Askel is facilitating and creating services through a service design workshop with citizens and service providers. The development process started by interviewing residents of Anttilanmäki-Kittelä area and arranging a workshop in Anttilanmäki primary school in September 2020. With the aim to develop local and sustainable services that fit the needs of the community. As well as to capture feedback and thoughts of the residents of Anttilanmäki-Kittelä area, regarding the low-carbon services that are involved in the Askel-project.
Authors: Mervi Koistinen & Anna Svartström
Askel project is co-developing services for sustainable living (LAB 2020a). Three companies are involved in the Askel-project: a local market trader Torikauppa Pupu, a software company CoReorient and a local energy company Lahti Energia with their Reiot service. Pupu’s new service delivers local farmers products outside the marketplace to customers doors. The idea is to acquaint customers with easy recipes, providing an ease of cooking in the middle of a busy everyday life with domestic harvest and seasonal, vegetable-focused food. CoReorient, is developing a digital sharing platform for residential areas. The platform promotes borrowing and thus reduces the need to purchase new things. Reiot is a home condition measurement service. With the help of Reiot the resident can start to study, for example, the consumption of heating energy or water use and then take measures to reduce costs and environmental impact in their own apartment. Services fall into areas that cause a lot of climate emissions in Finnish homes: housing, food and consumption.
The workshop was facilitated by the master students of service design at LAB University of Applied Sciences, service designer Elina Järvinen and Mirja Kälviäinen, senior lecturer at the LAB Institute of Design. Kälviäinen has recently published research on environmentally responsible service design (in Finnish). Kälviäinen (2020) states that consumers should be encouraged to make the changes necessary for climate goals by providing them with low-carbon services that are suitable for their everyday life. When end-users are involved at an early stage of the service development, a more desirable and profitable service is more likely to be achieved. Thus, citizen play a crucial role in the success and implementation of sustainable new services. The students designed drafts of service journeys for the residents to comment on, and together they started to modify a service of interest to the end-users. After the workshop, the service design process continued towards developing service prototypes that are tested in practice in the Anttilanmäki-Kittelä area and in Jalkarannan-Metsä housing cooperative. The results will be released in Anttilanmäki Village Party in August 2021. The project relates to the strategy of Päijät-Häme region through two smart specialization priorities, design and circular economy.
Different approaches to Citizens involvement in circular economy practices
Askel is a good example of how citizens and service providers can work together to promote sustainable living, sharing economy & green growth in the region. The project originates from the Interreg Europe funded project CECI, Citizen Involvement in Circular Economy Implementation (LAB 2020b). Askel and CECI projects are led by LAB University of Applied Sciences and both projects are encouraging citizens participation in circular and sharing economy. Askel in a local and tangible way facilitating the interaction between citizen, companies and even municipality while CECI works on a European level, reports and shares Good Practices (Interreg Europe 2020a), in the Interregional Policy Learning Platform of citizen participation in circular and sharing economy (Interreg Europe 2020b). Thus, CECI is reporting of already existing practices, while Askel is involved in the creation and implementation of the actual good practices. As Askel inspires and activates citizens on a local level and thus may be implemented in other European regions and inspire others on an European and interregional level with the help of CECI with eight project partners from six countries: Päijät-Häme (Finland), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (France), Moravian-Silesian (Czech Republic), Aragon (Spain), Varna (Bulgaria) and Mechelen (Belgium).
Cooperation partners in the Askel project are Anttilanmäki-Kittelä citizen community and Asunto Oy Jalkarannan-Metsä housing cooperative in Lahti. Project is funded by the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme. Furthermore, the Askel-project aims to facilitate citizens in adapting new, low-carbon services, improve SME´s capabilities to produce them in reforming markets and strengthen the connection between demand and supply by supporting co-design of citizen and enterprises in developing of new eco-efficient services. The service concepts are selected and developed in collaboration with citizen community and service providers by interviewing citizens, arranging workshops and a discussion event.
Kälviäinen. 2020. Palvelumuotoilulla käyttäjälähtöistä ympäristövastuullisuutta. [Cited 26 Feb 2021]. Available at: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-827-332-8
LAB. 2020a. Askel – Co-developing services for sustainable living. [Cited 25 Jan 2021]. Available at: https://lab.fi/en/project/askel
LAB. 2020b. CECI – Citizen Involvement in Circular Economy Implementation [Cited 10 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://lab.fi/fi/projekti/ceci-citizen-involvement-circular-economy-implementation
Interreg Europe. 2020a. Good practices from Interreg projects and beyond. [Cited 25 Jan 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/good-practices/
Interreg Europe. 2020b. Policy Learning Platform. What is the Policy Learning Platform? [Cited 25 Jan 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/what-is-policy-learning-platform/
Mervi Koistinen works as an RDI-specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences, in Askel-project funded by the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme.
Anna Svartström works at LAB University of Applied Sciences as a project developer in CECI project (Citizen Involvement in Circular Economic Implementation) funded by Interreg Europe.
Illustration: Mervi Koistinen
Reference for this article
Koistinen, M. & Svartström, A. 2021. Designing services that help residents to move towards low-carbon housing and sustainable consumption. LAB Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: