10 September 2021

Lahti installs forest workstations

One of the great sustainability challenges is to create initiatives which not only add to ecological capital, but also address the many changing needs of citizens in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A project in ICLEI Member Lahti (Finland) achieves both, with the City’s implementation of ‘forest workstations'. Though formerly a city with a heavy industrial past, Lahti has launched several green initiatives over the past decades including initiatives regarding circular economy and the phasing out of coal. These efforts have awarded Lahti with the title of European Green Capital 2021.

A forest workstation is a small outdoor set-up, which provides people with tools to perform remote working in an outdoor setting. Though some might consider this a strange concept, working outside has the potential to provide people with many benefits.

With many unable to work in offices during the pandemic, people have resorted to working from home, an arrangement that for some is not ideal, and for others causes a source of stress due to the lack of separation of work from home.

Forest workstations have been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and provide relaxation in what would otherwise be a hectic workday for many people. For example, a study from the Journal of Environmental Research (Dzhambov et al 2021) finds that greenery experienced indoors and outdoors had a “restorative quality” for students. Additionally, the forest workstation concept provides an interesting intersection between ecological benefits to maintaining inner city green space and health benefits of city dwellers.

A wide range of stakeholders are working to make the forest in Lahti more accessible to residents in all facets of life. GoGreenRoutes, for example, is currently piloting the concept of a "health forest" to be implemented next to the healthcare centre in Kintterö. The healthcare centre will support well-being and recovery for staff patients and visitors and will be open to all Lahti citizens to provide the health benefits that nature has to offer.

Current locations for forest workstations in Lahti are: Lapakisto, Lanu Sculpture Park, Mustakallio hill, and Radiomäki hill.

For more information about this project, click here.