Sustainable proaction

Sari Hirvonen-Kantola

D.Sc. (Tech.), M.Sc. (Arch.)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Urban Design and Planning
Integrative urban design and planning


I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu. In my PhD dissertation (2013) I identified five types of integrative land use planning work, each labeled to diverse markets. Since then I have been working with smart cities and municipalities to detect and develop integrative urban design, planning and development management practices from the perspective of the collaboration of sustainable land-use planning, and business and innovation development.

Research interests

  • Collaboration of sustainable land-use planning, and business and innovation development
  • Integrative urban design, planning and development management
  • Engaged research in and with smart cities and municipalities

Research project leadership/management

Research in projects

  • KEINO - Land Use Planning and Spearhead Projects in Cities and Municipalities (2021-2022, Foundation for Municipal Development, PI Helka-Liisa Hentilä)
  • HOPE - Highly Optimized Energy Systems (2020-2022, Business Finland, PI Mika Ruusunen)
  • EHED – Preconditions of Integrative Urban Redevelopment (2013-2015, Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland, PI Helka-Liisa Hentilä/Sari Hirvonen-Kantola)
  • INURDECO-SWC – Integrated Urban Development Concept – Case Sustainable Winter City (2012-2014, Tekes-ERDF, PI Helka-Liisa Hentilä)
  • 50 Years of Urban planning in the City of Vantaa (2004-2005, City of Vantaa)

Selected publications

  • Kosunen, H., Atkova, I. & Hirvonen-Kantola, S. (2020) Co-Evolutionary Urban Planning of a Finnish City for its Low-Growth Neighborhoods. Planning Theory & Practice. Taylor & Francis.
  • Kosunen, H. & Hirvonen-Kantola, S. (2020) Fatalism in Co-evolutionary Urban Planning: Experiences from Infill Planning in Finland. Planning Practice & Research. Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
  • Hirvonen-Kantola, S., Iivari, M., Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. (2018) Innovation Ecosystem Orchestration Activities in Spatial Planning Agencies. Proceedings of the International Society for Professional Innovation Management XXiX ISPIM Conference, Stockholm.
  • Hirvonen-Kantola, S., Iivari, M. & Ahokangas, P. (2016) New Market Creation in Urban Area Development: an Ecosystemic Business Model Approach. In: Saari, A., & Huovinen, P. (Eds) Proceedings of the CIB World Building Congress 2016: Volume III - Building Up Business Operations and Their Logic. Shaping Materials and Technologies. Tampere University of Technology. Department of Civil Engineering. Construction Management and Economics. Report; Vol. 18.
  • Hirvonen-Kantola S., Ahokangas P., Iivari M., Heikkilä M. & Hentilä H-L. (2015). Urban development practices as anticipatory action learning–Case Arctic smart city living laboratory. Procedia Economics and Finance 21: 337–345.
  • Hirvonen-Kantola, S. & Mäntysalo, R. (2014). The Recent Development of the Finnish Planning System; The City of Vantaa as an Executor, Fighter and Independent Actor. In: Reimer, M., Getimis, P. & Blotevogel, H.H. (Eds.): Spatial Planning Systems and Practices in Europe; A comparative perspective on continuity and changes. Routledge, New York (USA), Abingdon (UK), p. 42–60.
  • Hirvonen-Kantola, S. (2013) Eheyttäminen, kestävä kehittely ja yhteyttäminen. Integroivaa kaupunkikehitystyötä Vantaalla. [Holistic urban planning, sustainable co-configuration and linking work. Integrative urban redevelopment work in the City of Vantaa]. Doctoral dissertation. Universitatis Ouluensis C 445.
  • Hirvonen, S. (2005) Ruraali urbaani - Vantaan kaupunkisuunnittelun historia [The Urban Planning History of the City of Vantaa]. Vantaan kaupungin julkaisuja C18:2005, KAUPSU 8/2005, Vantaa.  

Scientific merits

Professional and community activities

  • TechArt project, Member of the board 2021-2022
  • Geographical information systems for Public Sector, Finnish Government Key Project, Expert member 2018-2019
  • Urban Agenda for the EU, Digital Transition; Coordinator’s (City of Oulu) expert 2017-2019
  • Oulu Innovation Alliance, Northern City with Attractive Opportunities ecosystem, Member of the board 2016-2019
  • University of Oulu, Oulu School of Architecture, Research coordinator 2015-
  • Urban Space Design (10 ECTS, University of Oulu, Oulu School of Architecture), Responsible teacher 2015-
  • Three 1st prizes in innovative plot lease and conveyance competitions consortia 2014-2016

Research groups

  • Member, Smart City
  • Member, Future Digital Business

Thesis supervisions

  • 4 ongoing doctoral theses (co-cupervisor)

Research visits

  • Nord University Business School, High North Center for Business and Governance 

    Visiting researcher

  • University of Sheffield, Department of Town and Regional Planning

    Visiting academic