Tapiola is a modern city built in a rural community. It was built as both an experiment and a model—an experiment on how to create towns and make them socially as well as economically habitable; as a model to challenge many accepted ideas on residential area design and to influence the future pattern of Finland's urbanization.
This well-illustrated book demonstrates the importance of Tapiola's experience to other countries and recounts the “story” of this extraordinary venture and its success and relevance to planning anywhere in the world.
It is especially significant that Tapiola was not a program of Finland's national government and was constructed by a company acting as a private, nonprofit business, Asuntosäätiö. This organization was established in 1951 by six social and trade organizations that bought an area of 670 acres in the then-rural county of Espoo outside Helsinki to create a new community—a working town in a garden setting. A major aim was to accommodate a real cross section of the population. Though built under stringent economic circumstances, Tapiola was tested in the competitive market.
In the first part of the book the relevance of Tapiola is outlined and put into context. Part 2 discusses the background: “New Towns and Garden Cities in History,” “Urbanization, Urbanity, and Urban Form,” “Architectural and Urban Design in Finland,” “Finland's Housing and Planning Programs” and “Facts and Figures” that come into play. Part 3 relates how Tapiola came into being in the early 1950s, from the inception of the idea through the financing, programming, planning, and completion of the town. Part 4, “Beyond Tapiola,” formulates a plan for future work on a regional basis, with a discussion of “The Seven Towns Plan” of Finland. The final chapters describe “A Philosophy for New Towns.”