Detached houses are still popular

Working together with its partners, the Finnish Log House Industry Association organised a seminar for municipal decision makers on the topics of good housing, construction, and municipal zoning.

According to the recent Suomi asuu (Finnish Housing) 2021 report from Rakennustutkimus RTS Oy, Finns want three times the amount of detached houses produced by current construction. The numbers have remained more or less stable throughout the 21st century. According to the report, residents thrive best in detached houses, particularly because of the yard and increased privacy. The largest obstacle hindering their construction is the availability of suitably located plots.

Rakennustutkimus RTS has calculated that detached house construction has an economic impact of EUR 16.1 billion and employs 163,500 people.

At the seminar, Mari Vaattovaara, professor of urban geography, called out for city planning that corresponds better with prevailing wishes for housing. Less dense urban structures and more low-rise housing are possible with improved mobility and accessibility. There should also be a focus on housing quality: the housing profile has become too one size fits all, with the average size decreasing in the new century.

Timo Reina of the Association of Finnish Municipalities gave a presentation on the effects of the corona pandemic on municipal planning and housing. Municipalities that were previously losing residents have now reversed the trend during the pandemic as people look for more room and comfort. In a survey of municipal decision-makers conducted in 2020, municipal influencers saw zoning and land use policies as the most important means of influencing the vitality and well-being of a municipality.

Aalto University professor Seppo Junnila noted that the previous approach to reducing construction’s carbon footprint was to create dense urban environments. For detached houses however, innovations such as new energy solutions, electric vehicles, and decentralised technologies have changed development trends. Housing can now have a neutral carbon footprint when the different community structures are taken into account.

Read the article in Finnish: Pientaloasuminen houkuttaa