Our LTT Tampere “Building a better future” meeting started on Monday afternoon and evening when the students and teachers arrived in Tampere railway station. The Finnish hosts were welcoming their guests and for the rest of the evening we had free time in order to settle down.
The first whole day of the project started at Tammerkoski upper secondary school with an opening speech by principal Maarit Luhtala.
Then all the students and the teachers introduced themselves and we watched the presentation videos of the schools. For the lunch break everybody went to Tampere University because the teachers and all the school staff were on strike, so we ate there. Afterwards we returned to school and got parted into seven groups formed by students from different countries.
We got to know the tutors, Finnish students who have the task to show the school to the exchange students. The art school is very big so there are many classes focused on pottery, sewing, painting and drawing.
Later we had a short Finnish lesson, where the tutors taught us some greetings and useful words. We also tasted salmiakki, which are some Finnish liquorice candies. We played some ice breaker games to get to know each other better.
In the afternoon Markus Laine from the University of Tampere gave a very interesting lecture about sustainable Urban development. We learnt about the four principles of Jane Jacob and how important means of transport are. Superblocks and Community were also a big topic of Markus Laine´s lecture.
When the lecture was finished, we left the school building for a walking tour around Tampere. We saw lots of lakes and a river as usually in Finland. Furthermore, we stopped at some impressive churches and parks.
After a long walk we managed to get to our final destination, the Pyynikki Sightseeing Tower, where we enjoyed an impressing view over Tampere. After some highly needed Donuts, Coffee, Tea and hot chocolate, the official program was over, and we were released into our free time.
On Wednesday we started working on our town planning in the smaller groups. Each group had to plan improvements to a certain area of a town and mark them by drawing. The groups will also prepare sales pitches that will be presented to a jury on Friday. The whole morning went quickly while working in the groups. When lunch time arrived, we left for University of Tampere to have lunch.
In the afternoon each group continued to work with their group until teacher Matias announced to each of them a catastrophe to be solved, for example climate change that raises the sea level or the need to have electric cars.
Then we had a break, and we ate croissants and pastries called riisipiirakka in the school cafeteria. After the snack break, we all headed together to Hiedanranta by bus where Matti Huhta explained the development plans for the area. The presentation started from the history of Hiedanranta and then he told us about what it hopefully will look like in the future. We also walked around the area and saw street and graffiti art being made on the walls. There was also a little shop where they sell handmade art and products and also spray paints. We returned to school at six and after that our free time started.
Thursday was dedicated to work. The groups got the whole day to continue planning their cities. Moreover, they started preparing their presentations and sales pitches. One of the teachers offered some advice to the people giving the speeches and, based on the advice, scripts for the speeches were written. Meanwhile the other members of the groups were working on their projects, finishing up their maps, creating posters and slide shows to present their ideas to the others.
During the day the groups also came up with names for their towns, combining their points and ideas under a single uniting title for the town. Amidst their busy day students had a nice break while walking to the University for lunch.
The plan for the afternoon was for the students to visit an exhibition on town planning and design by the Design Museum and the Centre for Architecture and Design. In the end only the teachers ended up going, because most groups were still finishing up their work and adding details. Eager to perfect their projects, the students stayed at the school to finish up and polished the appearances of their maps and posters.
On Friday morning the groups prepared the stands, using scissors and creativity, for their presentations and practiced their sales pitches. Once stands were organized and ready, the students got to vote for their favorite ideas. While looking at the stands and hearing about each group’s ideas, the students chose the groups they thought to have the best ideas and later they voted for their two favorites.
As usual, we had lunch at the Tampere University. After lunch it was time for the sales pitches. One by one, a person from each group presented the group’s ideas and after that the students got to vote on their two favorite ideas.
After that it was time for the jury’s feedback. The jury of teachers and a visiting Tampere University student evaluated all of the projects and pointed out the faults and advantages of each plan. Following the feedback was the reveal of the results of the student voting. In the end group B won with their project, a town they named Viheristö (Greenery). Their plan implemented nature into their town, ensured good public transportation and provided good services and living spaces for everyone.
The event ended with watching a video complied by the documentation group from the week’s events and giving some feedback on the week overall.
Our week had come to an end. Heartfelt goodbyes were exchanged, contacts shared and memories from the week revisited. Everyone was sad to be leaving so soon, but I think we can all agree that this week was an incredible chance we all got to work together with some pretty incredible people.