Pipa Turvanen, Senior Adviser for Intercity Collaboration of South-West Coast of Finland (LOURA) helps to create networks for developing the cities in the region. The four cities of Turku, Rauma, Pori and Uusikaupunki form together an offering that is greater than the sum of its parts and thus gain more weight.
Pipa Turvanen has found herself ”the dream job of a regional developer”, as she is genuinely able to do just that. The area is not even restricted by provincial or organisational borders, but co-operation is promoted both in Southwest Finland and Satakunta, and the goal is to include all local players.
”The work is really extensive and varied, I have all kinds of assignments, and there’s lots of international co-operation, too. I’m a workhorse for the cities, and in the LOURA co-operation everything is based on the shared interests of the cities. It started in 2011, and I’m jointly at the service of four different cities”, Ms Turvanen explains.
The co-operation targets at concrete collaboration, new growth and new kinds of development models, and aims at answering existing challenges, such as the availability of skilled labour and improving the companies’ competitiveness and renewal capacity. Growth is sought through jointly selected flagship themes including Invest-in co-operation, maritime expertise, energy, and tourism. For example, the “Energy coast renewal” project focuses at present on cleantech expertise. It was preceded by a review of training, research and development in cleantech expertise in 2012. The cleantech project develops water expertise, gas economy and offshore wind turbines, and a Solar Leap project focusing on solar power is also in progress.
”Finnish cities are small in international comparison, so through co-operation it’s possible to create larger and more interesting entities e.g. for attracting international investments. In addition, the target groups need to be chosen carefully. At the moment we are focusing on the location of data centres, and our national partner in attracting investments is Finpro.”
”The co-operation is based on business and innovation policies. For example, expertise with international potential exists in the water industry, but the companies are small, so the goal is to help the companies to network and co-operate.”
Travelling and events
The main goal of the flagship for tourism, “the charming Southwest Sea”, is to make the archipelago a brand like Finnish Lapland which will bring more international tourists and develop the tourism business.
“The co-operation for the Southwest Coast also involves shared policy development issues, because we want to improve the accessibility of the region, and the further improvement of the five ports in the area and Highway 8 is important. LOURA also has a flagship project for new experiments within which we are currently trying to utilise local sports events as part of regional development.”
New forms of co-operation
Pipa Turvanen does not often sit in her office in the DataCity building in Turku Science Park, but has personally learned to know Highway 8. She meets a lot of people, participates in meetings and arranges networking events. The common goals are essential and the activities aim at benefiting all cities.
”We try to avoid unnecessary competition and promote co-operation. Last year, for example, LOURA participated in setting up the Consortium of Satakunta University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences which enhances the co-operation between them. Promoting co-operation is important e.g. for acquiring funding.”
New projects are also initiated, such as the student messenger programme which is due to start next year. The idea is to use a Danish model for systematic co-operation with the students in the international mobility programmes. The aim is to use the students as messengers for expertise and business in Southwest Finland.
Train rides and physical exercise
”Turku is a nice place to live in, our family is quite happy with Uittamo district. It’s not too far from the railway station by bicycle. That’s important, because I grew up next to railway tracks in Riihimäki. At some point I used to commute daily from Turku to Helsinki to work in the Council of State, so I definitely support the One Hour Train project between Turku and Helsinki.”
Pipa Turvanen likes to play tennis and badminton. Last summer she worked as a volunteer in the Louna-Jukola orienteering competition and got newly excited about it.
“I used to do orienteering at school and in the girl scouts, and recently I’ve taken it on again with the local club. It’s really fun to run with a map and watch, jogging on its own is too boring! Me and my old friends from the girl scouts are trying to gather a team for the Jukola orienteering relay in Lappeenranta for the next summer.”
Text and photos: Anne Kortela
Senior Adviser, Intercity Collaboration of South-West Coast of Finland: Turku-Rauma-Pori-Uusikaupunki
• Born in 1979 in Riihimäki, lives in Turku
• Education: M.Sc. (Admin.), Regional Science, University of Tampere
• 2011– Intercity Collaboration of South-West Coast of Finland, Senior Adviser
• 2009–2011 Regional Council of Häme, Hämeenlinna, Project Manager
• 2008–2009 Prime Minister’s Office, Helsinki, government report on the future: climate and energy politics
• 2004–2008 European Parliament, follow-up of the legislation work of the Committees on Regional Development and Environment
• 2004 Ministry of the Interior, academic trainee on the Regional Department
Family: Husband and two daughters (one in school, one in day care)
Hobbies: tennis, badminton and orienteering