How we developed the "Hidi House" concept

Co-working space
Inspirational picture showcasing the calm atmosphere of a co-working space. Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash.

This text has been written by Diana Kobzhassarova as part of a series of blogs by the SUD students, where they reflect on their experiences working together - and with people outside of the university - to develop their ideas for the Urban Lab.

Click here to view the posters made by SUD students in Urban Lab 1.

Our main goal in the Urban Lab subject was to create an idea and a project to change the area in Tampere, Hiedanranta. For us, it was not an easy process and we thought about what to do in a city where there is everything? What to do with this area, which, compared to the center, is not super developed and densely populated. We had a lot of choices, since we are from different streams of the Sustainable Urban Development program (administrative sciences, social sciences, and technology), we had different views on this task. Therefore, in order to come to one solution, we went through a long process of developing and changing our project, comparing new ideas with the old ones, and eliminating some details. In this blog post, I want to focus on my own experience as a group member during the creation of a project which relates to urban development. I want to help people to understand which process my group went through to come to the results that we have now.

When we only started our way in the course, there were not any ideas about what should we do. Each of my group members thought about different aspects which are related to urban development. One had thought about co-housing, another about cross-laminated timber and I had ideas about co-working spaces. It is interesting because, at the start of brainstorming, we had no ideas and in the end too many of them. It was hard to focus on one of these examples because we all were passionate about our topic. Thus, we went to the conclusion that all these three ideas are related to the Sustainable Community Building.

I concentrated on the co-working space and narroweddown this topic. Tens of articles which I have read about the co-working spaces helped me to know all the main details about this topic. My main points were the social place of workers, the consequences of coronavirus and how it switched works from office to house environment, and the ecological advantages of sharing the space.

The other group members also had great ideas about their concepts. After finishing writing the literature review, we were so proud of our results. Even though writing of conclusion was the hardest part because we needed to conclude and find connections between all three topics, we had done a big work. We were almost satisfied with our project. However, there was something that we missed and we did not know what was that. Lesson after lesson, activity after the activity we were still at this point of not knowing how to become 100% satisfied with the results. Until one day, which became the turning point of our project that changed our whole concept and became a poster for the conference of the final stage of course. One day during lecture, teachers asked us to present our project to skateboarders from high school. After the presentation, we heard their opinions because they knew Hiedanranta, this place means someting to them. Listening to their point of view helped us to explore our idea in the future. Since they were local users of Hiedanranta, who had adapted the old factory to the skate space, their thoughts were important to us. We extrapolated to create a public space for everyone as they did for the old factory. The concept changed to a place that can include different facilities for all people who want to socialize and change the environment around them.

Have you ever wanted to meet someone and didn’t know where to go? Or do you want to change the environment around you during work? What to do and which place to pick? I have this all the time. For some, the answer is obvious, go to a cafe or take a walk in the park, watch a movie or sit in a cozy bar, go to an office and work there. But what if, I do not want to spend money, and the weather outside is not the most pleasant for a walk. Shopping malls make me think that I need to buy something and spend money. I have no opportunity to go to the office because I work remotely. And the bar is too noisy and not the right atmosphere. Many public places now have their trap, so my team and I began to think. What do you need in a city where everything is there? And we figured out that we want a library without books, a mall without shops, and a bar without drinks. A place where people can just be, communicate, work, relax and simply sit. The idea of ​​“Hidi House” was born after that.

From my own experience, I was in a co-working space, and the calm atmosphere of the area allowed me to relax and just talk with a friend. I admired this hub, it has everything, offices, sports equipment, and a small cafe, no pressure on me to buy something for just trying to be social. But this place`s goal is to give space to workers. Thus, we decided to make a building that can be a place for everyone. The idea of a co-working space had potential and we included it in our plan, but we explored our project. We included the customer service, and rooms for different hobbies (dancing, making videos, listening to music, and sports activities).  My group made the building which can be a public spot for people of all ages and social groups.

In our eyes, the idea was incredible and perfect. We were happy to present it because it was such a long process to come to one concept. I learned that the process of creating the project is a big trip during which we made many changes, and got a new insight even in the middle of the procedure. My experience was full of new knowledge of urban development because of the practice that I got. I was able to look at the project from different aspects and make something that can become Sustainable Community Building for Hiedanranta.

Diana Kobzhassarova