Description of the practice:
The city of Turku initiated safety walks in order to create together with the citizens safer, more equal and comfortable living environments. There are many actors in a city that are responsible for taking care of living environment for a specific area. Therefore, it may appear as challenging for citizens to know whom to contact to present their own ideas for improvements and concerns. Safety walk is a way to gather together authorities, associations, businesses, property owners and residents to discuss how they feel about their living and working environment and what could be done to improve it and make it safer. The safety walks were coordinated by the city of Turku and they are implemented as part of city’s participatory approach. The target groups may vary depending on the walk and the area.
- To plan together with the citizens how their living environment could be made safer, more equal and comfortable.
- To organize walks with citizens in neighbourhoods to hear their concerns and development ideas for a certain idea
- To get ideas from the locals with a view of identifying especially issues city officials are not aware
Residents experience their living environment different depending on their gender, age or background and therefore it is important that different people can express their concerns and present ideas and also to listen what others have to say. Safety walks can be implemented in different ways: to gather large amount of general information about the living environment from the residents or other actors or to focus on a specific target group and limited geographical scope. Safety walks can be organized during the day but also in the evenings to get different point of view. The walk is about 2km and includes five stops in hot spots were issues are discussed between city officials and citizens on what causes insecurity and what could be improved.
Turku has organized among other walks in Runosmäki district that have produced many ideas from locals on how to improve safety and security in the area. Also social media has been used to collect opinions.
Communication & Dissemination
The safety walks have been promoted via social media and through advertisement boards in local shops.
Practices were changed and improvements such as adding lighting have been made to improve the feeling of security. Communication of the city has also been developed to reach more people to take part in similar initiatives.
Further description of the experiences:
The challenge is to get the concerns of the people turned into concrete actions and to evaluate what change have they done. In future, the ideas could be registered in an open database.
Further utilisation of the good practice
Similar walks have already been organized elsewhere with other themes.