The shopping centre Trio is located in the city centre of Lahti, a medium-sized city less than 100 kilometres from Helsinki. In the Lahti region, a large part of the retail properties is located outside the city centre. This poses certain challenges to the competitiveness of the city centre. This, combined with e-commerce pressure, has caused Lahti city centre to become less vibrant than it could be.
The Feeling of a Lack of Safety
Unfortunately, the tough competition has not been the only challenge in the Lahti city centre. During the winter and spring of 2018, there was also lots of media coverage concerning safety issues and the crime rate in the Lahti city centre area. Consequently, many people began to feel that the city centre was not safe enough. This was already a second major challenge to the city centre in Lahti.
In the May of 2018, Citycon conducted a web survey to find out how the locals feel about the Lahti city centre and Trio. The survey confirmed that people indeed had concerns about the safety and cosiness of the Lahti city centre.
Community Event Invited by Citycon
At Citycon, we felt that these challenges involve all city centre operators and property owners, the municipality included – not just us. It was a bigger question than whether or not people would visit and do their shopping in Trio. Therefore, we decided to take initiative.
The management team at Trio organised a public discussion meeting and invited the media, municipality officials, urban development and security experts to join – as well as the local community.
We actively raised the challenges and engaged ourselves and other stakeholders in the open discussion. We talked about Trio’s challenges and pointed out that other property owners have similar concerns. In our opinion, the city centre needs more residents and more visitors. This would enhance people’s sense of safety, since empty street corners are easily considered unsafe.
A lively and wide public discussion on urban development themes was launched after the event. It is a joint effort to develop the city centre. We hope that all stakeholders are now more open to new solutions to have more residents and new business in the city centre.