When working with scenarios during autumn 2020 and winter 2021, reflections have been made on alternative long-term futures. Three scenarios describe developments and trends.
Scenarios are exaggerated examples of which directions different developments can lead us into. None of them is expected to come true as such, but they help us imagine possible futures. The scenarios provide us with material to be used for the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Programme 2022-2025, to be prepared for an uncertain future and for influencing it, for decision making and regional development activities.
Additionally, the impact of megatrends and societal tensions on the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region was described. The survey has acknowledged the themes of technological development, globalisation, population trends, regional development and polarization.
The viewpoint of the scenario work has strongly been the future of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region instead of development trends for Finland, or the entire world. 59 regional developers from other organisations showing interest in the future have taken part in the workshops. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council is the creator of the scenarios, in cooperation with Demos Helsinki.
Keys to future success in Helsinki-Uusimaa
Five challenges and possibilities have been acknowledged and they need to be noticed in the future – not only in the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, but also on a national and international level. The starting point of all activities is to solve an ecological crisis; that is the warming of the climate, an overconsumption of natural resources and the loss of biodiversity.
It is vital that our region develops and grows sustainably. Global challenges and a versatile business structure are the founding of financial success. An important resource in Helsinki-Uusimaa is a competent and educated population. Helsinki-Uusimaa can be renewed through internationality and growth.
Three focusing futures
The starting point for the scenarios is made of different alternatives of climate change, as well as population and regional structures, economy and employment, and not to forget the overall atmosphere. Three scenarios for Helsinki-Uusimaa 2050 are presented below.
State-run green transition
Due to slow population growth, and as the region has done its green transition, there is almost full employment in Helsinki-Uusimaa. A successful green transition has been possible by a tighter state control, both in Finland and in other parts of the world.
- Due to activities, the climate change will be kept at +1,5°C. Due to sustainable food production and land use, the loss of nature has been avoided.
- China is leading the global economy and its political influence is significant. The EU has fallen apart, due to internal conflicts.
- Helsinki-Uusimaa is lacking workforce and a strict control enables full employment. The region is connected to the networks of global economy.
- The most important challenge in Helsinki-Uusimaa: dissatisfaction in the societal democratic development, the weakening of the individual rights and the fairness of green transition.
Driving force of global economy
A dramatic population growth and internationality has made Helsinki-Uusimaa the driving force of global economy and technology. There is a global awakening to the climate crisis, although late. Global cooperation has been the answer to the climate crisis, and it has been made possible with a stable international situation politically along with new technological solutions.
- The climate warms up by 2°C. Technology and human work are replacing natural ecosystems.
- The international division of global economy has been strengthened and the international political situation has remained quite stable.
- Different businesses and new constructions have clustered in the capital region. The population has grown massively to 2.7 million, both due to work-related immigration and climate exodus.
- The most important challenge in Helsinki-Uusimaa: people from different backgrounds adapting to the local lifestyle and the change of it.
Local community spirit
Helsinki-Uusimaa will survive in the midst of ecological crises with its circular economy, local production and community spirit. Due to crises, relations to neighbouring countries, local financial areas and circular economy will grow in importance all around the world.
- The climate warm-up is more than 3°C. The ecosystem services and the extremes of weather will lead to crises regarding food, water, resource, health and energy.
- Because of the crises, both geopolitics and trade politics are tense. The world is filled with competing blocks and hybrid influencing. The material standard of living and the life expectancy has decreased everywhere.
- The importance of small centres will increase, although the immigration to cities will level off the development. The population growth will increase to 2.2 million people, due to international net migration.
- People have a growing fear of the future. It will make them lean on local communities, helping them to cope amongst the crises.
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