Maunula is a neighbourhood of 7200 residents in North Helsinki. It is one of the older suburbs in Helsinki with most of its housing built in the 1950s post-war period. Well-known architects took part in the design of ideal apartment blocks for families, situated next to green areas, kindergartens and schools. As a result Maunula today has unified areas of 1950's quality social housing, and the National Board of Antiquities has included the neighbourhood in its register of nationally important built environments.
Maunula is a green district, with 153 hectares of forest and 27 hectares of park area – 85 square meters of park for each inhabitant! The nature in Maunula is varied including meadows and a hazel grove, and the small Maunula stream even has a trout population. Within the parks and forests there is a dense network of cycling, jogging and skiing routes, a recreation hut with sauna and an allotment garden. The Maunula nature trail is a guided route around the various ecosystems of Maunula.
Demographically, Maunula is the oldest neighbourhood in Helsinki: in 2015, 23% of inhabitants are over 65 years of age. 14% of the residents are foreign language speakers and 16% unemployed. Almost 65% of Maunula's residents live in rental apartments. Services in Maunula include the public health centre (Helsinki's most visited by the inhabitants), the Suursuo hospital, and a care home for the elderly run by the Helander foundation. Both primary school and secondary schools in Maunula have international, English-speaking classes.
There is a strong tradition of collaboration in Maunula, the neighbourhood is known for its group renovation projects and has been awarded for its community innovations. The Net Maunula project of early 2000's brought cheap broadband services, and even online video church services to homes. The Maunula district's forum is an ongoing series of open events for citizen co-planning that now reaches its 115th edition. Currently there is an active “direct” democracy group and a participatory budgeting project to develop the cultural services of the new Maunula house.
Of special interest for collaborative art are the following community venues:
* Saunabaari Community Centre, originally designed as a public sauna, now hosts a variety of activities run by Helsinki social services and the residents – sewing, knitting and ceramics workshops, dance and yoga training, lunch and coffee among others.
* Maunula Media workshop, run by Maunula neighbourhood association and volunteers, is an internet access and IT support centre. At Saunabaari's street level, the Media workshop also is the headquarters for the quarterly newspaper Maunulan Sanomat.
* Maunula House, opening in 2016, will serve the residents by bringing together actitivities of the library, the youth office, and the adult education institute of Helsinki City. The Maunula democracy group, open to all residents, participates in planning the activities of the Maunula House.
More on Maunula:
International guide Explore Maunula by Maunulan Sanomat Newspaper 2015