Primarily built in the 1960s and 1970s, Kontula is a vibrant, green area of Helsinki with a uniquely layered structure.
“In Kontula, you can see the history of the area. The housing stock fluctuates from apartment buildings to one-family houses, and there are even WWI-era trenches,” says Marikka Sand.
The recent development in the area has been carried out with respect towards the existing buildings. Sand has lived in the area for 11 years, even chairing the Kontula society.
“The area is large enough to offer any service you might need. Everyone is anxious to learn the fate of the shopping centre; residents hope that even a part of it will be spared. It looks and feels almost like Berlin,” says Sand who was born in Germany.
Kontula is also a lusciously green area with its urban parks. One of Sand’s favourite places is the Kelkkapuisto park, also known as Kessa, where people like to sunbathe, picnic, exercise and skateboard. The park is the location of the popular Kontu festival.
“Kessa is our version of Kaivopuisto,” says Sand.
The recently renovated playground Lampi reflects the area’s popularity among families. The distances are short and safe, and children can go to school on foot or by bicycle. The area is also quite international; the pupils in the local schools come from dozens of different linguistic backgrounds.
“I can warmly recommend Kontula to anyone, from families to students and singles, as the metro offers great traffic connections. For the more elderly residents, Kontula is like a village community.
According to Sand, the local day care centre and the residential care home next to it maintain contact between generations naturally through mutual celebrations, for example.