The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises: Making vitality of urban centres a priority for city councils
It is necessary to invest in the vitality of city centres throughout the country, and the Finnish Commerce Federation and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises require that promoting the vitality of city centres be made a priority for the work of the new city councils. The coronavirus pandemic has slowed movement in city centres down and deprived speciality goods trade stores of vital customer flows. This phenomenon is also influenced by a longer-term trend that is boosted by the growth of e-commerce and the increasing practice of remote working.
Measures to combat the pandemic have affected the speciality goods trade stores in city centres, as things such as the recommendation to work remotely, restrictions on gatherings and restrictions on border traffic affecting foreign tourism have reduced the number of people moving in urban centres. Additionally, the way consumers are increasingly moving to online shopping impacts the brick-and-mortar shops in the commerce sector greatly as they are facing intense international competition. However, the significance of city centres as important trading venues is not disappearing.
“There is still strong demand for social encounters and individual services. Urban centres play a key role in making these encounters and experiences possible. City centres have a lot of untapped potential, both socially and commercially,” says Minna Kokka, the CEO of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa.
Cities play an important role in increasing the vitality of urban centres.
“The city councils elected in the spring must halt the desolation process of urban centres that had already begun before the pandemic. Cities’ jurisdiction includes many different tools for improving vitality,” says Janne Ylinen, CEO of Kokkola Halpa-Halli.
The vitality and attractiveness of urban centres is built on a diverse range of services, a comfortable and safe environment for shopping and mobility, and good accessibility by public transport, bicycle and car. Ensuring an adequate number of affordable parking spaces is also vital for entrepreneurs located in city centres. These factors must be taken into account in urban planning throughout Finland.
Boldness and courage are required for the development of the city centre and in order to carry out various experiments. In principle, the role of cities must be enabling, be it for events or other business proposals.
It is important that urban policy-makers and officials meet regularly with local entrepreneurs and hear their ideas and needs. Support should also be ensured for the activities of city centre associations and for the marketing work for city centres.
For further information, please contact:
Simo Hiilamo, Director (Public Policy and Advocacy), Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)50 350 7564, email@example.com
Tiina Toivonen, Head of Legal Affairs, Federation of Finnish Enterprises, tel. +358 (0)41 528 5679, firstname.lastname@example.org
Minna Kokka, Chair of the committee for specialty and household goods trade in the Finnish Commerce Federation, CEO of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, tel. +358 (0)40 145 4111, minna.kokka(at)suomalainen.com
Janne Ylinen, Chair of the committee for commerce and services in the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, CEO of Halpa-Halli Kokkola, tel. +358 (0)20 718 2229, janne.ylinen(at)halpahalli.fi