Discover the Bold Renewal and Shared Successes of Turku: Europe’s Fascinating City of Universities, Culture, and Sustainable Living


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Title for the keyword 'Infrastructure': "Turku's Progressive Infrastructure Projects for a Livable City

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: The Case of Turku, Finland

Innovation and Sustainability

Commitment to Sustainability

Turku is dedicated to becoming an exemplar of sustainability within the Eurocities network. The city has set ambitious goals to drastically reduce CO2 emissions by 2029, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality. This involves comprehensive plans to transition to renewable energy sources, enhance energy efficiency in buildings, and promote sustainable transportation.

Promotion of Green Technology

Turku also invests in green technology, encouraging the development and adoption of innovations that contribute to a cleaner environment. This includes initiatives such as promoting electric vehicles, expanding green spaces, and investing in waste-to-energy conversion technologies.

Smart City Initiatives

Leveraging Technology for Urban Improvement

Turku is at the forefront of utilizing technology to improve urban life. The city has implemented various smart city initiatives that focus on cleaner environments, better healthcare, and more efficient public services. Smart sensors and data analytics are used to optimize city operations and enhance quality of life for residents.

Official City Website:

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Smart Water Management: Utilizing IoT sensors to monitor and maintain the cleanliness of waterways.
  • Digital Healthcare Solutions: Implementing telemedicine and health monitoring apps to enhance healthcare accessibility.
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems: Developing real-time traffic management solutions to reduce congestion and pollution.

Cultural and Social Projects

Engagement in Cultural and Social Initiatives

Turku places a strong emphasis on cultural enrichment and social inclusivity. The city supports various initiatives aimed at preserving cultural heritage, fostering community arts, and aiding vulnerable groups such as the elderly, immigrants, and low-income families.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Cultural Capital of Europe: Turku was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2011, highlighting its rich cultural offerings.
  • Social Support Programs: Initiatives providing language courses and employment assistance to immigrants.
  • Community Art Projects: Artistic initiatives that engage local communities and promote cultural diversity.

Urban Planning and Development

Enhancing Livability through Development

Turku is actively involved in urban planning projects that aim to improve livability and address climate change. The city focuses on sustainable urban development, including green building practices, expanded public transportation, and resilient infrastructure that can withstand environmental challenges.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • River Aura Development Project: Revitalizing the riverfront area to create vibrant public spaces and promote tourism.
  • Eco-Friendly Housing Initiatives: Building energy-efficient residential areas that integrate renewable energy sources.
  • Public Transportation Expansion: Enhancing the city’s public transit network to reduce reliance on private vehicles.

Youth and Education

Creating Vibrant Environments for the Young

Turku is dedicated to fostering vibrant environments for students and young professionals. The city collaborates with educational institutions to provide high-quality education and create opportunities for youth engagement in various sectors.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • University Partnerships: Collaborating with local universities to offer cutting-edge research opportunities and academic programs.
  • Innovation Hubs: Establishing innovation and startup hubs to encourage youth entrepreneurship.
  • Youth Councils: Forming youth advisory councils to involve young citizens in decision-making processes.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Being a part of the Eurocities network offers myriad benefits for Turku. These include the sharing of best practices with other cities, access to a wealth of knowledge and collaborative opportunities, and enhanced ability to secure funding for innovative projects. Through participation in Eurocities, Turku advances its strategic objectives while contributing to a collective European urban agenda aimed at sustainable, inclusive, and smart city development.

Turku, Finland


Turku is situated on the southwest coast of Finland along the Archipelago Sea, an arm of the Baltic Sea. It lies at the mouth of the Aura River, which flows through the city and is a significant geographic feature. The city is part of the region of Southwest Finland (Lounais-Suomi).


The population of Turku is approximately 190,000 residents, making it the sixth-largest city in Finland. Turku’s demographics include a relatively young population with a substantial number of students, courtesy of its two major universities. The city is also home to a diverse community with a growing number of international residents.

Economic Overview

Turku’s economy is diverse and robust, with key industries including biotechnology, maritime engineering, information technology, and tourism. The city serves as a critical economic hub for the southwest region of Finland. Turku’s GDP is a significant contributor to the national economy, driven largely by its port activities, creative industries, and a flourishing startup ecosystem.

Historical Significance

Established in the late 13th century, Turku is one of the oldest cities in Finland and has served as an important cultural and economic center. It was the capital of Finland until 1812, when Helsinki was named as the capital by the Russian Empire. Significant historical events include the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, which led to extensive city planning and reconstruction efforts. Turku is home to the Turku Castle and the Cathedral of Turku, both of which stand as monuments to the city’s rich history.

Cultural Attractions

  • Turku Castle: A medieval fortress dating back to the late 13th century, now a museum showcasing historical artifacts.
  • Turku Art Museum: Offers a wide range of Finnish art collections from the 19th century to contemporary artworks.
  • Turku Music Festival: One of the oldest music festivals in Finland, held annually and featuring classical and contemporary performances.
  • Medieval Market: An annual event that recreates the medieval atmosphere with crafts, food, and historical reenactments.

Education System

Turku boasts a well-developed education system, catering to all levels:

  • Primary and Secondary Education: Numerous high-quality public and private schools provide compulsory education.
  • Higher Education: The city is home to two major universities, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, offering a wide array of programs and contributing to a vibrant student community.

Transportation Infrastructure

Turku has a comprehensive transportation network:

  • Public Transit: An extensive bus network serving the city and surrounding areas.
  • Airports: Turku Airport, located approximately 8 kilometers north of the city center, offers domestic and international flights.
  • Maritime Connections: The Port of Turku provides ferry services to Stockholm, Sweden, and other Baltic destinations.
  • Road and Rail: Well-connected by highways and railroads, linking Turku with major Finnish cities such as Helsinki and Tampere.

Urban Development Projects

Turku is undergoing several urban development projects aimed at enhancing sustainability and quality of life:

  • Föri Line: Development along the Aura River, including pedestrian-friendly spaces and recreational areas.
  • Skanssi District: A smart and sustainable neighborhood project focusing on eco-friendly living environments.
  • Turku Science Park: Expanding as a hub for innovation and technology-based businesses.

Environmental Initiatives

Turku is committed to environmental sustainability and has launched several initiatives:

  • Carbon Neutral by 2029: Aiming to be one of the first carbon-neutral cities in Finland by 2029.
  • Green City Program: Promoting green spaces, urban gardening, and biodiversity.
  • Waste Management: Advanced recycling programs and waste-to-energy initiatives.

Quality of Living

Turku offers a high quality of living characterized by good healthcare services, safety, and a wide range of amenities. The city is equipped with modern hospitals, recreational facilities, and cultural venues, ensuring a balanced lifestyle for its residents. Turku’s public services, including education and welfare, are top-notch, contributing to overall resident satisfaction.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Turku consistently ranks high in national and international surveys for livability, driven by its quality healthcare, education, and safety.
  • Health Index: The healthcare system in Turku is highly regarded, with accessible services and preventive care programs.
  • Environmental Quality Score: The city’s strong environmental policies and green initiatives result in high scores for air and water quality.

Profile of Mayor Minna Arve


Minna Arve

Current Position

Mayor of Turku, Finland

Political Affiliation

National Coalition Party


  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), University of Turku
  • Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration), Åbo Akademi University

Professional Background

  • CEO, Turku Chamber of Commerce
  • City Councilor, Turku City Council
  • Chair, City Executive Board, Turku
  • Various managerial positions in the private sector, with a focus on economic strategies and corporate governance

Achievements as Mayor

  • Launched several sustainability initiatives, including the Carbon Neutral Turku 2029 project
  • Implemented urban development projects aimed at revitalizing the city center and promoting green public spaces
  • Promoted technological advancements through the Turku Smart City program, focusing on digital infrastructure and mobility solutions
  • Enhanced public transportation systems, including the introduction of electric buses and improved cycling infrastructure

Vision for the Future

  • Smart City Initiatives: Continue development of Turku as a smart city through advanced digital infrastructure, data-driven decision-making, and innovative public services.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Achieve carbon neutrality by 2029, improve waste management systems, and increase green energy usage.
  • Community Engagement: Foster a connected and engaged community through participatory governance, expanded cultural programs, and inclusive policy-making.

Personal Life

Minna Arve enjoys various activities outside her professional duties, including:

  • Outdoor activities like hiking and cycling, which align with her commitment to environmental sustainability
  • Active participation in local cultural events and community volunteering
  • Spending quality time with her family and encouraging community cohesion

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of the “Environmental Leadership Award” for pioneering efforts in achieving carbon neutrality
  • Awarded the “International Smart City Prize” for outstanding advancements in urban technology and infrastructure
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 100 Influential Female Leaders in Finland”

Turku: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Located in the southwest of Finland, Turku is a city renowned for its high living standards and affordable cost of living. As a member of the Eurocities network, Turku is dedicated to innovations that result in smart and sustainable development.

Quality of Life


Turku maintains an impressive safety index of 73.61, offering residents a secure living environment. The high safety index reflects the city’s low crime rates and the effective law enforcement measures in place.


The healthcare system in Turku has a quality index of 75.64, signifying comprehensive services and excellent patient care. The city is equipped with modern hospitals and specialized medical facilities that ensure high standards of healthcare for its residents.


Despite being an industrial city, Turku boasts a low pollution index of 19.30. The city’s commitment towards sustainability and cleanliness is evident through well-maintained public spaces and efficient waste management systems.


The transport system in Turku is highly rated, with a transport index of 69.49. The public transportation system, comprising buses, trams, and local trains, ensures convenient and affordable mobility across various destinations in the city.


Education in Turku is highly esteemed, with institutions like the University of Turku ranking among the top in the country. The city is home to a range of educational facilities that provide high-quality education from primary to tertiary levels.

Cost of Living


Turku offers affordable housing options compared to many European cities. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately 759.00 €, providing comfortable living arrangements for residents.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery expenses for a single person: 237.50 €
  • Average cost of dining out: 12.00 €

Residents can enjoy a balanced diet and dining experiences without excessive expenditure.


Utilities for an 85m2 apartment typically cost around 117.80 € per month. This includes essential services such as heating, electricity, water, and garbage disposal, ensuring a comfortable living environment.


A monthly public transport pass in Turku is priced at about 50 €. The cost-effective and reliable transportation network supports the mobility needs of the city’s residents.


  • Fitness club membership per month: 35.83 €
  • Cinema ticket: 12.00 €

The city provides numerous leisure activities at reasonable prices, contributing to a vibrant social life for its residents.

In summary, Turku stands out as a city with high living standards, characterized by a safe environment, excellent healthcare, cleanliness, efficient transportation, and quality education. Coupled with a favorable cost of living, Turku offers a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. (Data source: Numbeo)

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