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One third of Vaasa residents believe in the growing attractiveness of their city – Improvements are expected for public transport

Published: 24.9.2021

The City of Vaasa conducted a Vaasa of the Future electronic survey from 16 August to 5 September, which was answered by 1,473 city residents. The survey is part of an update of the city’s strategy and was intended to discover the thoughts and hopes of residents and entrepreneurs about the future of Vaasa, and to involve as many people as possible in the development of the city. The most important themes were the attractiveness of Vaasa, the improvement of public transport and the development of the city and its dynamism.

Students accounted for 28.1 per cent (414) of all respondents. The average time taken for the survey was about 14 minutes, and answers were received evenly from Vaasa residents of all ages.

– It was great that there were so many responses, and the students also came along in such large numbers. The responses received in the survey will be forwarded to the new council, which started in August, and will be considered in the planning and final approval of the new strategy, says the City of Vaasa’s Finance and Strategy Manager, Miia Äkkinen.

Strong faith in the attractiveness of Vaasa

As many as 73 per cent of respondents believe that Vaasa’s attractiveness will clearly or slightly increase in the coming years. 34 percent of respondents fully agree, and 49 per cent somewhat agree with the statement that Vaasa is a student-friendly city. According to the students, Vaasa is an excellent student city. About half of the students believe that they will stay in Vaasa after their studies and only a fifth see their future clearly elsewhere. Just over a third of students do not yet know where they plan to settle after graduation.

In addition to student friendliness, Vaasa’s strengths include education and a strong export sector, as well as the energy sector. The challenge, on the other hand, is competition for skills, smooth mobility and access to services.

– This result encourages us in our work and it is great to see that the residents have such a strong belief in the attractiveness of Vaasa. There is, of course, room for improvement, but now we know what the residents would like the council to focus on over the next four years in particular. It’s great that the citizens want to be involved in developing the Vaasa of the future. Many thanks to all the respondents, says the Mayor of Vaasa Tomas Häyry.

Satisfaction with residential areas

As many as 77 per cent of respondents are either somewhat or completely satisfied with their ​​residential area as a whole. The overwhelming majority, as many as 83 per cent of respondents, are satisfied with their proximity to nature, and 76 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the habitat of the neighbourhood they live in.

More service provision and routes would be needed for public transport. There is also a need to improve the conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, although the environment is already considered by many to already be quite good in the city. After the coronavirus pandemic, the city needs more dynamism and the restoration of the urban spirit. 42 per cent of respondents do not consider the centre to be attractive enough. The survey shows that the people of Vaasa want to strengthen the urban spirit of the city more broadly. More events and pleasant urban spaces are especially welcome.

For students planning to stay in Vaasa, work and livelihood, housing and proximity to nature are particularly important, but the biggest shortcomings at the moment are seen not only in job opportunities, but in public transportation, especially, and to some extent in the city’s vitality, leisure opportunities and cultural offerings.

– Vaasa’s public transport will be renewed in the summer of 2022, both in terms of organisation and routes. The service level of Lifti, among other things, has been planned to be much better than at present. It is great to see that the promotion of walking and cycling is also appreciated by residents. Together with the electrification of traffic, this promises to be good for the city’s carbon neutral goals and certainly also for its attraction, says Jukka Talvi, Director of Public Utility Services at the City of Vaasa.

62.5 per cent of respondents were women, men accounted for 31.5 per cent. The majority of respondents, i.e. 73 per cent, answered in Finnish, 21.5 per cent in Swedish and 5.5 per cent in English. 22 responses were received from business representatives.

Among the respondents, an iPad and tickets to the city’s cultural services were drawn, and the winners have been contacted in person. 1,118 people who responded to the survey participated in the draw.