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Browsing by Author "Oikarinen, Ilkka"

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  • Oikarinen, Ilkka (Helsingin yliopistoHelsingfors universitetUniversity of Helsinki, 2008)
    According to the recent studies, the negative attitude of the entrepreneurs is on of the main barriers in the development of the car-free zones in the city centers of Finland. Entrepreneurs in the city center are afraid of losing their income due to the limited private car use in the city centers. The negative attitudes of entrepreneurs are the most common in the larger cities of Finland. Especially the small storefronts have regarded the building of car-free zones as a negative feature. This research explored the development of the planning of car-free zones in the Helsinki city center, the goals of the planning and how the planning and developing of car-free zones and pedestrian streets is seen by the storefronts located in the city center. The main research material was collected by a questionnaire from the storefront owners located in the city center of Helsinki. Other research material consisted of two specialist interviews, empirical observations, studies and researches concerning pedestrian areas and car-free zones, research literature concerning urban planning and urban studies and newspaper articles. The collected questionnaire data was analyzed statistically using cross-tabulation. The development of the car-free zones in the Helsinki city center has been long and winding process. Only two streets from the 1 989 car-free zone guideline plan have been changed to pedestrian streets. However, the development and the building of pedestrian streets is proceeding. Two streets in the city center are about to turn to pedestrian streets within the next three years. Pedestrian areas are under continuous improving as well. The focus of the development of car-free zones is at the moment around the Aleksanterinkatu blocks on the east side of the Central Business District of Helsinki. According to the results, the building and developing of pedestrian areas is seen positively by most of the respondents. Respondents see that the pedestrian areas affect the performance of their business positively. A small majority of the respondents considers that private car use in the city centre of Helsinki should be prevented. The storefronts located in pedestrian streets see the development of the pedestrian areas more negatively than storefronts located outside of the pedestrian streets. The reasons behind the negative attitudes are possibly the problems appeared in the pedestrian streets. The results confirm that in order to develop a functional pedestrian street the strategy has to be comprehensive. In the worst case, pedestrian streets outside of the main pedestrian area may even complicate the business performance of the storefronts. In future it would be interesting to examine how the other firms located in the Helsinki city center, e.g. department stores, shopping centers, developers and real estate firms see the planning of pedestrian areas. City dwellers and people living in the city center would be interesting to integrate in to the study as well and compare the results with results from this study.