From Annankatu to Antinkatu: Contracts, Development Rights and Partnerships in Kamppi, Helsinki

Haila, A.

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Haila, A. (2008). From Annankatu to Antinkatu: Contracts, Development Rights and Partnerships in Kamppi, Helsinki. International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, 32(4), 804–814.

Mega-projects are usually analyzed as state-led public–private partnerships and iconic architecture aiming at branding the city and attracting tourists and global investors. This article adopts a different approach, analyzing the construction of Helsinki's Kamppi mega-project in terms of the politics of property as a process of creating and distributing rights –– property rights, development rights and use rights. Although the Kamppi project did not follow ordinary planning regulations, this did not mean that there was no regulation; on the contrary, there was more than usual, but through contracts rather than planning. Regulation through contracts denied citizens any voice and negated the celebrated provision for participation in Finland's reformed planning legislation. The Kamppi contracts also show that property rights are negotiated, alienated, compensated, struggled over and constructed. Citizens protested against the demolition of historic buildings, but overlooked the series of Kamppi contracts, which limited their rights and introduced a whole new system in which use rights are connected to ownership. Finally, the long duration of the Kamppi project meant that many people also overlooked the privatization of formerly public space.

Main finding
The author emphasizes the socially-constructed nature of property ownership in the context of Finland’s entrepreneurial system of real estate management and Helsinki’s urban renewal. In tracing the contracts and deals, conducted among various entities, over land ownership and development rights of an office building (Kamppi project) which bisects a public road - crucial aspects were uncovered. The planning law and any citizen participation was made redundant since democratization is diminished when deals are done mainly through multiple contracts. Additionally, the contracts extend from ownership and development rights to include use rights while denying any legitimate form of conflict or overlapping claims by others. Lastly, the long-term, phased nature of the project contributed to its legitimacy and blurring the origin of initial ownership - it was a public street. In sum, the author argues that a negative effect of contracts is the idea that use rights are fixed by ownership.

Description of method used in the article
The author conducted an analysis of contracts for property ownership, development rights, and use in addition to research conducted regarding the history of the system of Finland’s state and city real estate management.

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