Lahti City

#1 place in an intensive Design Sprint-style competition (7.10-8.10.2021) aiming to improve pedestrianism in Lahti, Finland.


Claudio Lintunen

One of the great delights of watching Ocean’s Eleven unfold is seeing how each member of the team utilizes his unique skill to help pull off the heist.

– Jake Knapp

European Green Capital of 2021, Lahti, aims to promote pedestrianism¹ for citizens for a more sustainable future. Their goal is aligned with the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ goal² to increase the amount of pedestrians and cyclists by 30% by 2030. Carbon emissions are not the only reason people are encouraged to walk or cycle: Obesity is high nationwide (62% of adults overweight³) and an increase in the number of citizens choosing bicycle or their two feet as a primary method of transport is seen as one key aid.

In this Design Sprint-style competition, the teams consisting of Service Design students were challenged to concept solutions for a more pedestrian-friendly city center (and beyond) in just 24 hours.

Our team of four took the #1 place with our winning concept of guided walking paths around the city center, with extra attention paid to accessibility. As a bonus idea, we proposed a ”walking buddy” service to help lonely and elderly—but available to all—people go out.


What the briefing encouraged us to aim for

Memorable, enjoyable, and safe city center


nature, greenery and water,
events, culture,
internationality and
sports and exercise.

”Nature at backdoor, city at the front”


How our team got started with the project

Our ideation process started straight-off with a brainstorm. After some time we went for a walk on the field to observe the city center of Lahti. We then transitioned to the nearby library to find inspiration from books of different fields – especially urban planning and accessibility. I was focusing on the research for accessibility, while others focused on other areas. Sticky notes were used to jot down ideas, which were later filtered and ideated further.


Embodiment of the user research

Due to a tight schedule, we created the user persona based on our assumptions. Our team representing the user group did help with coming up with the persona, yet we were aware that real users would need to be heard in a real project to eliminate false assumptions and base the profile on facts.

avatar representing a young woman


  • Moved to Lahti for design studies
  • Lives in downtown
  • Respects sustainability, responsibility, exercise and time spent with friends


  • Getting to know her hometown
  • Encounters with people
  • Change
  • Charm of novelty
  • Exercise
  • Motivation for studies


  • Does not know places or people
  • Does not want to walk around aimlessly
  • Feels unsafety, especially in the dark

Design Drivers

Guidelines formed from the data






Result of the ideation

”A step into Lahti”

Light into the darkness

A destination for walks

Things to see and experience

Getting to know your hometown

Guided route, added safety

Possibility to get to know your hometown by foot

Color-guided routes departing from Lahti market square

Memorable experience around the day and year

Social encounters in a city environment


  • Central location
  • Open for everyone
  • Marked routes (accessible options)
  • Clear signposting


  • Organized by the city
  • Known landmarks
  • Lighted routes
  • Collaboration with locals
  • Meeting places


  • Possibility to rest
  • Different from everyday life
  • Interactions
  • Options
  • Flexible


  • Human contact
  • Sensory experiences
  • Inspiring
  • Memorable
  • Guiding/educating

Further ideation

How the concept could be further developed

  • Flexible – the route network can be expanded and modified
  • Citizens and local companies can be involved in designing the routes
  • Eventfulness – events and activities along the routes
  • * Accessibility – visual impairment considered
  • * ”Walking buddy”-service
    • Free service for the elderly, excluded, and everyone else
      • Loneliness is a big reason for lack of movement
    • A city employee takes the citizen out for a walk on one of the routes or nearby areas

* ideas derived from me