Itäkeskus and Puotinharju
Let’s Bike Helsinki! 04
Pictures by @miremroue
Helsinki wouldn’t be Helsinki, if it weren’t so international.
More than 140 different first languages enrich Finland’s capital city, our beautiful shared home.
What better place to experience this richness and diversity in its full glory, than the eastern neighbourhoods of Itäkeskus and Puotinharju!
On our bike ride through these often stereotyped districts, Mire and I couldn’t stop wondering what it is that makes us feel so at peace and at home here.
Is it the boards that wish us a warm welcome in multiple languages, some of which we can’t even read?
Is it the carefully thought out aesthetic of every single local entrepreneur’s storefront?
Is it the burst of colour in an otherwise ominously grey shopping centre threatened with demolition?
Is it the youngster with their skateboard in their own world, systematically polishing their skill as the entire square watches?
Or is it the massive housing blocks made homelike with little details the residents cherish?
When these places mean so much for so many, why is it that the powers that be don’t see them as anything more than objects to be swept away to make way for the capital city’s development?
Why is it that a small entrepreneur here finds the resources to be multilingual, while the city and the massive chains that dominate it puhuu vain suomea och svenska?
Is it because the residents appear as little more than tiny dots in the expanding city’s plans?
Or is it because they don’t appear at all, since we refuse to take a proper look?
Thank you dear viewers for joining us, as through these pictures and stories, Mire and I remind everyone that Helsinki is full of unique neighbourhoods. Each with their own character, and offering a unique life for those that call them home.