Yhteismaa – Common Ground

Yhteismaa (Common Ground in English) was got started actually quite accidentally in February 2012, when me, Pauliina Seppälä and Tanja Jänicke (and a few others) started to make a day when anyone could go and sell their stuff at yards, streets and parks. This turned into Cleaning Day, that was organised for the first time on May 12, 2012. It was only after this that we decided to start an organisation to arrange it – and other similar kinds of things. And so, this organisation called Yhteismaa was formed.

Yhteismaa is a non-governmental organisation that produces socially meaningful projects, events and services. Many of the projects that I have been doing between 2012 and 2017, are made under the name of Yhteismaa with different kinds of working groups. Or with other people and organisations. Or via social media with everyone involved. Or sometimes just on my own. But behind each of them there is the same worldview and the will to change the world.

Slowly our interests with Pauliina and Tanja started to go to different directions: I was more interested in creating new projects and working with ideas that were more connected with art, culture and urban space, whereas the others were more interested in the web service Nifty Neighbour and developing the first events of Yhteismaa, Cleaning Day and Dinner under the Helsinki Sky.

In the beginning of 2017 I decided to move on and establish a new non-profit organisation with the people of More Street Art in Helsinki project. That’s how Helsinki Urban Art was founded. It shares a lot with Yhteismaa, but concentrates more in art, interventions and physical urban spaces. After founding of the new association some of my old Yhteismaa projects are run by Helsinki Urban Art. Although art is now in a bigger role than before, it’s not the only thing: I also started to do more projects connected to placemaking and co-creation through my own company Second Thought Placemaking Agency.