Brainstorming for the new Oulu city campus inspired over 800 people to participate in online dialogue: community spirit arouses the most interest

The planning of the Oulu city campus is being carried out at the University of Oulu by involving various interest groups and listening to their wishes from the outset. The online dialogue between the students and staff attracted more than 800 participants between June and September. The dialogue between the main interest groups produced nearly 2,000 ideas to support the best possible planning of the city campus.

Above all, participants see the university of the future as a collaborative and close-knit community. The city campus will serve this idea in many ways in the future.

In the open brainstorming, the most common themes that emerged were versatile adaptable spaces for various parties to collaborate and network, sustainable material choices and operating methods, familiarising the general public with science, modern technology, attractive architecture and design, the city campus as a living room for the whole city as well as involving all the parties.

The majority of the discussion focused on the possibilities of the Oulu city campus, practical solutions and wishes regarding the building and the operating methods. As a by-product of the actual brainstorming, many ideas and wishes arose for things that the university should value and promote in its activities. The participants were also allowed to provide feedback and ideas for the future stages of the preparatory work.

Some of the comments were negative or suspicious. The concerns expressed by the respondents related to, for example, increased restlessness, the reduction in the size of the premises or the challenges they anticipated for student living and mobility.

A willingness to combine digital and face-to-face activities

At best, the facilities on the new campus are seen to create stronger networks between the university and the city. In addition to increasing domestic cooperation and communality, the city campus is believed to open the doors to increased international contacts.

It is also seen to increase diverse opportunities for digital and face-to-face encounters. It is hoped that the city campus facilities will provide more extensive opportunities for combining digital and face-to-face meetings, which is something COVID-19 has already familiarised us with by changing teaching and meetings. This means more adaptable facilities, e-learning equipment and increasing the functionality of the digital campus.

Needs of the students and staff to support planning

Ideas were collected from the students and staff with an online tool from June to September. The aim was to survey the needs and ideas of students and staff on how to make the best use of the city campus, which is closely linked to the city’s life.

Approximately half of the participants were students, one quarter were the university’s teaching and research staff and one quarter were the university’s support service staff.

Setting up the new campus is a decision that will have effects for decades to come. The planning and preparation phase must be carried out carefully, while taking into account the current situation and, at the same time, looking to the future with an open mind. The current target schedule is to start operations on the new campus in 2027 or 2028.

Last updated: 15.2.2021