FEMMA Planning is an urban planning company led by two urban geographers Milla Kallio and Efe Ogbeide. At the heart of their work is commitment to understanding different urban realities and experiences. FEMMA Planning transforms place-based and residential data into guidelines that architects, urban planners or decision-makers can use in their work.

FEMMA Planning spent one month in the East Helsinki-based cultural centre Museum of Impossible Forms in the spring of 2021. The center is located at an old shopping mall in a neighbourhood called Kontula, which is often stigmatized in the media as a restless place to live. The result of fiscal austerity and historical urban planning decisions such as placing large amounts of rental dwellings in Kontula has led to the situation where structural inequality shows in the neighbourhood. There have also been many different projects and research that aim to develop the Kontula area. Often without including the residents or without aiming to address the structural inequalities.

During the residency FEMMA Planning’s founders, Efe Ogbeide and Milla Kallio conducted interviews with local residents and organizations operating in Kontula as well as got to know the area. Not surprisingly, the image that the media often paints of Kontula did not match the experiences of the residents.

In the short podcast we reflect on our residency in the Museum of Impossible Forms and ask the question:

What would happen to storytelling, urban planning, and decision-making if we shifted the perspective on Kontula and other similar neighbourhoods and started to ask what they need?