Puistokatu 4's researcher members

44 academic researchers from different disciplines work at Puistokatu 4, with building for an ecologically sustainable future at the heart of their research. The researcher members work in the Science Attic on the third floor of Puistokatu 4.


Read more about our researcher members below!

Hanna-Kaisa Alanen
Hanna-Kaisa Alanen, Doctoral Researcher in Cognitive Science, University of Jyväskylä and University of Vaasa

“I am a designer who has jumped into the academic world to carry out a dissertation on the individual and collective experience of human-technology interaction through the paradigm of fashion. My research touches on the everyday experiential dimensions of systemic change and I use qualitative methods and the multidisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. My goal is to produce content for sustainable human-driven innovation processes.


I am currently working as a project researcher at the University of Vaasa, although I live in Helsinki. The Science Attic of Puistokatu 4 as a multidisciplinary science hub seems like the kind of place where you can reflect on thoughts and ideas with others and get to know new people.”

Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti
Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti, Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Energy Technology, LUT University

“I have been studying energy system change from different perspectives for about 15 years. Currently, my research is aimed at developing an understanding of the social sustainability of socio-technical systems. I am particularly interested in how regional communities and residents benefit most from renewable energy. The energy revolution will not deliver a sustainable future if we repeat the same mistakes as in our other industrial policies, namely forgetting about people and communities, their vitality and benefits, and the environment.


During my academic career, I have been involved in setting up and maintaining a wide range of community activities, such as reading and study circles and networks. Our study circle for practice theory celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. It is a form of academic activism, where we uphold academic freedom and foster academic good, providing a safe haven for all those seeking to break free from academic shackles.”


X: @ELApajalahti

Vaula Berg
Vaula Berg, Doctoral Researcher in Management and Organisation, Turku School of Economics

“I am a social psychologist and holistic coach whose PhD research is aimed at understanding how to support the well-being and flourishing of changemakers. In my research, I explore what kind of internal transformation is linked to the intention to thrive and flourish and to serve life on earth. The dissertation seeks to develop a new perspective on the importance of slowing down, self-reflection, heart-centred agency and the necessary processes of inner transformation as we move towards a conscious and sustainable way of being and living in relation to ourselves, others and nature.


I am currently working as an independent grant researcher. It’s wonderful to meet others, be inspired and share ideas at Puistokatu 4!”

Otto Bruun
Otto Bruun, Doctoral Researcher in Environmental Law, University of Eastern Finland

“Why are sustainability transitions so slow and difficult for society – even though there is plenty of research on what needs to be done? This is the question that haunts me, and that is why my PhD explores how the justification for the regulation and policies required for sustainability transitions is constructed. In particular, I focus on agriculture and forestry in the Nordic countries, and in particular on the tension between private land ownership and sustainability transitions.


I believe that my research may be of interest to others in the community of Puistokatu 4. look forward to interacting with other researchers and agent members.”


X: @OttoBruun

Katariina Buure
Katariina Buure, Doctoral Researcher in Environmental Engineering, LUT University

“I am working on my PhD on the tensions and development opportunities between sustainability and technological and business innovation. I am currently writing a paper on carbon capture, a topic that is centrally linked to building an ecologically sustainable future. I am exploring how can innovation be implemented in a sustainable way and how could this be promoted? What bottlenecks can be identified? My research does not only focus on ecological sustainability as I will also look at the linkages in the area of social sustainability.


Our university campuses are in Lappeenranta and Lahti, and I live in Helsinki, so I am currently working mainly alone and remotely. I am interested in getting to know other researchers and research topics, and I am looking forward to the practical opportunity to meet people and share ideas.”

Violeta Gutierrez Zamora
Violeta Gutierrez Zamora, Postdoctoral researcher in Environmental policy, LUKE

“My current research revolves around natural fibers, specifically bamboo, as a bioeconomic solution for products labeled as sustainable. Bamboo is generally considered more ecologically sustainable than other synthetic and organic materials, and global demand is increasing. Southeast Asia has a long tradition of using bamboo in everyday life. More recently, development projects have also been promoting bamboo as a valuable non-timber forest product in several countries of this region. My research aims to understand how bamboo’s everyday uses and values are changing in the rural communities that harvest it and the impacts of the so-called bamboo boom.


I was part of Nessling Nest during my Ph.D. writing process. The environment created among researchers and other people involved was inspiring due to the plurality of ideas around diverse topics. I firmly believe that face-to-face interaction nurtures my thinking and research. My purpose for working in Puistokatu 4 is to be involved in a convivial research environment.”

Viola Hakkarainen
Viola Hakkarainen, Postdoctoral Researcher in Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki

“I am a sustainability scientist and postdoctoral researcher at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), currently working on understanding urban biodiversity and the multiple values and value conflicts associated with it. I also research and develop creative and embodied learning methods for sustainability education. I often apply cross-disciplinary research, facilitate workshops and use creative methods in my research.


In the future, I would like to communicate sustainability research to a wider audience and use my expertise more strongly as an advocate for ecological sustainability. At Puistokatu 4, I hope to create new connections with researchers and discuss and imagine new paths to a more sustainable and just world.”


X: violahak

Vilma Halonen
Vilma Halonen, Doctoral Researcher, LUT University

“I am studying the impact of household consumption on consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions, the willingness and ability of households to make consumption changes to reduce emissions and how this could be supported by public policies. My research is set in a suburban context, with the focus on emission reduction solutions supported by cities and municipalities. The research is based on life cycle and carbon footprint calculations.

At the moment I do most of my research alone at home, as I live in Helsinki and my workplace is in Lahti. I hope to find Science Attic a community-based place to work, where I can share ideas and thoughts and plan collaborations with other researchers in different fields.”

Elsi Hyttinen
Elsi Hyttinen, Docent in Literary Studies, University of Turku

“As a literary scholar, I am particularly interested in how we currently live in a time of competing narratives in relation to the environment: on a wet black night, we sing of a white Christmas. In my project, we look for new, emergent ways of talking about the environment in contemporary literature as it is now, not as it once was. I see that the task of literary studies could be to collect these different ways, to systematize them and frame them, and thereby give people ways to navigate between competing narratives.


I am happy to share my work and its findings. I would be particularly interested in a range of events based on dialogue and genuine debate, combining good preparation with the unpredictability of a live situation.”

Jessica Jungell-Michelsson
Jessica Jungell-Michelsson, Doctoral researcher in sustainability sciences, University of Helsinki

“Food is an essential part of everyday life. At the same time, food consumption and production is one of the major forces contributing to exceeding the known planetary boundaries. To understand how food can be produced and consumed in an ecologically (and socially) more sustainable way is crucial to stay within the natural limits of our planet.  With my research I hope to be able to contribute to a more systemic understanding of sustainability in food production and consumption.


I am eager to learn from others and other kinds of research. In addition, my experiences from Nessling Nest shows me that peer support is also very important during the PhD process, and this is something I hope that can be achieved also at Puistokatu (giving and receiving peer support
and getting new friends!).”

Henna Juusola
Henna Juusola, Postdoctoral Researcher in Administrative Sciences, University of Tampere

“My research is linked to the promotion of eco-socially sustainable higher education and thus to the promotion of planetary well-being in society at large. The stimulation of eco-socially fair development through research is central to my research design. In my research, I apply a nexus analysis based on the traditions of ethnography and discourse analysis. In this way, my research is also linked to the tradition of activist research (so-called ‘militant research’).


I would like to share my research both through informal discussions and through various organised debates such as workshops or panel discussions. Informal discussions can sometimes lead to joint implementations between different disciplines and actors.”



X: @HennaJuusola

Sanna Karhu
Sanna Karhu, Postdoctoral researcher in gender studies, University of Helsinki

“I am a philosopher and develop ecofeminist thinking that explores the social, political and intersectional dimensions of the ecocrisis. In particular, I explore the issue of speciesism, or species segregation, from the perspective of intensive animal production. Our animal-based food system is not only an ecological threat but also a serious ethical and political problem. Through my research, I want to contribute to the understanding of the ecocrisis. It is not just a technological or scientific challenge, but an emergency threatening the viability of our planet, which requires a profound but urgent change in our way of thinking. Philosophy, ecofeminism and critical animal studies have much to contribute.


I am a researcher-activist and involved in organisations such as Extinction Rebellion. I feel that activism is an important part of the social impact of my research.”



IG: @sannakarhufilosofi

Sarah Kilpeläinen
Sarah Kilpeläinen, Postdoctoral researcher in international relations, University of Tampere

“In my work I focus on the political and societal consequences of the transition to a carbon-neutral energy system based on renewable energy sources. The IPCC reports have repeatedly underscored that fossil-based energy systems are responsible for climate change, environmental degradation as well as associated societal consequences affecting vulnerable communities disproportinately. The energy transition is not only a switch of technologies, but instead is also a politically contested process that brings with it deep societal changes that carry with them questions of power and justice.


I have developed a keen interest in inclusive ways of knowledge co-production and knowledge weaving. I look to find likeminded colleagues at Puistokatu 4 to not only discuss with and learn from, but also to experiment with ideas as part of activities at Puistokatu 4. Fostering and benefitting from a space for mutual learning is a key reason for my application.”


LinkedIn: @sarahkilpelainen

Anni Kärkkäinen
Anni Kärkkäinen, Doctoral researcher in Law, University of Eastern Finland

“In my dissertation, I study the environmental impact assessment process (EIA) in the sustainability transition. From a legal perspective, the EIA procedure is an environmental regulatory tool that examines the environmental impacts of projects and allows for public participation. In particular, in the context of the objective of increasing renewable energy in the context of the green transition, the legislation on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) has recently been the subject of many proposals for reform. In my research, I examine EIA legislation and related reforms, and assess how these reforms are perceived from the perspective of, for example, halting habitat loss and other environmental protection objectives.


I am working on my dissertation remotely for the University of Eastern Finland, so the work is very solitary at times. That’s why it’s great to be part of the Puistokatu 4 community and get to know other people working on the same issues!”



LinkedIn: @annikarkkainen

Maija Lassila
Maija Lassila, Postdoctoral Researcher in Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki & HELSUS

“In my postdoctoral project, I explore alternative definitions of sustainability and transition, material-intensive and market-driven, to the extractivist green transition. I will continue my research in the Sodankylä area, especially with reindeer herders. I will also extend my research abroad in the near future.


My second degree is in fine arts and I also use visual methods in my research.”

Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti
Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti, Docent of Cultural Heritage, University of Turku

“I study the forms and impact of bog art in Finland. In particular, I examine how bog art, as an intangible cultural heritage that combines natural and cultural values, addresses our relationship with nature. In the past, I have studied, among other things, the characteristics, changes and visions of the relationship with the sea in interviews with residents of Suomenlinna. I have also been working on a museum development project to strengthen the future and sustainability orientation of museums.


In the Science Attic, I want to contribute to the community in many ways: by discussing, presenting, working on collaborative projects and communicating my research on social media.”

Teemu Loikkanen
Teemu Loikkanen, Doctoral researcher in sociology, University of Lapland

“The circular economy is one of the key transitions to steer society in a more ecologically sustainable direction. As a sociologist, I am particularly interested in what kind of citizens the circular economy needs to work: what is expected of us as citizens to make the transition possible. Critical social science research is needed to examine sustainability transitions.


I would like to use my research to make the role of citizens in the circular economy clearer and more diverse. I have spoken at a wide range of events,  such as the Circular Economy event organised by the French Embassy’s Science Institute and Sitra. My hope is to build interaction between different social groups in making an ecologically sustainable future.”


X: @SocietyWaste

Emma Luoma
Emma Luoma, Doctoral researcher in environmental policy, University of Eastern Finland

“Complex and conflicting environmental problems require the ability of different actors in society to work together to solve problems, i.e. to have a collaborative capacity. The aim of my research is to increase our understanding of what such capacity is and where and how it develops in practice. My research material consists of processes that have successfully resolved very challenging situations by investing in interaction between the parties, building understanding and trust, as well as a shared knowledge base and a well-structured facilitated process. It is the way of doing that counts and therefore my research seeks to identify the factors behind the success of these processes.


Puistokatu 4 provides a much needed space for the cross-fertilisation of different views and research. I am happy to share my own research topics and findings with those who are interested, and I am also happy to help and comment on the work of others.”


LinkedIn: @emmaluoma

Linda Majander
Linda Majander, Doctoral researcher in social work, University of Jyväskylä

“My research addresses the need for change in higher education from a global perspective in an era of ecological reconstruction. My research aims to highlight the detrimental effects of some of our established ways of thinking on ecological reconstruction and to look for opportunities for a more planetary prosperous future.


My research requires an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainability issues, which I can deepen in the community of Puistokatu 4. At the same time, I am happy to share my expertise with other researchers, actors and the wider public.”

Erkki Mervaala
Erkki Mervaala, Doctoral Researcher in Communication Studies, University of Helsinki

“I am currently studying media representations of climate change and economic growth and analysing their interrelationship using AI tools. I would like to contribute to society by uncovering narratives and possible thought biases in the public debate on the climate-economy axis.


I hope to help the Puistokatu 4 community at least in the adoption and use of machine learning and AI research methods related to these themes.”

Henri Nevalainen
Henri Nevalainen, Doctoral reseracher in social psychology, University of Tampere

“My research focuses specifically on the experience of threat in different interaction situations. A broader understanding of the situations people perceive as threatening promotes democracy and helps to prevent polarisation and confrontation in our society.


There are currently no interaction researchers working on the Puistokatu 4, so I believe that I could bring a new perspective and enable a new kind of interdisciplinary discussion. I hope that as my research progresses, I can also help other researchers to put their findings into practice.”

Daniela Nousiainen
Daniela Nousiainen, Doctoral researcher in forest sciences, University of Eastern Finland

“In my research, I focus on conflicts that occur in and around forests. I analyze existing conflicts in the EU and explore possible bridges in disputes around the use of forests and propose solutions for conflict management. In a world that counts on forest resources in its sustainable future, it is important to manage conflicts that arise from differing opinions about forest use.


In my free time, I also volunteer for an NGO People for Democratic Change Slovakia that supports people’s capability to talk to each other. I always enjoy being an active member of various communities and working on meaningful things together. As I have worked remotely for some time now, I have missed the opportunity to connect with people and share ideas.”

Mikael Nurminen
Mikael Nurminen, Doctoral researcher in marketing, University of Tampere

“I study corporate stakeholder conflicts in the transition to a circular economy. I am part of Wastebusters, a food waste and circular economy research group at Tampere University. The consumer citizen is the main unit of analysis in the work of our research team, but my own research focus is more at the macro level, in understanding and dismantling the socio-cultural and structural barriers to the circular economy.


Communicating clear and accessible scientific information to the outside world is of paramount importance, and I can contribute to this with my expertise. I am on the editorial board of Alusta!, an e-publication of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tampere University. Alusta! publishes interdisciplinary and general science journalism on university research.”

Tina Nyfors
Tina Nyfors, Doctoral researcher in sustainability Science, University of Helsinki

“I’m exploring the potential of moderation in decision-making and how the concept of moderation is understood at the grassroots level, among the activists of Kohtuusliike. The interplay of both ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ approaches is at the heart of my research.


For a PhD researcher, the working community and getting to know colleagues working on the same topic is central. Puistokatu 4 offers a unique opportunity to be part of a solution-oriented working community where everyone is united in building an ecologically sustainable future.”


X: @TinaNyfors

Hanna Paulomäki
Hanna Paulomäki, Doctoral Researcher in ecology, Aalto University

“I am working on a textbook project on planetary boundaries for energy engineers. In my book, I bring together existing research on planetary boundaries and the natural impacts and technical solutions of renewable energies in a new way. My aim is to increase energy engineers’ understanding of the potential impacts of major projects on nature, and how to avoid, minimise and compensate for these impacts.


My intention at the Science Attic is to write, network and exchange thoughts and ideas with researchers in different fields. I hope that the Puistokatu community will give rise to novel ideas on how to build an ecologically sustainable future and communicate solutions.”

Lasse Peltonen
Lasse Peltonen, Professor of enviromental policy, University of Eastern Finland

“I study environmental conflicts and conflict resolution. My current theme is the tensions and conflicts of the so-called green transition. In addition to conflict resolution, I attach importance to conflict anticipation and the development of collaborative approaches to complex sustainability challenges. I see research and teaching as ways to influence and change the world. My work also has an impact through commissions and interventions at Akordi Oy.


Last year I was a member of the Akordi team at Puistokatu 4. The experience was inspiring and Puistokatu became a familiar place for me.”


X: @LassePeltonen

Sara Peltola
Sara Peltola, Doctoral Researcher in education, University of Jyväskylä

“The aim of my PhD research is to clarify how the relationship between humans and the rest of nature is described, constructed and replicated in educational guidance practices. I want to stimulate debate on the role of guidance in the sustainability transition of society and in developing education and working life for a sustainable future.


At Puistokatu, I like to be involved in everyday discussions, debates around different themes, and various interdisciplinary research projects and papers.”

Sonja Pietiläinen
Sonja Pietiläinen, Doctoral Researcher in political geography, University of Oulu

“I am working on a doctoral thesis on the climate-denialism of the radical right and the relationship between the tightening border policy and the climate crisis. Increasing nationalism contradicts the perspective needed to solve the climate crisis: environmental problems and climate change do not respect national borders, but affect those who are already in the most unequal positions. My research is based on textual analysis, ethnographic observations and interviews where I have tried to understand climate skepticism and the spatial dimensions of anti-climate policy on a personal level.


The Science Attic is a fruitful place to work in terms of my doctoral dissertation. My dissertation is not part of any larger research project, which is why my work is sometimes lonely. From the point of view of my work and coping, I consider all community and social issues to be very meaningful and important, such as interesting discussions, new encounters and spontaneous insights.”

Miina Porkka
Miina Porkka, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Eastern Finland

“I study global water resources and the impact of human activities on water resources. I would like my research to open up new perspectives on our approach to water and the ways in which we interact with it: to see (fresh) water as an important part of a wider, planet-wide system, rather than just as a local or regional resource.


My international networks in my field are extensive (for example, I have been involved in the latest Planetary Boundary Assessment), and I am happy to share the latest research in my networks. I hope to gain new perspectives on my research from the meetings and discussions in the Puistokatu 4. On the other hand I want to offer other members of the Science Attic the opportunity to link to my networks when research interests meet.”



X: @miinaporkka

Taneli Rajala
Taneli Rajala, Doctoral researcher in sustainability sciences, University of Helsinki

“I study chemicalisation as a creeping crisis and a risk management issue. Industrial chemical emissions permeate our daily lives and are already breaking planetary safety barriers, like the climate crisis and the loss of nature. Environmental crises overlap, but my background as a chemist has directed my interest to chemicals, which I approach through the means environmental research.


My research critically analyses the direction of national chemicals management under the renewed EU regulatory framework. I am looking for new collaborative responses to chemical policy issues where traditional regulation falters but which are of proven critical public interest. Puistokatu 4 is familiar and important to me, having worked there as a Communications Specialist for the THA Foundation.”



X: @RajalaTaneli

Kukka Ranta
Kukka Ranta, Doctoral Researcher in Social Sciences, University of Lapland

“My research focuses on indigenous peoples’ rights in the midst of the climate and nature crisis. The pressure to use Arctic natural resources is increasing, as Europe struggles to escape its fossil fuel dependence. In my work, I map the overall picture of industrialisation in the Sámi homeland in order to assess the cumulative effects. My goal is to identify assimilating societal structures and to ensure an ecologically more sustainable future and the wellbeing of the Sámi as a part of a just transition in cooperation with Sámi communities, human rights actors and researchers.


I bring to Puistokatu my knowledge of indigenous peoples’ rights and the state of the environment and human rights in the Arctic region. I am happy to discuss topics and share information, and I am eager to learn about the work and research of others. My own university is located far away in Rovaniemi, which is why Puistokatu 4 offers me a particularly important multidisciplinary environment for the development of thought and research.”

Sanja Riikonen
Sanja Riikonen, Doctoral Researcher in Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland

“My research explores the environmental sustainability of the pharmaceutical sector and the potential for industry players to go green under the guidance and pressure of ongoing regulatory change. The pharmaceutical sector is associated with both biodiversity impacts (pharmaceutical residues entering the environment) and climate impacts (pharmaceutical production and long distribution chains, etc.), and a green transition is also needed in the pharmaceutical sector to achieve an ecologically sustainable future. I want my research to provide new insights into the concrete actions that could be taken to support it.


I am happy to present my research to people at Puistokatu 4 and really interesting to share knowledge and discuss the topic with researchers from different fields. The pharmaceutical sector is strongly linked to many sectors of society and also to broader issues such as planetary health.”

Johannes Roviomaa
Johannes Roviomaa, Doctoral Researcher in Social sciences, University of Lapland

“I am working on a documentary film about the future of the Arctic, produced by Rare Media. I want to bring Arctic research closer to southern Finland. The Arctic is warming up at a pace four times faster than the planet on average, so Arctic study is crucial for the future of our globe. However, the Arctic is not just a stage for tragedy, it is home to more than four million people and must be protected using every means at our disposal. One way to do this is to popularise the region’s research by making a film.


Finding answers to seemingly impossible questions requires a variety of narratives and, above all, new networks. I believe that the documentary is a prelude to a longer journey. My intention is to be involved in organising events and debates together with researchers, journalists, artists, activists and others.”

Heini-Emilia Saari
Heini-Emilia Saari, Doctoral Researcher in Geography and Architecture, London School of Economics (LSE)

“In my dissertation, I study wood as a building material for a sustainable society. Wood construction makes tangible how the ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ city of the future is inextricably linked to rural natural resources, knowledge, industry and labour. Yet in an urban society, rural life is often framed as part of an ‘unsustainable’ past. This dissertation challenges and diversifies notions of how to build a sustainable and more just society.


I am joyful about a curious research community and a dedicated environment where I can position myself as part of a debate that draws strength from diversity and uncertainty. Multidisciplinary research nurtures both the courage to build (possibilities, new perspectives) and the understanding to unravel (assumptions, power structures).”


LinkedIn: @heini-emilia-saari

Sonja Salomäki
Sonja Salomäki, Doctoral Researcher, University of Lapland

“My artist-led action research provides insights into the effectiveness of arts activism. For my research, I conceived and organised an experimental laboratory for activism art, the Climate Channel (2018), which tested the hypothesis that art methods can complement factual communication with an emotional dimension and make the reality of climate change more personal. The research is intended to promote active citizenship, hope and resilience. Its results can be used in areas such as art education, civic activism and the social sector.


I am interested in all kinds of research-related discussion, sharing, critique and problem-solving, as I have done my research far away from my university community – mainly working on my own. As an artist, incompleteness and even creative chaos (but with reason and a striving for methodology) are normal for me.”

Kirsi Salonen
Kirsi Salonen, Doctoral researcher in management, LUT University & University of Maastricht

“My thesis explores the strategies that companies can use to ensure that their operations not only minimise harm to nature and people, but also create the capacity for social and environmental systems to recover and thrive. On the other hand, I ask what obstacles or incentives stand in the way of such regenerative – or regenerative – business. The emerging debate on regeneration sees humans as a strong part of nature.


In my previous work in NGOs, most recently as Executive Director of Eetti, I have learned lessons in advocacy, communication and popularisation of researched knowledge for different audiences. The Puistokatu 4 community, events and networks provide excellent opportunities for all this to continue.”

Frans Saraste
Frans Saraste, Doctoral researcher in archictecture, Aalto University

“In my dissertation Heating Helsinki: An Architectural History of Fuel and Space, I examine the heating revolutions that took place in Helsinki in the 20th century. In my research, I use three case studies to find out how different fuels and their availability have affected the design and use of spaces of different scales.


Puistokatu 4 arouses great inspiration and admiration in me both as a building and as a community. The spontaneous encounters, conversations and events that take place here keep my soul warm and hopeful for the future.”

Oskari Sivula
Oskari Sivula, Doctoral researcher in philosophy, University of Turku

“In my dissertation, I explore the long-term environmental ethical issues related to space. As space activities increase, it is important to consider the impact of our actions beyond Earth. Building a sustainable future can no longer be confined within the boundaries of our planet, but must also consider the cosmic footprint of humanity.


I want to grow my networks of sustainability actors. I hope for a warm and constructive atmosphere in Puistokatu where it is good to work on environmental issues.”


X: @okisivula

Pihla Soinnunmaa
Pihla Soinnunmaa, Doctoral researcher in sustainability sciences, University of Helsinki

“I am exploring how formal education can support and teach a life-centred perspective rather than a human-centred one. A life-centred perspective seeks to orient thinking and action towards nurturing and nourishing the integrity of life on Earth. My dissertation research is based on the view, confirmed by studies of nature relations, that if people feel and understand that they are part of nature, they will act in a more environmentally responsible way. However, we are taught from childhood to separate humans from nature in a way that justifies short-sighted and excessive exploitation of the rest of nature. This is what I would like to be part of changing.


My dreams include brainstorming sessions and workshops, reflections and utopias on life-centred thinking with the community and networks of Puistokatu 4.”


LinkedIn: @pihla-soinnunmaa

Pasi Takkinen
Pasi Takkinen, Doctoral Researcher in philosophy, University of Tampere

“In my dissertation, which is located in the field of philosophy of education, I research the issues of post-sustainability and the sustainable relationship with technology. I continue on the problem by my dissertation supervisor Veli-Matti Värri, ‘Education in the era of eco-crisis’ (2018).


I will be happy to talk about my dissertation and my already completed research articles on Puistokatu. I am also open to various joint projects and events. Some of the Puistokatu 4 residents are already familiar to me through the events of the Nessling Foundation and Puistokatu 4, which I have had time to visit a lot!”

Mari Vanharanta
Mari Vanharanta, Doctoral researcher in marine biology, Syke

“My research aims to increase understanding to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. I aim to investigate which organisms use the excess phosphorus after the spring bloom before the blue-green algae mass emergence in July and August in the Gulf of Finland, and how much this phosphorus is useful for the formation of blue-green algae blooms. Eutrophication is still the biggest problem in the Baltic Sea and understanding nutrient dynamics is important in solving it.


I am interested in networking with researchers outside my own organisation who are working on building an ecologically sustainable future. I believe that exchanging ideas and thoughts with researchers from different disciplines will enrich my own understanding and thinking, and enable me to tackle broader environmental problems.”

Mikko Vesterinen
Mikko Vesterinen, Doctoral Researcher in Political Science, University of Tampere

“In my dissertation, I examine the environmental, social and economic aspects of parties’ urban planning objectives in the cities of Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu. Through these perspectives, I examine, among other things, how parties respond to the challenges of climate change, nature loss and residential segregation through urban planning.


I am open to sharing my expertise and knowledge from my research in all forms. For example, I have already written general articles and reviews on my dissertation for publications such as Politiikasta and the Helsingin Sanomat, and I am happy to continue to communicate my research results.”


X: @MikkoVesterinen

Minna Vigren
Minna Vigren, Postdoctoral Researcher in Computer Science, Aalto University

“In my postdoctoral project, I am developing the concept of eco-digital agency and methods for imagining alternative futures. When talking about digital technology and AI, it is important to talk about its ecological and social sustainability. These are issues that are not sufficiently taken into account in various sustainability strategies and when people make consumption choices.


I define myself as a researcher-activist. Workshops, seminars and producing educational and informative material are an integral part of my research project. I also experiment and develop new ways of working with my work community.”



Katri Weckroth
Katri Weckroth, Doctoral Researcher in marketing, University of Tampere

“In my dissertation, I study meat consumption reduction from a socio-cultural perspective, focusing on everyday consumption practices. I am particularly interested in how meat consumption is discussed in commercial discourses and how the diversity and controversial nature of meat consumption and reduction is reflected in the everyday lives of consumers. The broader purpose of my dissertation project is to increase understanding of more sustainable lifestyles and well-being within the capacity of the planet.


Since major changes and sustainable well-being require cooperation and interaction, Puistokatu 4 is a great place to work and be inspired beyond the boundaries of science!”

Puistokatu 4's researcher alumni
BIODIFUL, Group of researchers

BIODIFUL is a team and network of researchers at different stages of their careers. Our aim is to create and empower a network that generates biodiversity-respectful leadership in business, in social decision-making and in everyone’s daily life. Our research team includes experts from biodiversity to social sciences and from marketing to tourism. Our work is based on a research project funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland.”

Katja Enberg
Katja Enberg, Professor, University of Helsinki and University of Bergen

“I study sustainable use of the oceans: how to produce more food with the smallest possible carbon footprint, while taking care of the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems. My aim is to stimulate a multidisciplinary debate on the sustainable use of the oceans and how to potentially slow down the loss of terrestrial habitats. The main objective of my research is to understand the role of fisheries in a sustainable future.”

Mikaela Grotenfelt
Mikaela Grotenfelt, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

“I study the integration of ecological sustainability into health care work – our ability to
achieve this and the potential obstacles. In addition to my research work, I promote planetary
health and health care sustainability measures as a climate doctor, lecturer and writer. I am
also delighted to participate in planning Finland’s first course on planetary health at the
Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki.”

Oscar Hartman Davies
Oscar Hartman Davies, Doctoral Researcher, University of Oxford

“The ways people know and govern ecosystems are increasingly shaped by digital technologies and the vast volumes of data they produce. My doctoral thesis focuses on transformations in how industrial fisheries in the Southern Hemisphere and their impacts on marine life are monitored and managed, drawing on perspectives from more-than-human geography and science and technology studies. Additionally, I’m part of the interdisciplinary Digital Ecologies research group, which researches relationships between humans, digital technologies, and nonhuman life. I’m also the co-founder and lead researcher at Youngwilders, an environmental not-for-profit focused on nature recovery and providing environmental leadership opportunities for young people in the UK.


I was a researcher at Puistokatu 4 when I was writing the last parts of my dissertation from May to September 2023. The writing period, which I thought would be difficult, was one of the highlights of my research career so far. The Puistokatu 4 team and members have created a wonderful atmosphere of openness and care, and I was welcomed with enthusiasm and encouragement. I wanted to spend as much of my working week in the building as possible because it is so welcoming and there are wonderful people working there. Puistokatu 4 is a one-of-a-kind place where I left with a renewed sense of what is possible.”

Johanna Hedman
Johanna Hedman, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere

“The central theme in my research is the young people’s attachment to society and their experience of themselves as actors. I’ve studied how young people in a particularly vulnerable position are identified and acknowledged in the social and healthcare service system, and how their experience as part of society can be strengthened with the help of these services.


I spent an incredible six months at Puistokatu 4! At first I was a bit nervous about how I would fit in with my research topic as I thought I was far from a traditional sustainability researcher. However, my time at Puistokatu showed me that there is no such thing as a traditional sustainability researcher and that a social science perspective is also important. Puistokatu 4 was a great place to write and think, but also to be inspired, to learn and to see things differently. I remember every lunch meeting and coffee break as a moment when the world opened up from a slightly different angle. Not to mention the good spirit and respect for others that is apparent in the house.”

Johanna Hyrkäs
Johanna Hyrkäs, Doctoral Researcher, Aalto University

“The main aim of my research is to support the greening of the construction industry. I am developing a circular economy based building material with a very low carbon footprint, made from surplus clay and fibres. I am at the beginning of my research process and my intention is to attract major construction companies to use my material as the work progresses.”

Johanna Jämsä
Johanna Jämsä, Doctoral Researcher, University of Turku

“I study the eudaimonic, or value-based, welfare effects of nature. My research addresses perhaps the most essential, and challenging, part of ecological sustainability: the values and emotions associated with nature. Through my research, I promote the visibility of these issues in the media, and thus their social and cultural acceptability. Although the main focus of my work is research, I am committed to and passionate about the popularisation of science, and this will always be a central part of my work.


I worked on Puistokatu 4 for a year. I felt that just being around others helped my thinking, and I always got a lot of text done when I spent a Puistokatu 4 day. I felt that I could be myself and that my work was appreciated and interested in.”

Lotta Kaila
Lotta Kaila, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

“My research focuses on one of the most important environmental problems of our time: the loss of biodiversity. The aim of my research is to find out how much exposure pollinators have to pesticides in agriculture and how this exposure affects the cognitive abilities of bumblebees. This research will allow more effective conservation measures for pollinators such as bees and bumblebees.


I believe that openly sharing information between researchers is the key to more impactful science. My philosophy is not to withhold the preliminary results and insights of my research, but to discuss them as early as possible. When sparring with others, I know my own research will improve, and I hope that someone else will benefit from the work I do.”

Katri Koivuneva
Katri Koivuneva, Doctoral Researcher, University of Lapland

“I am developing digital university pedagogy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As part of my research, I am collecting data on the meanings and proposals for solutions that university teachers and students give to the SDGs, particularly in the Arctic and other non-urban areas. In addition to the Sustainable Development Goals, the research focuses on cognition and embodiment in digital environments. The research will be complemented by the production of a digital dance piece on sustainable development in the Arctic.”

Roni Lappalainen
Roni Lappalainen, Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä

“In my research, I combine the concepts of responsible marketing and degrowth. Degrowth research aims to outline an economic system which, instead of pursuing continuous economic growth, would focus on increasing well-being. In other words, the economy must be placed within the ecological boundaries so that the opportunity to live a good is guaranteed for everyone. This also means that the marketing paradigms must be reconsidered.


In Puistokatu 4, my dissertation took a big leap forward, and my mind certainly took an even bigger one. My time on Puistokatu was full of interesting encounters, educational events and peer-support lunches. At Puistokatu, you don’t just get great working space, you get a great interdisciplinary community where everyone has the will to work towards a sustainable future.”

Annina Lattu
Annina Lattu, Doctoral Researcher, Tampere University & Peking University

“My research is about open science practices in research cooperation between companies and universities in Finland and China. I apply institutional theory, especially institutional logics and theories of institutional change, to describe how the open science movement has changed the norms of cooperation between academy and industry. As corporate-funded academic research increases and open science becomes more common, it is important to understand what are the factors preventing and enabling openness of science in this context. Open science, i.e. for example open accessibility of scientific knowledge and academy’s cooperation with other sectors, is important in terms of the sustainability transition.


In Puistokatu 4 there is a great understanding that happiness is important and possible even in times of ecological crisis. The more difficult times we are in, the more we need well-being to draw from. Puistokatu 4 has a constructive and gentle atmosphere, which makes it a good place to do research. In addition, Puistokatu 4 gives me hope for a better working life: that there are wonderful working communities where difficult things are done with ambition, and at the same time within the limits of people’s ability to cope.”

Sanna Lehtinen
Sanna Lehtinen, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

“The climate crisis is also a crisis of cultural heritage. In my dissertation, I examine the right of future generations to cultural heritage in situations where cultural heritage is degraded, deserted, submerged and destroyed due to climate change faster and more definitively than ever before. My research focuses particularly on the regulation of the protection of cultural heritage sites in coastal regions and the protection of the cultural heritage over generations. The study illustrates how future generations will suffer above all from legal loopholes and conflicts in the protection of cultural heritage.


It was very inspiring working in Puistokatu 4 which renovation itself has been an important act of cultural heritage protection. By working in the building, you become part of a multidisciplinary research community, where you can always find company for lunch, conversation and writing.”

Salla Mikkonen
Salla Mikkonen, Doctoral Researcher, University of Tampere

“I am writing my first postdoc article on EU forest lobbying in Puistokatu. Finnish forest lobbying has attracted a lot of media attention and created a divided debate, in which shades of grey and the actual content of legislation have received less attention. In our article, we focus on the effects of EU lobbying on Finnish forests and current EU policy, where forest and climate issues have become increasingly important. The analysis framework of the article combines legal and policy research.


‘Can it even be this beautiful here’, I had written in my research diary one spring morning, as the spring sun filtered in through the windows. Such moments of pause, but also of insight, abounded during my year on Puistokatu 4. I learned a lot from other researchers and agent members in the building. The discussions about writing and research were particularly inspiring. I dare say that my time at Puistokatu shook up my perceptions of how research should be done – while the field is competitive and sometimes ruthless, the daily atmosphere can also be supportive and gracious. This is what Puistokatu 4 has managed to create.”

Linda Mustajärvi
Linda Mustajärvi, Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä

“I study the protection of biodiversity through ecological compensation. Compensation seeks to compensate for the damage caused to nature through the benefits it generates, such as new protected areas and restoration. I aim to perceive the protection of biodiversity from the perspective of both ecology and environmental law, understanding it in a multidisciplinary way as part of our society and creating development proposals that combine ecological and legal relevance.


I had the privilege of working on my dissertation in the magnificent setting of Puistokatu 4. The atmosphere was wonderful, inspiring and peaceful. I gained a lot of new perspectives and understanding of the wide range of sustainability issues through the community. What I also remember is the gentle encouragement, peer support and happy lunch times.”

Alma Onali
Alma Onali, Doctoral researcher, University of Tampere

“My research is about the plastics crisis, waste and unravelling the human waste relationship. All human activity generates waste, and dealing with it is essential for our future on this planet of limited resources. Philosophical, cultural and social reflection on the relationship between people and waste is, in my view, an integral part of an ecologically sustainable future. How we see ourselves in relation to the waste we produce and how we treat it matters.


I was privileged to be part of the first wave of researchers on Puistokatu 4. The atmosphere was immediately open and warm, the spaces harmonious and inviting. My time at Puistokatu was in the early stages of my own PhD research in waste sociology. I therefore found it very important to meet colleagues from different research directions and to learn from them about the everyday life of a researcher. Puistokatu also offered high quality workshops and the opportunity to develop my own skills for a more ecologically sustainable future. Most importantly, however, was the genuine effort made to inspire hope – a good life within the planetary boundaries seems possible in the Puistikatu 4 community.”

Olli Pyyhtinen
Olli Pyyhtinen, Professor, University of Tampere

“In my research projects, I work with my teams to examine the relationship between waste and circular economy practices in society. For a more sustainable future to be possible, knowledge is needed firstly about waste streams and waste cycles in society, secondly about the problem areas of waste practices and thirdly about possible ways to deal with and manage problematic and leaky waste. My research projects provide information on these issues.”