The new Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics is one of a kind
Experts from different educational backgrounds come together at the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics that began operations at the beginning of the year, says Head of Department Kauko Viitanen.
Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulun maankäyttötieteiden laitos syntyi, kun maanmittaustieteiden laitos ja Yhdyskuntasuunnittelun tutkimus- ja koulutuskeskus YTK yhdistyivät.
̶The Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics at the School of Engineering was formed with the merger of the Department of Surveying and the YTK Land Use Planning and Urban Studies Group.
- Our department is unique in the context of Finnish universities. The coming together of surveying, land use planning and urban studies created a unique combination. The arrangement has opened up new perspectives, and our networks are expanding to cover an increasing number of international universities, states Professor Viitanen.
Large variety of educational backgrounds
According to Viitanen, the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics is unusually multidisciplinary in character, and can almost be described as Aalto University in miniature. The eight professors in the department include experts in surveying and architecture as well as a civil engineer and a lawyer. Doctoral candidates, too, do not come exclusively from an engineering background, but many of them have completed their Master's degree in fields such as geography, architecture, political science, economics and even art.
- At our department, students with different educational backgrounds can specialise in real estate, geoinformatics or land use planning. Comparable programmes do not exist elsewhere in Finland.
International cooperation and social policy
The department places a strong emphasis on international cooperation and, aside from scientific publication activities, reports and recommendations are produced at the department in cooperation with international universities and organisations.
The guidance material produced is aimed to assist decision-makers, public authorities, companies, land owners and users as well as NGOs. The guidance and recommendations are accounted for in the legislative work of several countries.
- We have, for example, prepared recommendations for land expropriation in cooperation with the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The recommendations have been delivered to more than one hundred countries.
According to Viitanen, the department is continuously carrying out cooperation projects with international universities. At the moment, a joint publication and a series of journal articles on the theme "Trading zones in urban planning" are being prepared with Politecnico di Milano. The article that launched the cooperation has been nominated for the AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning) Best Paper Prize this year.
Text: Tea Kalska
Three research groups currently operate at the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics: the Real Estate Research Group, the Geomatics Research Group and the YTK Land Use Planning and Urban Studies Group. Joint focal areas of the groups include intelligent, human-oriented built environment and the measuring, modeling and mitigation of the effects of climate change. The department employs a total of 140 persons.
Professor Kauko Viitanen, kauko.viitanen [at] aalto [dot] fi
Head of the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics
Tel. +358 (0)50 560 3873