University students outlined the future of the Ülemiste campus: from an inclusive identity to a green city

,   4 minute reading

Within an international business and education network, students from Finland, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states gathered at Ülemiste campus, to map challenges related to knowledge, talents and the digital campus, and to offer new solutions.

After two days at the Ülemiste campus and after visiting 12 companies representing it, joint brainstorms of international teams and networking, students put together all the wisdom they had created and made proposals on how to resolve issues that felt important to them.

Green reaches the urban environment

First, a group called the Green Boat searched for a solution for finding a balance between urbanisation and the natural environment at Ülemiste, similarly to other urban environments in the world. ‘We spend too much time in an artificial environment; we do not think of nature or turn enough attention to involving it in the urban environment,’ was their message. As a solution, they offered several approaches, from awareness-raising campaigns and educational projects to creating modern greenhouses.

The smallest steps towards the natural environment could begin with organising a competition with some sporty excitement between companies at Ülemiste for recycling plastic drink bottles, for example. Another step forward would be the creation of permaculture: this is the promotion of agriculture that imitates natural patterns in the urban environment. A potential extreme step would be the creation of greenhouses where people could cultivate plants, whether just to improve the natural environment, or as produce for local catering establishments.

The meeting of students and employers

Students from the group Oh Boy! came up with a solution for how companies at Ülemiste would be able to get better contacts with students at Tallinn who could be their potential and talented new employees.

An event called the Smart City Challenge could be held twice per year, in April and October, as a three-day hackathon. First, companies at Ülemiste could introduce themselves and also suggest problems for which they were searching for a solution. After a day of brainstorming, a presentation of innovative solutions would take place. ‘This kind of networking would help to introduce companies to students where they could become employed in the future. Companies, on the other hand, would receive fresh ideas and would meet potential new employees,’ said students from the Oh Boy! group.

An identity that would make people come together

Thirdly, students assembled under the name i3 proposed an update to the Ülemiste brand. ‘The problem with many cities is that they have been built up but lack a soul that makes people desire to go there. An identity that provides character to the city and brings people here carries high value.’

Their proposal is to introduce Ülemiste to the slogan ‘City of U’. ‘U, like “you”, would focus on the person, regardless of whether they already work here or are just visiting. In the wider context, Ülemiste should become a place where there is life after working hours as well, in order to create an attractive environment for everyone and at any time.’

A more user-friendly movement pattern at the campus

The group that took the stage last, Blondy’s+1, pointed out little everyday things that could be improved: navigating in the Ülemiste campus, labelling of streets and houses, separation of waste, road use between cars, pedestrians and bicycles, and the use of signs and signposts.

‘Our idea is to divide the current Ülemiste into four regions, each of them designated with a distinct colour. City blocks could be defined by colours, even by drawing corresponding lines on streets; buildings at Ülemiste could also be designated with large, illuminated, eye-catching signs that would link each building to their region,’ suggested the students. Since car traffic within the campus is rather low-speed, the movement of bicycles on the same roads could be promoted.

Cooperation between companies and universities

Cooperation between seven partner universities takes place under the business and education network in the Nordics and Baltics called ‘Building Educational Cooperation in Smart City’. The purpose of it is cooperation between companies and universities in the fields of business, education and the work environment, to create new, important solutions for the city of the future and education, share international experience and learn from the best on how to find, involve and retain talent.

The following companies and organisations of the Ülemiste City campus are involved in the cooperation network: Let´s Do It World Foundation, Zone Media, ABB, ITL, Helmes, restaurant Juur, the Tax and Customs Board, Securitas Eesti, SA Innove, Tallinn Airport, International House of Estonia, MoveMyTalent, Mainor, Mainor Ülemiste, Tehnopolis Ülemiste.

Students and lecturers developing the campus are from the following institutions of higher education: Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Aalborg University, University of Akureyri, Vilnius College, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, International School of Tallinn, University of Akureyri.

The network has been brought to life by the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences and developers of the Ülemiste campus, supported by the Nordplus programme, and its purpose is to support the internationalisation of the city of the future and the development of the intellectual environment.  This year, there will be two more meetings of the network, on the topics of IT and digitalisation, and on-the-job training.

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