Aalto Test-Site 4
- General information
Year2017 – present
LocationAalto University, Finland
Topictrial-and-error, community processes
The Test-Site is an experimental space for students to gain more practical experience with sustainable practices and is located on the campus of the Aalto University in Finland. This project is a student-led initiative that arose out of the desire to shift the Creative Sustainability programs curriculum towards a more hands-on direction.
Since the kick-off of the ‘Test-Site’ in 2017, multiple teams of students have been setting up different experimental projects. These projects range from maintaining a vegetable garden, making soap from old deep-fryer oil, to building a biogas reactor. In addition, the Test-Site community organised monthly social events, workshops and communal building days.
The search of developing the Test Site in an inclusive and open space for co-learning was part of an ongoing process. Over time the methods and strategies used evolved naturally or were deliberately iterated. For example, in the early phases of this project the focus was mainly centred on finding a format for democratic participation and identifying inclusive activities, while in the later stages the focus shifted more towards strengthening the community aspect of the project. As the Test-Site was run by students, most of us had to gain or improve our capabilities with community-led design through a trial-and-error approach. Thanks to the mutual trust, persistence and patience we were able to do so.
The Test Site has been supported by the Finnish innovation fund ‘Sitra’, Aalto Sustainability Hub, ACRE and Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY). The initiative also participated in the launch of Aalto Sustainability Hub and the ‘Paradox City’ exhibition, invited a local permaculture teacher to host an introduction to course. In addition, the Test-Site was used as a case study in the UWAS Innovative Approach to Circular Economy course and the Thinking in Systems course, both taught at Aalto University.