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CEO´s Review

Turku, 9 March 2020

Turku is forecasted to be a growth centre much as the cities of Helsinki and Tampere, even in the scenarios for the year 2040. If the growth continues its steady upwards trend, meaning an annual increase of 2,000 residents, Turku’s population will be over 210,000 at the end of the current decade.

The universities in Turku promote innovation and offer an increasing number of courses. One example of this is the Master of Science in Engineering programme of the University of Turku expanding in the fields of Mechanical Engineering and Material Technology. Another example is the start of Chinese language courses.

Even though Finland’s demographic development and forecasts show that the size of age groups will decrease, Turku’s development as a student city seems to be on an upward trajectory in terms of studies offered and the number of students.

The percentage of people living in rental housing has increased in all the largest urban areas in Finland. Turku is now Finland’s leading city in terms of the percentage of households living in rental housing, the percentage of people living alone, and the increase in rent levels for open-market rental housing.

TYS uses the support forms of ARA (Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland) to produce reasonably-priced housing for students. The newest housing location is Aitiopaikka, which was completed in 2019 and is a great example of how rental housing and student housing can be both high-quality and reasonably-priced at the same time. The Foundation is also modernising and maintaining its old building stock, the newest example of which is the modernisation of sections A–E of Kuunsilta, which started in 2019 and ended in early 2020. If necessary, we can also give up some locations, through which we can contribute to the overall development of the rental housing offering. In 2019, the Foundation sold a housing location named Aamurusko.

According to the housing and land use policy being prepared by the City of Turku, the total volume of housing production should be at approximately 2,100 apartments per year so that the City’s population growth goals can be realised. In the draft for the policy, the City aims to set goals for securing the production of reasonably-priced housing. These goals include an annual production goal of 140 apartments for TYS. Meeting this specific goal is entirely possible during TYS’ strategy term for 2018–2022.

Aitiopaikka has some 250 apartments, while the upcoming Tyyssija project on the west side of the Student Village will have a little under 200 apartments. The next new location is Kylänkulma on the eastern side of the Student Village. The land use planning of this project will move forward this year. Kylänkulma will have over 350 apartments when completed.

The Foundation is seeking the European Union’s Smart Cities and Community (SCC) Lighthouse project funding. One of this project’s goals is to create models of climate-positive urban districts. TYS has suitable properties which could be developed further in the Lighthouse project. The preparation of the application started in autumn 2019, and the City of Turku submitted the application in January 2020.

TYS started using a chatbot in spring 2019 to serve customers in situations and at times when the bot is the most useful thanks to its speed or infallibility. TYS’ website and customer pages and intranet were reformed in 2019.

Through the monitoring of the service pledges published at the start of 2018, TYS gains valuable insight into the functionality of its services.

The operational and financial results of the Foundation’s 53rd year of operation were as expected. The Foundation’s total income in the financial year was approximately €29.7M. The balance sheet total was €163.7M. Long-term loans amounted to €119.7M. The City of Turku and TYS agreed on replacing a debt restructuring agreement of €7.6M due in February 2019 with an interest-bearing loan of the same sum from the City of Turku. TYS continues to implement the updated strategy.

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