Story of Lahti

A smart city is made by its people, and we are proud of our numerous engaged communities. Neighbourhood programs, product development panels and mobile apps bring the residents of Lahti together. Citizen participation is crucial when planning a functional green city.

Participation and green counselling

Lahti offers a range of different channels for public participation. Mobile apps Porukka (‘the crowd’) and LahtiMob provide information about the City’s services and offer a channel for public participation and sharing. Citizen panels are effective groups for participating in the development of local products, public services and a more functional urban environment. 

Lahti has active community councils. Resident evenings and events are held frequently. Everyone can participate in voluntary environmental work, join the City driven ‘Tonni lähti’ (‘a tonne away’) campaign and take part in different activities during the yearly Environment Week.

The Environmental Counselling Unit provides assistance online or at info points on environment-related issues.  Energy counselling, online solutions and borrowable energy monitoring meters can help residents reach optimal energy efficiency in their lives. 


Environmental professionals are born here

Environmental education is a part of the everyday activities of pre-schools and day care centres and our forests are excellent places for education. Play is serious business here.

Lahti has numerous programmes and projects related to environmental education. Day care centres and schools are equipped with sustainable development meters and units regularly monitor their own development when it comes to sustainable development work. 

Environmental grannies and grandpas are an excellent example of pro-environmental volunteering to familiarise children with everyday environmental actions and new Green Leaf schools support communality

The Ekopaku van is a mobile environmental school that can be borrowed by schools and day care centres. Through public questionnaires and games, children have been able to say what their dream playgrounds are like and how they see the future city. Read more.

Play is serious business here

High-level environmental expertise

Lahti’s university-level policy is based on network-like operating models, focusing specifically on research transfer, a key factor in this region. Academic collaboration among the institutions involved ensures a tailored university expertise that focuses specifically on the needs of the region and can be tailored precisely to current and future business needs.

The Lahti University Consortium, consisting of Lahti University of Applied Sciences and three universities, and operating as one network, forms the basis of the region’s high-level expertise.

One of Europe’s leading innovation environment research groups, Lahti School of Innovation at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), has been heavily involved in promoting the innovation activities of the area’s businesses and developing new kinds of practical tools to support them. LUT has also developed a new circular economy training program. The environmental ecology research unit at the University of Helsinki is home to Finland’s largest commercial water laboratory.

Academic collaboration can be tailored precisely to the needs of current and future business needs

Resident vs. Consumer

A smart city can’t be smart unless it actively helps residents combat climate change. Our everyday consumption choices and buying and eating habits have great environmental effects.

Our local food production is responsible and challenges old production methods, while simultaneously bringing the whole production chain closer to the customer.

Organic cultivation is growing ever more popular and recent years have seen several successfully commercialised ingredient innovations.Consumption optimisation is becoming easier, as we have measured the excess and are reducing waste food thanks to online platforms, apps and social media.

A smart city can’t be smart unless it actively helps residents combat climate change

We are definitely on our way to become bio-digital consumers. Pre-ordering, smart packaging and home delivery services are all available to make everyday grocery shopping easier. The popularity of local food is increasing and REKO, a local food circle, brings together local producers and their consumers on a regular basis.

Open governance

As a part of its smart policy structure, Lahti has a resilient and open City Council and a robust governance structure. Decision making processes and document sharing are increasingly transparent, free for all to see and participate in. The City Council is highly committed to ongoing and future climate procedures to achieve carbon neutrality.

One of the long-term goals is to be a zero waste city by 2050 throughout the whole city organisation. In 2011, the City of Lahti was the first whole city organisation in the world to join the WWF Green Office environmental management system.

Through different campaigns, Lahti challenges local companies to lower their CO2 emissions. By drafting and keeping to their own climate promises, local companies have been able to sign a Climate Partnership with the City of Lahti since 2015.


The society of tomorrow? We predict that…

  • We will see virtual communities, stronger participatory decision making and environmental media coverage.
  • We will see more social- and platform-based markets.
  • Consumers will seek out eating-related experiences and food & eating-related services will see ambitious experimentation.
  • Locally produced -> high quality ensured.
  • Norms and regulations will be modified to reduce food waste -> toward closed material circles.


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