Finding Phenomena: Meanwhile
Originally published in BUM Edition 4: Hone under the name Franny Françoise. Illustration by Roosa Melentjeff.
For the last couple of years, my daily cycle across Helsinki has taken me through the construction site of the Jokeri Light Rail, a 25 kilometre tramway which will link Itäkeskus in the east, to Keilaniemi in the west. 25 kilometres makes rather a large construction site, and the portion I’ve been passing through is right in the middle of the planned route, in Pirkkola. As I write, during summer 2021, this stretch is more or less complete. With the tram itself yet to arrive, a rather wonderful linear park, all wild flowers and meadowy grasses, dragonflies swooping around the pylons and crickets chirping between the tracks, has sprung up.
Post-industrial landscape design has been flourishing since the early 90s, but what we have here is almost the reverse, a pre-industrial landscape, a yet-to-be-industrial landscape, or possibly a between-industries landscape. The Jokeri Light Rail is due to open in early-2024, which means there will be two more summers to enjoy this ever-expanding linear park. How beautiful if it could be celebrated during its short life? Alongside the burgeoning wildlife, perhaps a summer series of events and workshops could be organised, building on the sustainable ambitions of the new tramline, which replaces the busy 550 bus route, and perhaps even setting a precedent for the tramline’s own post-industrial future? A permanent 25km green corridor in 2121? Why not?