Partnership for Healthy Cities

Photo: Ilkka Ranta-aho

In autumn 2019, Michael R. Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, invited the City of Helsinki to become a member of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a cooperation network funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The network operations are linked to mayors and city management and the network currently includes 70 cities around the world.

The main objective of the cooperation is to prevent the increase in non-communicable diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, diabetes and mental health disorders) and to reduce accidents through various preventive interventions. Cooperation is carried out through seminars and training sessions and by distributing funding to the cities on an annual basis for the development of operations, taking into account the set objectives. The World Health Organization (WHO) brings networking power and technical expertise to the partnership. The management and practical implementation of the cooperation network is the responsibility of Vital Strategies, an international health organisation. Their appointed consultants have guided our work at the City of Helsinki.

For 2020–2022, the City of Helsinki received funding for a project aimed at developing and piloting a model for promoting children’s safe and active school travel and incidental exercising. The work emphasised the impact of the built environment on the attractiveness of active school travel and the knowledge that the more attractive walking and cycling are seen, the more often they are also chosen as the main mode of travel.

Management of well-being and health promotion by means of information outside the service system

The City of Helsinki utilises new and unique information related to health and well-being collected outside the service system by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The development work led by THL develops and produces a monitoring model for municipal planners and decision-makers for the planning and resourcing of well-being and health promotion. The project funding for 2023 will be used on acquiring expert services from THL to provide the City of Helsinki with refined analysis of its data together with already existing regional data on Helsinki.

Data is regularly collected and updated on the following topics:

  • food sales data from the K Group and S Group
  • non-payment records
  • people with sports-related non-competition licences and competition licences
  • information about discussion topics of young people in MIELI Mental Health Finland’s Sekaisin chat
  • regional strengths and areas for development, for which information is collected from different sources.

Based on the data, a Power BI desktop has been produced for Helsinki to be used to produce forecasts, situational pictures and indicators needed in the management of well-being and health promotion. Since the data is updated regularly, we are able to evaluate changes and react to them if necessary. This enables cooperation with the different Helsinki divisions when planning appropriate measures. The material allows for creating analyses on the City of Helsinki based on age groups and sub-areas. Therefore, it is an important tool in studying segregation in the City of Helsinki. The project is linked to the Helsinki City Strategy and more specifically to the Segregation Programme Group.

Helsinki is analysing regional differences in the health and well-being of city residents

Pupils involved in the planning of active and safe school commuting – ideas collected through environment game, to be implemented from summer