1920 - 1939
Construction of Töölö, Vallila, Käpylä, and Torkkelinmäki. The wooden houses of the city centre and Kallio are demolished to make way for modern stone buildings.
Helsinki in the 1920s was Finland’s only major town, with its population rising to just over 152,000 that year. Brightly-lit advertisements illuminated the streets, and dreams of a skyscraper-dotted metropolis were in the air. As elsewhere in Europe, operettas and jazz were all the rage. People’s worldviews were broadened by the spread of new modes of transport and media. Cars, radio, and cinema gradually became widespread.
New housing policy created unprecedented levels of efficiency in building through the application of new standards and serial production methods. Large, uniform residential areas were built in Töölö, Vallila, and Käpylä. The development of relatively thin laminated walling made it possible to build light-filled and well-aired houses. Yards were designed to be safe and in harmony with the surrounding area.
From the 1920s on, structural changes began to take place in the forms of livelihood practised in Finland, with a large-scale shift from agriculture to factory and service industry employment. In the economic boom years of the 1920s, waves of jobseekers moved from rural areas to Helsinki in search of work.
As part of the structural change, the newly developing needs of a large town – related to public transport, retail outlets, office work, and many other service areas – created demand for female workers. The increasing accessibility of higher education for females was another important contributor to bringing women into formal employment. Around this time, 60 per cent of those who moved to Helsinki were female.