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A woman and a man are riding a bike on a sunny day. There are green trees in the background.

Vaasa with Energetic Citizens - towards a sustainable city with citizen energy

Vaasa's strategic goal is to become carbon neutral in the 2020s. The Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project, funded by the Ministry of the Environment, strengthens the orientation and inclusion of residents in the city's sustainability work by implementing the ideas of local people for a more sustainable urban life. The participation of citizens promotes a fair and socially sustainable green transition.

Cities and municipalities play an important role in promoting the green transition. Similarly, citizens have a key role to play in figuring out what a sustainable lifestyle can look like. The Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project co-develops pilot projects on sustainable urban life with residents, local associations and companies. The experiences gained from the pilot projects are used as operating models for the City of Vaasa and for scaling to other municipalities.

Sustainability measures must support socially sustainable development, with the aim of ensuring people’s wellbeing and equal opportunities to participate in the decision making. The pilot projects reinforce socially sustainable development by enabling places for the participation of residents, whose voices are often less heard in decision making. For example, we support the participation of immigrants through linguistic accessibility.


1 January 2022 – 31 May 2023

Project organisation and partners

The project is managed by the administration and services unit of the city’s group administration and is implemented cross-administratively with the parks department, integration services and cultural activities.

The project partners are Ab Stormossen Oy, Vaasan Setlementtiyhdistys, Vaasan 4H-yhdistys, Etelä-Sudan ja SudanSawa yhdistys ry, and Vaasan Somalinaisten kehitys ry.

Experiments of the project

Children's Voice Day

Close-up of a smiling 5th grade boy sitting at a table. In front of him there are some craft supplies. Behind him, the blurred silhouettes of two other children can be seen sitting at the table.
In the pilot round of the Children’s Voice Day in autumn 2022, the 5A classes of Onkilahti Comprehensive School and Vikinga Skola participated in the Onkilahti Park brainstorming session. There were many good ideas and the children voted for the most popular ones.

Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project is experimenting with new ways to involve children in the planning and decision-making processes of the city.

In the Children’s Voice Day, 5th graders visit the City of Vaasa’s Administration Building to learn about the municipality’s decision-making process and the different ways to participate. During the day, members of the City Council and the Youth Council present their work, and pupils can participate in the current planning work of the city.

In the pilot round, the Children’s Voice Day was tested by the 5A classes of the Vikinga Skola and the Onkilahti Comprehensive School. Children’s Voice Day activities were preceded by a preliminary task on municipal influence guided by their own teacher and a visit to the Onkilahti Park, the development site that their visit considered.

Children’s Voice Days have been established to be held every autumn in October–November.

Children's Panel

The children’s panel is an influencing channel reserved for children in primary schools and daycares. The panel discusses various topical ventures and issues of the city. The aim of the panel is to increase children’s opportunities to influence what happens in the city of Vaasa. It is organised in the group’s own classroom and guided by a city employee together with the group’s own teacher. The Children’s Panel supports the City of Vaasa’s goal of being a child-friendly municipality.

The pilot round of the Children’s Panel took place in March 2023 and involved the 5A classes of the Vikinga Skola and the Onkilahti Comprehensive School, as well as the Mymmelit and Hemulit pre-school groups of the Pikku Kasarmi Day Care. The children got a chance to have their say in the following matters:

  • The goals of the Child-Friendly Municipality work
  • The Children’s Cultural Festival Lätäkkö
  • The artistic playground to be built in Ravilaakso

Read more about the first round of the Children’s Panel here!

Spatial Panel of the special needs pupils of Isolahti School

New facilities for pupils with special needs are planned for Isolahti School. The Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project also organised a children’s spatial panel on 19 April 2023, where special needs children and young people from Isolahti School had the opportunity to brainstorm what the new school facilities should look like. The results of the spatial panel provide valuable information from the perspective of the future users of the facilities, that is, the children, as a basis for spatial planning.

Ristinummi cultivation box garden

A close-up of cultivation boxes with green salads. People sitting by a table in the background.

In the spring of 2022, the project set up a cultivation box garden in Ristinummi at the request of the residents. The garden supports the integration of immigrants and the circular economy. Click here to read more!

Student Second Hand

A female student selling second-hand clothes at the Culture House Fanny with three female students walking past her stall looking at the products.The Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project challenged the city’s students to think of a way to contribute to sustainable urban living in Vaasa. The Student Union of the University of Vaasa (VYY) took up the challenge by coming up with a Student Second Hand flea market event for all university students. The event was sponsored by Vaasa with Energetic Citizens project and took place in the Culture House Fanny on 4 April 2023 at 14–18.


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