Ülemiste City Engages Community in Campus Development 

,   3 minute reading

Ülemiste City, home to more than 500 companies, organised participatory budgeting to screen initiatives that improve the operating and living environment with the help of tenants. The business district will finance these initiatives with the help of the community fund.

“The Ülemiste City community fund initiative, launched this year, has already spread to several business campuses worldwide. In the Estonian context, such an initiative is very innovative for private developers. So far, some local governments in Estonia have successfully implemented participatory budgeting,” explained Sten Pärnits, Board Member and Head of Customer Experience of Mainor Ülemiste AS, developer of Ülemiste City. “In the framework of the community fund, our companies can contribute financially to campus-wide development projects and actively participate in the development of the community’s well-being.”

According to Sten Pärnits, since the beginning of the year, the community fund concept was introduced, and part of the income is used for developments proposed by the community. “At the end of April, the first council, which consisted of representatives of the tenants, got together. Together, the development projects to be financed were selected, and 33 ideas for improving urban space, mobility, green areas, events and entertainment were put to the vote. Regarding the implementation of ideas, the final word is left to the campus talents themselves,” he added.

For example, the Ülemiste City community has requested a digital weather station, crosswalks with special solutions, an outdoor cinema, a sauna for organizing team events, box bikes for rent, user-friendly bus shelters and a community garden. More ideas can be seen here.

“The development of the Ülemiste City community through the community fund is, in my opinion, a very important step. This creates an opportunity for our talents to actively participate in decision-making processes and contribute with ideas that affect their own well-being and comfort,” said Anne-Mai Elbrecht, Group Workplace Experience Lead of Helmes and member of the advisory board of the Ülemiste City community fund. “The community fund helps to create a more coherent and inclusive environment where every member feels valued and can contribute. This strengthens the bonds of the Ülemiste City community and makes it an attractive destination for employees and visitors.”

The participatory budgeting showed that the Ülemiste City community considers outdoor activities and sustainability issues important, Sten Pärnits said. At the same time, according to him, during the collection of ideas, the community’s concern about accessibility came up painfully, which, unfortunately, the developer of the settlement cannot solve alone.

“We are still waiting for a solution from the city of Tallinn and Rail Baltica that would help solve the problem caused by the closure of the tram line. Coming and going to Ülemiste City is currently more inconvenient, more time-consuming, and has a larger footprint than it was when public transport was functioning properly,” he noted.

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