Scientific visualisation

Future Visions for UAM in Helsink 2030

The city of Helsinki has set a bold goal for itself - to incorporate Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) into its infrastructure by 2030. But how do you create a future that has yet to arrive? The answer is as simple as complex to apply – Imagination!


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Three Future visualizations of the integration and effect of Urban Aerial Mobility in Helsinki in 2030

The West harbor at Helsinki reimagined as an Urban multi-modal-mobility transit node with Air-taxis from and to Helsinki
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The city of Helsinki has set a bold goal for itself - to incorporate Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) into its infrastructure by 2030. But how do you create a future that has yet to arrive? The answer is as simple as complex to apply – Imagination!

To make an important steps towards a sustainable future of UAM in Helsinki, the city commissioned a scientific research report to outline the most probable use cases for UAM and the potential effects of adopting either a passive or active approach. The intention is to use this research as a basis for developing a comprehensive Vision 2030 that involves politicians and citizens alike.

However, typical predictive scientific research reports face three key problems. Firstly, they tend to be dry, fragmented, and comprehensible only to experts in the field. Graphs and charts used to visualize data also lack meaningful insights into the projected outcomes. This leaves many questioning the practical implications and asking, "Now what? How will the future look like?" Second, the visualization of the future is usually polarized, oscillating between utopian naivety and apocalyptic pessimism, lacking a tangible and feasible version of what lies ahead. Lastly, the unpredictability of current world affairs - post-Covid recession, Russia-Ukraine war, climate and energy crises, inflation, and supply shortages - further complicates envisioning the future.

To counter these challenges and provide a more compelling vision, visionary artist Lakstein Fernanes proposed a new approach. He believes within the challenge there lays an opportunity to propose potential pathways for a more sustainable future. Seeing a realistic, probable, and viable future can inspire belief and alignment among people and governments.

Lakstein, along with scientists, politicians, military strategists, anthropologists, mathematicians, economists, and researchers, collaborated to create three visions for the future of UAM in Helsinki. Their goal was to "step into the future and come back with photographs."

By commissioning a vision study incorporating artistic expertise Helsinki sought to visually depict the research outcomes. This approach allowed decision-makers to experience the potential effects of their choices more concretely. The integration of visual designs into the debate facilitated discussions that explored the true essence of the study, aligning with the desired outcomes. The process resulted in three final paintings combining personal and subjective elements with systemic and top-down views, resulting in captivating and iconic visuals. The sketches underwent meticulous refinement to ensure meeting essential design criteria: instant recognition of Helsinki by residents, adherence to UAM regulations set by EASA and the Government, and viability without veering into science fiction territory. About 150 initial sketches were narrowed down to the three most fitting paintings through collaborative efforts, compromise, and blending diverse perspectives.

As Lakstein painted the final works, he incorporated specific details. These included typical Finnish architecture and design styles, EASA's vertiport regulations, mathematical models predicting local temperatures, sun angles, and wind conditions in Helsinki's future sky. Anthropological and creative models influenced fashion and travel habits for inhabitants and tourists, shaping appearances, expressions, body language, and likely locations. The artwork aimed to create an immersive experience, leaving no doubt that these paintings were snapshots from the envisioned future.

Helsinki's Vision 2030 for Urban Aerial Mobility represents a realistic and well-thought-out approach to embracing innovative technology. By combining scientific research with artistic visualization, the city aims to inspire belief, foster alignment, and make informed decisions to shape a prosperous and futuristic urban landscape.

concept art
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