The colourful Cafe Outrun is located in the middle of grey concrete environment, on the East Pasila pedestrian deck. The retro futuristic pastry café in bright neon colours opened its doors in 2021.
This is where we meet Mikael Bertus, 35, who has been living in his rental apartment in East Pasila for three and half years.
“East Pasila is a surprisingly comfortable area,” say Mikael while enjoying his coffee.
He is accompanied by his girlfriend’s dog, 18-month-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever Mona, who greets us enthusiastically.
“My home is located near the dog park. Dog owners can easily find like-minded company and community spirit in East Pasila.”
You can admire the green views over the park through your window
Mikael used to live in Kallio.
“I got tired of Kallio, since there was no nature in the area. Good jogging routes were also lacking.”
By coincidence, Mikael’s sister was leaving her rental apartment in East Pasila, and Mikael was able to move into her old apartment.
“Now, I can admire the green views over the park through my window."
“Now, I can admire the green views over the park through my window. There are also enough services within a short distance. East Pasila is not yet suffering from the Kallio phenomenon, in other words, prices have not increased as much, although this area is also clearly becoming trendy.”
Mikael used to be especially fond of the peacefulness of East Pasila. Then, only six months after his move, the large shopping centre Mall of Tripla opened its doors at Pasila station.
“Tripla ruined this beautiful misery!” jokes Mikael sarcastically and continues: “Many East Pasila residents are likely to find it pleasant that all the services, such as Prisma and Alko, are within walking distance. Tripla boosted East Pasila’s quality as a place to live in.”
Concrete meets greenery
According to Mikael, Pasila’s street-level areas and pedestrian deck areas have a similar atmosphere to Merihaka in Helsinki.
“These places have certain special features that cannot be found elsewhere. Everything nice made of concrete!”
Mikael describes how East Pasila offers 1970s concrete brutalism, but also magnificent park areas near the city districts of Arabia and Kumpula. For example, Mikael’s building houses a swimming pool from the 1970s in its basement, which would no longer be built in modern apartment buildings.
“In East Pasila, concrete meets greenery. In the summer, the areas is wooded and green.”
Mikael is fascinated by the uniqueness of East Pasila, which, according to him, cannot be found in the “dormitory suburb” West Pasila or in the new districts of the City of Helsinki.
"The concrete brutalism is not always easy on the eye, but it pleases your soul."
“Despite Tripla, East Pasila has not lost its character: that certain type of roughness, asperity and the feeling of being on the edge of the city. The concrete brutalism is not always easy on the eye, but it pleases your soul. This architecture shows personality and is a strong historical period piece.”
Although the atmosphere in East Pasila feels like living on the edge of the city, the area is only one train stop away from the city centre of Helsinki.
“East Pasila has the second best transport connections in Helsinki after Kurvi in Sörnäinen. The train station is near and Kalasatama metro station is also only one bus stop away.”
Mikael works the Lead Creative Designer in a large marketing company. He commutes to this workplace in Kulosaari by bus, and it only takes 20 minutes. In the summer, Mikael commutes by scooter.
“I can’t overemphasise how quickly you can move around from East Pasila.”
The number of hobby opportunities is stunning
There are plenty of service and things to do in Mikael’s neighbourhood.
“Near to my home, there are several gyms, for example. The park areas in Kumpula are great places to jog, and it’s also a short walking distance to Arabia.”
He praises the sport fields nearby, where you can engage in different sports. Next to Messukeskus is Käpylä sports park with its numerous football pitches, Velodrome, Pasila’s parkour park, an artificial ice rink, Käpylä Street Hockey Rink, a beach volleyball field, a playground and a dog park.
Tripla offers, in addition to shopping opportunities, Finland’s most extensive restaurant selection, indoor surfing, Biitsi summer paradise, movie theatre BioRex and HopLop for children.
“How many districts of Helsinki you can surf in? Well, in East Pasila you can!”
You can also swim and enjoy a sauna almost in your backyard at Mäkelänrinne swimming hall.
Reading enthusiasts are served by Pasila Library, which used to be the main library before Helsinki Central Library Oodi opened its doors.
Mikael’s favourite spots in East Pasila are Mäkelänrinne swimming hall, the sports fields around Messukeskus, the closest dog park and the park area in Kumpula next to his home – and, despite everything, Mall of Tripla.
“And, we have this funny rock hill on Kasöörinkatu nearby in the middle of the park. Sometimes I sit there with my friends and enjoy summer evenings and barbecuing.”
Everything from peaceful everyday life to East Pasila yard parties
The general atmosphere in East Pasila is peaceful.
“I mostly see middle-class families with children, dog walkers and students around here. There are no pubs here. Naturally, things happen every now and then, as Pasila is downtown, but not more than in other places,” says Mikael.
According to him, a diverse set of people live in East Pasila. Everyone can find their place in East Pasila.
“This is a rather middle-class area. It seems that there are also a lot of young adults here.”
The great number of young adults is explained by the location of the Pasila Campus of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and Business College Helsinki next to Pasila station. Mikael used to study ICT and marketing management in Haaga-Helia.
He also points out there is an active residents’ association in East Pasila, which organises different events.
“One summer Saturday, I left my apartment and noticed that there was a huge district festival lasting the whole day on my street. I sat on my balcony, listened to the music and admired the high-rise buildings in Kalasatama.”
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