Land use - National Responses (Finland)

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This content has been archived on 21 Mar 2015, reason: A new version has been published
Land use - National Responses
Land Land
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015

Monitoring of the living environment and urban structure

Information on land use is collected in many ways and monitoring of the living environment and urban structure is one of these. At the moment, monitoring of the living environment covers

  • Population
  • Buildings
  • Living and households
  • Services
  • Transport
  • Workplaces and commuting
  • Land use and urban structure.

In the future also natural environment and landscapes, recreational areas, community development and energy, environmental nuisances as well as social environment will be included in the monitoring.


The monitoring of the urban structure[1] aims to collect information on the state and trends of the urban structure. Monitoring addresses the physical and functional entity formed by dwellings, workplaces, services and green areas as well as the connections between them.


Land-use planning[2]

Land-use planning has a central role in the development of the living environment. As importantly, land-use planning also promotes sustainable development. In Finland, land-use planning has several levels.


The regional land use plan is created and approved by the Regional Council and confirmed by the Ministry of Environment. The local authorities create and approve the local master plans and the local detailed plans. All these three types of plans are drawn up in a participatory process. The provisions in the higher plans are binding for the lower plans.


The Government defines the national land-use guidelines[3]. The national land-use guidelines are a tool for Government to steer policy on land-use issues that are important for the whole country. The guidelines relate to the regional and urban structure, the quality of the living environment, communication networks, energy supply, natural and cultural heritage and use of natural resources. The national land-use guidelines were revised[4] in November 2008.


In the revision, the main emphasis was put on a more coherent urban structure, reduction of the volume of traffic, energy issues in land-use planning, adaptation to climate change, and housing production, transport and land use in the Helsinki region.


Legislation on land use and building[5]

The most important legislation controlling land use, spatial planning and construction in Finland is contained in the Land Use and Building Act[6], which came into force in 2000. The general objectives of the Act are, among others, to organise land use and construction to create the basis for high quality living environments, and to promote ecologically, economically, socially and culturally sustainable developments. The more specific objects are related to controls over land-use planning and construction.


More detailed regulations and controls on land use and construction are included in the Land Use and Building Decree[7]. The Land Use and Building Act is complemented by the National Building Code[8].


See also: Living environment and urban structure, Eco-efficiency and energy consumption in buildings, and International co-operation on spatial planning (Ministry of the Environment)

[1] Monitoring of the urban structure, Ministry of the Environment (in Finnish)

[2] Land use planning, Ministry of the Environment

[3] National land use guidelines, Ministry of the Environment

[5] Legislation on land use and building, Finnish Environmental Administration

[6] Land Use and Building Act (132/1999) - Unofficial translation of the original Act, PDF format in Finlex, the Data Bank of Finnish Legislation

[7] Land Use and Building Decree (895/1999) - Unofficial translation, PDF format in Finlex, the Data Bank of Finnish Legislation

[8] National Building Code of Finland, Finnish Environmental Administration


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