Whose City project

Whose City is a three-year project started in 2021 and funded by the Kone Foundation. We study the history, present day and future of Finnish cities from the perspective of equality and justice, using the methods of historical research and art. We focus especially on the period of drastic change that took place in Finnish cities in the 1960s and 1970s and the related discussions around urban space and equality. Many of the developments that started during this period still influence the urban environments today. The project group is made up by the comic artist Tiitu Takalo and historians Ainur Elmgren, Tiina Männistö-Funk and Hanna Tyvelä.

Tiina Männistö-Funk is an Academy research fellow and associate professor for the history of technology at University of Turku. She leads the Whose City project. Männistö-Funk received her PhD in Finnish history in 2014 and has since concentrated especially on the history of urban space and urban mobility. In Whose City project her research deals with the social movements and activist groups that participated in discussions about urban space from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Tiina Männistö-Funk. Photo: Sanna Heikintalo

Tiitu Takalo is a comic artist located in Tampere, Finland. She is interested in history and has explored the past in her graphic novels Me, Mikko, and Annikki (North Atlantic Books 2019) and Foster Sons and Cotton Girls (Tampere Museums 2016) that was scripted by Pauli Kallio and created in collaboration with Tampere Museums. Other graphic novels by Takalo are for example Memento mori (WSOY 2020) and Tuuli ja myrsky (Suuri kurpitsa 2009). Takalo has received the Finnish state prize for comic art, the Comic Art Finlandia prize, the literature prize by the city of Tampere, and the Puupäähattu prize of the Finnish Comics Society. In Whose City project Takalo draws comics, some of which can be read on this web page.

Tiitu Takalo. Photo: Emilia Anundi

Ainur Elmgren is the associate professor for Nordic history at the Åbo Akademi University. She received her PhD in history from Lund University in 2008. During the recent years she has worked in several projects on the history of ideas and conceptual history at the University of Helsinki and as a university teacher for didactics in history and social studies at the University of Oulu. In Whose City project she studies how visual culture thematized problems and inequalities in urban space as well as hopes and fears about future that the changes in 1960s and 1970s triggered.

Ainur Elmgren. Photo: Warda Ahmed

Hanna Tyvelä is a doctoral researcher in history at Tampere University. In her doctoral thesis she studies the architecture of the Finnish welfare state in the 20th century. She focuses especially on the social meanings of architecture, history of the equality development and the role of gender in architectural work.

Hanna Tyvelä.Photo: Niko Tampio