A vacant office room in Merihaka, Helsinki. Photo: Johannes Romppanen

There are vast amounts of unused spaces all around Finland: empty office spaces, vacated military premises, small municipal offices and old industrial buildings.

The Vacant Spaces project looked at these existing spaces as a resource that should be taken in better use both on a temporary and long term basis, building ground for a more resource efficient and culturally sustainable use of the built environment.

The issue of vacant space is a complex one and involves many different stakeholders. In order to be able to better utilize those spaces lying unused, we need a new working logic in many fields; from legislation and zoning to common practices of the construction industry and real estate economy and management.

Therefore, the project was based on an interactive process with various stakeholders. The intent was to activate different fields to take action in practice, while Ministry of the Environment could act as a facilitator to bring these different fields together and help to sort out certain contradictory interests.

A report of the Vacant Spaces project will be published in Finnish in early 2014.


    The Vacant Spaces (Tyhjät tilat) project by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment searched for new solutions and methods for revitalizing unused spaces. The project was organized as part of the Design Exchange Programme, with Hella Hernberg as project leader during January - November 2013.

    A report of the Vacant Spaces project will be published in Finnish in early 2014.

    »Watch a presentation (in Finnish) by Hella Hernberg from February 2014.

    »Vacant Spaces on Facebook
    »Official Vacant Spaces page