The local master plan for the Finnish town of Saarijärvi is the first city plan to provide a comprehensive vision of land use in the region. The plan, prepared by AINS Group, offers a solution to questions that the city’s decision-makers have mulled over for decades: what to do with National Road 13 that runs through the city and where to expand the developed areas. In addition, the new plan defines the borders of areas in commercial use in relation to the provincial plan. The plan is slated for completion in 2030.

One of the main decisions in the plan pertained to National Road 13. Until now, the local plan has included two possible routes for the road, which has complicated city planning due to the resulting uncertainty. Under the new plan, National Road 13 will continue to run through the centre of Saarijärvi.

‘The decision is a result of thorough consideration. At the draft stage, the route was designed to bypass the centre but changes to the national budget made it necessary to retain the current route of the road,’ explains Ulla-Maija Humppi, town and rural planning architect at the City of Saarijärvi.

The route of the main road was connected to the planning of the city’s commercial districts, which were defined in conjunction with the preparation of the provincial land use plan.

‘We collaborated with the Regional Council of Central Finland with regard to the building of commercial districts. This enabled us to align the local master plan with the provincial plan and ensure that we have reserved sufficient space for commercial facilities,’ says Humppi.

After experiencing all sorts of projects, AINS Group’s project management came as a pleasant surprise. They had the ability to see the big picture, in addition to having capacity for development and strategic vision.

Ulla-Maija Humppi, Town and Rural Planning Architect

City of Saarijärvi

AINS Group offered a pleasant surprise

Ulla-Maija Humppi was pleasantly surprised by the high standards of AINS Group’s operations and work with regard to the local master plan. ‘After experiencing all sorts of projects, AINS Group’s project management came as a pleasant surprise. They had the ability to see the big picture, in addition to having the capacity for development and strategic vision. On the other hand, they understood the specific challenges faced by a small, rural town,’ says Humppi.

According to her, the high standards and meticulous approach adopted by AINS Group were also evident in the technical drawings.

‘The drawings were well-executed and their technical quality was high. AINS Group took all the joint decisions on land use and other matters into account and transferred them to the plans. The entire experience was positive,’ explains Humppi.

She particularly appreciates the way AINS Group encouraged the local decision-makers to become actively involved in the project.

‘In the target workshop arranged by AINS Group, Saarijärvi’s decision-makers committed to planning the objectives and future of the centre. That was one of the main outcomes achieved by the project,’ says Humppi, summarising the achievements.

Saarijärvi’s local master plan

  • AINS Group prepared a local master plan for the City of Saarijärvi as consultancy work.
  • The project kicked off in 2008. The plan was completed in spring 2015.
  • The plan encompasses the city centre and possible extensions to the Asemankannas area and the centre.
  • The area covered by the new plan is about 1,700 hectares.
  • Specific matters resolved included: the route of National Road 13, the development of commercial areas, and an increase in infill development
  • Main achievements: a comprehensive vision of the development of the centre, traffic solution for National Road 13, and decision-makers’ commitment to the project