The City of Helsinki's Kalasatama Digital Twins project won the international Cities Visionary Award, as well as the Judges’ Supreme Award, which is the main award of the entire event, at the TechFest event arranged in London at the end of September.

The award strengthens Helsinki’s intention of being a leading digitalisation city in the world. The award shows that Helsinki’s persevering work to make use of new technology in the City’s services and development has been recognised and acknowledged widely by professionals around the world.

Digital twin is creating the most functional City in the world

A digital twin makes it possible to use modelling to plan and study the city even before the actual implementation of the projects. A way of doing things, which is based on data models, makes it possible to analyse data and observe systems both to improve future planning and to foresee problem situations. The idea of a digital twin is not a new one, as, for example, the first Helsinki 3D city models were made of the Kamppi area as early as in 1987.

During the last few years, Helsinki has taken giant leaps in the 3D modelling of the City. A digital twin means a way of planning, testing and building products and services in a virtual environment before the physical production phase. In the industry sector, similar industrial modelling has been conducted for some time and according to a study, its monetary savings has been about 10 % of the total costs of the operations.

”Helsinki aims to be the city in the world that best capitalises on digitalisation. Digitalisation and making use of digital tools also hold a special instrumental value in the carrying out of Helsinki’s vision to be the most functional City in the world, which offers the most fluent urban everyday life to its residents. I am proud that the work done by Helsinki also receives international appreciation and praise”, notes Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

Helsinki is a global pioneer of city data modelling

Digital city modelling is growing globally, but Helsinki is clearly heading the development with its own work. Other progressive cities and collaboration partners are Rotterdam and Singapore. A big part of Helsinki’s progressiveness has to do with the open data that Helsinki offers to its partners and how it enables a change in the work and approach towards increasingly open and information-based, tested city development.

Helsinki has made digital twin models of the Kalasatama area, which are more detailed than the models of the entire City. The Kalasatama Digital Twins report includes, among other things, the technologies used by Helsinki and it is thus also a way to help other cities that are interested in digital modelling.

Digitalisation is a huge opportunity for the global city development

International cooperation is at the core of digital modelling. For the cities, it is a way to better meet the global challenges of city development. By means of modelling, it is possible to truly create better life in an ecologically sustainable world. The UN has estimated that globally around 2.5 billion people will move from the countryside to cities before the year 2050.

”If similar figures to the 10 % cost savings of the industry sector could be reached globally in city construction efficiency through digital modelling of cities, then cities could be built for 250 million people “for free” using savings. In addition to this, significant improvements can also be reached in the optimisation of carbon neutral cities and in the maintenance of existing structures”, says Jarmo Suomisto, Project Manager for Helsinki's 3D model.

Helsinki has carried out a pilot study for the digital twin model especially in Kalasatama, where the City offers high-quality 3D models as open data to all operators and collaboration partners. The City’s wish is that these city model platforms would further the diverse product development, research, education and innovation activities in the field and contribute to increasing the understanding of the great potential of digitalisation in city development.

Helsinki’s competition project can be studied in further detail on this video.

Further information:

Study the Kalasatama wind simulation in video format.