Last week the university community was caught by surprise when it went viral that the small forest between Educarium and Calonia is going to be torn down and turned into a car park for Aurum, the new building that is being built to the university hill. The constructor is the University Properties of Finland.
We, the Student Union of the University of Turku, are against this plan. The campus is not a car park, on the contrary, it should be the pleasant and green heart of the community.
The University of Turku is in many ways highlighting that when it develops its operations it is doing so respectfully to environmental values. For instance, sustainable development is going to be an embedded theme in the University's strategy of 2020-2030. Adding a car park in the middle of the campus is a strange way of showing that we are a sustainable community. A student or a member of staff may purchase a parking spot for themselves for eighteen euros per month. The price is very low, and it might not even cover the expenses of the car parks. Hence, the University is financially supporting members of the community that commute by car. The price of a travel card for a month is around fifty euros from Föli, maybe it is time to support sustainable ways to commute to the university?
The Policy document of the Student Union states that the transport of the campus should be developed in terms of bicycle and walking roads. How many parking spots do we actually need at the campus? The University of Turku has around 3500 staff members and we already have 1200 parking spots. When walking through the campus one notices, that many of the car parks are half empty. The areas reserved for bicycles are always full.
In our opinion, the biggest problem in this plan is that the car park is located in the middle of the campus. On the edges of the campus, e.g. on Assistentinkatu, there is enough room for cars. The car park on Assistentinkatu could be enlarged and it is located 200 metres from the place where the new car park would be built. According to research, green spaces increase the wellbeing of people. The campus should be developed on the terms of humans, not cars. The University of Turku should start a steering group on developing the campus so that the campus can be developed comprehensively and in a sustainable manner.
It is not too late to stop University Properties of Finland’s plan to build a car park between Educarium and Calonia. The need to build new parking spots should be evaluated again and old practices that have to do with parking spots should be revised in order to create a sustainable university community.
We stand with “Puistoprotesti: Ei parkkipaikkaa Caloniankujan puistoon” -event. You can read and sign an address here.
The University Properties of Finland and the University of Turku are organising an information event on 4.10.2019, and the construction work is on pause at least until this event.
The Executive Board of TYY,
+358 45 3205125