was the narrator of Anna B’s adventures and told stories about the local area. Telling local stories brings a sense of meaning.”

In Suurpelto it is possible to use a sewing machine in the library.

Something for everyone

In addition to a Finnish primary school and three day care centres, there is also an international school in the area. Therefore, about one third of Suurpelto’s residents speak something other than Finnish as their native language. Resident nights are organised twice a year in Finnish, but according to Strömmer, there are plans for an event organised in two languages.

“One family is teaching Finnish to Indian people over Teams. Through interaction, we learn to understand each other better and can share information.”

Additionally, there are five thematic teams operating within the association: a sports team, an events team, a communications team, a landscape team as well as an influencing team. For example, the landscaping team has set up a mound of flowers in the area that was filled with daffodils last year.

“In addition to the association, the school and the day care centres participated in the painting of an ugly plywood fence. The local operators sponsored it, providing the equipment,” Järvisalo says.

Today, there are over 4,000 residents living in Suurpelto. With the current pace of growth, some 400–500 new residents will move into the area every year. The new residents will have a large selection of activities to choose from.

29.1.2021 (Modified 29.7.2021)

Text Tarja Västilä

Images Anni Koponen

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