Finland, Finland, Finland, as Monty Python once sang: Finland has it all.
Well, it has some things anyway, and more to the point its embassy in London was kind enough to invite me to visit, and to learn all about the country’s smart cities projects.
And so I did. We visited Helsinki; Espoo, a rapidly growing city in the suburbs of the capital, which is something like a cross between Silicon Valley and Milton Keynes; and Tampere, effectively Finland’s second city, an industrial hub about 100 miles to the north.
We went to Kalastatama, a new smart district being built from scratch in Helsinki’s Docklands. We went to the Nokia office park to learn about smart lampposts, and what you do when your biggest most profitable company suddenly stops being the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile phones. We even went to some museums, because who doesn’t love a national history museum?
So, this episode, we’re talking about everything we learned. To do that I’m joined by one of my fellow travellers and a friend of the podcast: Agnes Frimston, deputy editor of the Chatham House magazine The World Today, and co-host of its podcast Undercurrents. If you’re interested in international affairs, you should definitely subscribe to the latter, because both she and it are brilliant, even if it did take us three goes to record the intro because she kept laughing at my podcast voice. (Agnes' comments, of course, reflect her own views, not those of Chatham House.)
Skylines is produced by Nick Hilton.