A1 Journal article – refereed
Local politics and planning over transnational initiatives: the case of Guggenheim Helsinki

List of Authors: Davide Ponzini, Sampo Ruoppila
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Online
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Journal of Urban Design
Volume number: 23
Issue number: 2
Number of pages: 16
ISSN: 1357-4809
eISSN: 1469-9664


There has been a tendency to portray
municipalities as prone recipients of transnational growth-oriented development
initiatives. The processes of transferring transnational urban development
models are increasingly depicted as progressively de-politicized, with an
emphasis on ‘strategic projects’ over long-term general planning. This study
investigating the Guggenheim Helsinki museum initiative (2011–2016) provides
one counter-example to highlight the relevance of local politics and planning.
In Helsinki, the mayor-driven attempt at de-politicization was quickly rejected
by the city council, which instead kept the initiative under political control,
supported by a rich public debate highlighting crucial weaknesses and risks in
the proposals. The municipality tried negotiating a better deal and adapting
the initiative to the local context, including the museum design being shaped
by Helsinki’s planning ideals and guidelines. However, the initiative was
eventually rejected after a negative risk assessment showing too much
dependence on public funding. The study shows that, instead of acting as prone
recipients, cities may invest in public debate, improve their ability to assess
projects, and avoid bypassing regulations, planning procedures or democratic
decision making as if this was required by generic forces of globalization.

Internal Authors/Editors

Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 11:10