A Campus developer looks into the future

Successful campus development requires an open mind and the courage to ask questions as well as question existing views. Jukka Lindholm makes plans that extend several years into the future.

Campus Development Engineer Jukka Lindholm has been developing campuses at University Properties of Finland Ltd for more than five years.

“Campus development requires a long-term perspective. You need to identify the functional potential of different areas and how they are connected to the surrounding urban structure. The work is done in cooperation with local operators and municipalities. The objective for most locations is to create an attractive meeting place that brings together education, research, the business sector and services, without forgetting housing,” Jukka says.

“I work closely together with universities to take these issues into consideration. These efforts have led to the creation of a unique campus strategy for each campus,” he adds.

According to Jukka, one of the best aspects of his job is getting to know people across Finland by working on projects together and developing a shared vision of what the future could look like.

Revising zoning plans

In zoning plans, campuses are allocated to higher education and research activities. SYK has initiated zoning procedures in several municipalities based on campus strategies and discussions held with universities and the representatives of the municipal administration.

“Everyone shares the goal of making the campus a lively and diverse meeting place. Campuses can also include historically significant buildings, which must be taken into consideration in zoning processes,” Jukka explains.
Since it is difficult to know exactly what the long-term needs will be, the goal for changes to zoning plans is to make the permissive rather than restrictive. It also tends to be a time-consuming process.

“When zoning changes are needed, you should always prepare for it to take anywhere from one to three years. Or even five,” Jukka says.

Identifying the real needs

In addition to zoning processes, Jukka is involved in the project’s early stages, which include the needs assessment and project planning phase. That is when the project’s framework and contents are established.

During the project planning phase, the user’s operations and needs are assessed to come up with a solution that maximises economy and efficiency. The solution may involve developing existing properties or building something new.

It is work that calls for an open-minded attitude. Yoiu need to provide the user with a safe environment where they can challenge the way they operate and look boldly into the future.

One good example is the Aurum multi-user building currently under construction for the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The project planning phase was completed in 2018. During project planning, significant savings were achieved with respect to the scale of the building by focusing on increasing efficiency together with the buildling’s eventual users.

The project planning phase ends when the functionality, scale and quality of the new premises has been documented, the estimated budget has been calculated, the schedule has been finalised and the lease agreement for the premises has been signed. The majority of the project costs are determined in this phase, which makes it one of the key phases of the project.

“My work is usually done when the lease agreement has been signed and the implentation planning phase of the project begins,” Jukka concludes.

TEXT: Anne Hänninen