In 2021, the City of Vantaa in Finland was named the European Rising Innovative City at the European Rising Innovative City Awards finals held in Brussels, Belgium. The prize money for the award totaled EUR 500,000 (~US$540,000). Vantaa plans to use €300,000 (~US$150,000) of the award as prize money in a local competition seeking ideas to improve the city. All residents, businesses, educational institutions, associations, organizations, and city employees are invited to participate.
“The name of the competition—Urban Innovations of All Sizes—tells that we are looking for ideas, both big and small, to build an even better Vantaa. We hope that actors in myriad fields will participate in the competition,” said mayor Ritva Viljanen.
The competition has three themes: everyday services, thriving city centers, and combating climate change. The recipients of financing must implement their ideas in Vantaa during 2022 or 2023. A jury of experts – made up of representatives of higher education institutions and the city – will assess the applications and choose the finalists.
“These are all important questions as regards the future. How can we boost community togetherness and prevent inequality and discrimination? Could we increase urban food production? How could we promote a circular economy?”
Vantaa’s innovation strategy – the Urban Strategy 2022–2025 – places a strong emphasis on the well-being and equality of the city’s citizens. The goal of the strategy is to support people at different stages of their life cycle, to invest in a successful transition to a healthful environment, and to create a more equitable society.