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The Konala Game
Finland

Keyword: Community Participation & Urban Governance

Background

Konala is a neighbourhood with a population of 5,000 in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. It has been developed gradually during the past 50 years. Its identity needs reinforcing.

The neighbourhood's lower level primary school emphasizes environmental education. A simple board game was considered an appropriate way to introduce the appreciation of environmental values to the youngest school children.

The school, the parent's association and the neighbourhood association developed the Konala Game together. In its present form the Konala Game is a simple board game that can be set up anywhere.


Narrative

    Konala - one of the postwar neighbourhoods in Helsinki

Konala is a neighbourhood with a population of 5000 in the northwestern part of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. It is situated on a major highway and is a location of numerous work places.

Konala was farmland at least back to the 16th century. The new neighbourhood has been developed gradually since the 1930s. Today the housing stock consists of one-family housing from the 1930s and 1940s, small blocks of flats built in the 1950s and 1960s and prefabricated blocks of flats built from the 1970s onwards. The development still goes on.
 

    Konala's identity needs reinforcing
    The Konala Game

The neighbourhood's lower level primary school emphasizes environmental education. It was envisaged that the awareness of the environmental values must be built upon the love for one's own community.

A simple board game was considered an appropriate way to get the youngest school children involved. The school, the parent's association and the neighbourhood association developed the Konala Game together.

The Konala Game is a board game in which the players operate in their own community - the board is based on a hand-drawn map of the neighbourhood and the "events" of the game tell about the activities of the area: shops, community centres, open spaces etc.
 

    The goal and the strategy for achieving it
     

  • The game introduces players to the community and to the present and past of their neighbourhood.
  • The game explains the physical structure of the community and housing, services and jobs.
  • The game fosters a sense of community and links players with their environment and the history of the area, so that they realize that they are links in a chain of generations.

Understanding the neighbourhood and its history builds up community spirit and co-operation. A sense of responsibility is a common goal.

The game provides exact information about the neighbourhood. It is important that the game is based carefully on facts.

The Konala Game shows that everyday surroundings can provide children, youth and adults alike, with an opportunity to build an experiential relationship with their environment. This fosters genuine attachment to the neighbourhood on the basis of which a positive attitude towards protection of the environment and the cultural tradition it contains can develop and grow.


Impact

  • A simple, low-cost tool for environmental education.
  • The game was developed jointly by school children, tachers and parents.
  • The same approach can be easily replicated and applied in accordance with the technology and other resources available.

Sustainability

Neighbourhood games can be developed on every environment: the underlying idea is universal

In its present form the Konala Game is a simple board game that can be set up anywhere. Computer applications of the idea are also possible; for example a CD-ROM with sound effects and additional information.

Also larger entities can be developed from the game. Entities comprising blocks, neighbourhoods and entire urban district can be built up in the manner of maps of adjacent areas.

Computer applications in particular would permit events to be played out in larger areas or in each other's areas. In this way, the children can familiarize themselves in different neighbourhoods.


Contact

    Konala Primary School
    Riihipellonkuja 2
    Helsinki
    Finland
    FIN-00390
    358-0-541 775

Sponsor

    Konala Primary School
    Konala Primary School
    Riihipellonkuja 2
    Helsinki
    Finland
    FIN-00390
    358-0-541 775

Partners

    Konala Primary School Parents' Association
    Salonen, Ms. Marjatta/Headmaster
    Riihipellonkuja 2
    Helsinki
    Finland
    FIN-00390
    358-0-541 775

    Vesterinen-Sumu, Ms. Elina
    Aestajantie 1
    Helsinki
    Finland
    FIN-00390
    358-0-541 775


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