PMAP institute founders join forces in combining active and passive sensing systems, and transformative governance processes to unlock trade-offs to sustainability transformation.

PMAP institute founders Christopher Raymond (University of Helsinki), Marketta Kyttä (Aalto University) and Nora Fagerholm (University of Turku) will collaborate in the Transformative Cities project, which develops and utilizes participatory mapping methods alongside many other digital tools for accelerating the sustainability transition.

Cities across the world are facing significant challenges in achieving the climate and biodiversity goals as soon as possible. To enable sustainability transformation, Transformative Cities project claims that nature-based solutions (NBS) including systemic approaches combining e.g., stormwater wetlands, neighbourhood green spaces and networks of green corridors need to be considered alongside transportation infrastructure, given NBSʼ established role in providing for active mobility (Fastenrath et al., 2020), as well as biodiversity, carbon mitigation, climate resilience and well-being outcomes (Frantzseskaki & McPhearson, 2021; Raymond et al., 2017). However, a major knowledge gap is how to create digital urban planning tools that enable city and corporate planners, and citizens to work together across planning sectors to unlock trade-offs to sustainability transformation (Gret-Regamey et al., 2021; Raymond et al., 2022; McPhearson et al., 2021).

Chris, Marketta, Nora and a group of Finnish researchers joined forces with businesses and cities in the Transformative Cities project, which received €3 million in funding from the Academy of Finland for the period 2023–2025. Transformative Cities aims to create an integrated set of active and passive sensing, and transformative governance methods to inform rapid changes to carbon neutral and climate resilient futures by 2035. Transformative Cities moves beyond the state-of-the-art by combining active (including PPGIS and GEMA methods) and passive (big geospatial data) sensing systems, and transformative governance processes, collectively referred to as a ʻCompass for Transformationʼ. Across the project, there is strong emphasis on co-creating solutions for sustainability transformation across competence cluster members, which include: University of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Eastern Finland and Turku University, ETH Zurich and New School New York; Cities of Helsinki, Lahti, Espoo and Oulu; KONE, YIT, Mapita, SOVA3D, ITS-Finland, HSY, Telia and Sitra.

Interested in learning more about the project? The project website will be released soon and linked to the PMAP website along with more detailed project description. You can naturally contact any of the Transformative Cities researchers from the PMAP institute in case you have questions:

Christopher Raymond, Marketta Kyttä, Nora Fagerholm and Tiina Rinne



Fastenrath, S., Bush, J., & Coenen, L. (2020). Scaling-up nature-based solutions. Lessons from the

Living Melbourne strategy. Geoforum 116.

Frantzeskaki, N., & McPhearson, T. (2021). Mainstream nature-based solutions for urban climate

resilience. BioScience 72.

Grêt-Regamey, A., Switalski, M., Fagerholm, N., et al. (2021). Harnessing sensing systems towards

urban sustainability transformation. npj Urban Sustainability 1.

Gret-Regamey et al., 2021; Raymond et al., 2022; McPhearson et al., 2021).

McPhearson, T., M. Raymond, C., Gulsrud, N. et al. (2021). Radical changes are needed for

transformations to a good Anthropocene. npj Urban Sustain 1.

Raymond, C.M., Cebrián-Piqueras, M.A., Andersson, E., et al. (2022). Inclusive conservation and

the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: Tensions and prospects. One Earth 5.

Multi-sensory PPGIS combining the qualities of soundscape research and landscape values mapping

Public participation GIS methodology has been mainly used to map the social values and behaviour patterns of users in city and neighbourhood levels.  However, very little attention is paid to the role of different sensory systems in the perception and the embodied experience of place. The new paper by Korpilo et al. (2023) addresses this gap by integrating the soundscapes and landscape values of urban green infrastructure in two neighbourhoods in Helsinki, Finland.

The paper develops, tests and validates a Multi-sensory Public Participation GIS (MSPPGIS) method combining the qualities of soundscape research and landscape values mapping. The analysis consisted of hotspot mapping, spatial overlap assessment and compatibility analysis showing the level of spatial compatibility between positive landscape values and positive and negative soundscapes (see Figure below). Results indicated very low to low spatial overlap between the different landscape values and pleasant/unpleasant sound hotspots, suggesting that landscape values do not necessarily reflect sonic perception of urban green and blue spaces. Pleasant and unpleasant sounds were located closer to home than landscape values, indicating that respondents’ soundscape ‘cognitive map’ is smaller in spatial range.

The MSPPGIS method enables the elicitation of a more dynamic and diverse set of sounds compared to previous soundscape mapping which tend to focus on ‘noise’ instead of multiple experiences of different sounds. Also, the combination of landscape values and soundscapes in MSPPGIS provides for a more integrated assessment of ‘where’ and ‘how’ to design urban green infrastructure.


Check out the paper: Korpilo, S., Nyberg, E., Vierikko, K., Nieminen, H., Arciniegas, G., & Raymond, C. M. (2023). Developing a Multi-sensory Public Participation GIS (MSPPGIS) method for integrating landscape values and soundscapes of urban green infrastructure. Landscape and Urban Planning, 230.

methods, MSPPGIS, Silviya Korpilo

PMAP webinar Tuesday November 1 with Prof. Marketta Kyttä as speaker

Welcome to join PMAP webinar Tuesday 1st November, 2022 at 3:30-4:30 pm CET time (4:30 pm Helsinki, London 2:30 pm, New York 9:30 am, Tokyo 10:30 pm)!

Professor Marketta Kyttä presents on PPGIS in environmental health promotion research.

Marketta Kyttä works as a professor of Land Use Planning at the Department of Built Environment at Aalto University, Finland. Having background in environmental psychology, her interests cover widely human aspects in planning. Her research topics include environments that promote wellbeing and health, active living, child- and age-friendly environments, social sustainability, urban lifestyles, perceived safety and new methods for public participation. She has extensive experience developing and applying PPGIS methods. For example, the so called “softGIS” methodology originates from her research team.

Please join the webinar via Zoom: (no pre-registration required).

In case you have interest to present in PMAP biannual webinar series, please do not hesitate to contact Associate Professor Nora Fagerholm (

Marketta Kyttä, webinar

Increased interest in comparing PPGIS and social media data

A recent publication by Stahl Olafsson et al. (2022) has explored 19 case sites across Europe to compare perceived landscape values applying and comparing both PPGIS and geolocated social media (Flickr) data.  Authors find more cross-site differences than similarities both in spatial patterns and value types. Most agreement in spatial patterns across the two data sets are found in densely populated landscapes; however, comparison of types of perceived landscape values is challenged by the differing assumptions of each value elicitation technique. The results show that PPGIS elicits a wider spectrum of values, while Flickr mainly elicits relationships to and with landscapes. The authors argue for the complementary potential of both approaches and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of using the two together in landscape research, planning and management.

Please check the article below to read more about this study:

Olafsson, A.S., Purves, R.S., Wartmann, F.M., Garcia-Martin, M., Fagerholm, N., Torralba, M., Albert, C., Verbrugge, L.N., Heikinheimo, V., Plieninger, T. and Bieling, C., 2022. Comparing landscape value patterns between participatory mapping and geolocated social media content across Europe. Landscape and Urban Planning, 226, p. 104511.


Interested to read more about this topic? Over the recent years, studies have increasingly addressed such comparative setting between PPGIS and geolocated social media data. Check for example the following articles:

Depietri, Y., Ghermandi, A., Campisi-Pinto, S. and Orenstein, D.E., 2021. Public participation GIS versus geolocated social media data to assess urban cultural ecosystem services: Instances of complementarity. Ecosystem Services, 50, p. 101277.

Heikinheimo, V., Tenkanen, H., Bergroth, C., Järv, O., Hiippala, T. and Toivonen, T., 2020. Understanding the use of urban green spaces from user-generated geographic information. Landscape and Urban Planning, 201, p. 103845.

Levin, N., Lechner, A.M. and Brown, G., 2017. An evaluation of crowdsourced information for assessing the visitation and perceived importance of protected areas. Applied geography, 79, pp. 115-126.

Muñoz, L., Hausner, V.H., Runge, C., Brown, G. and Daigle, R., 2020. Using crowdsourced spatial data from Flickr vs. PPGIS for understanding nature’s contribution to people in Southern Norway. People and Nature, 2(2), pp. 437-449.


comparison, cross-site analysis, PPGIS, social media

Webinar by ISPM June 16

Please note the webinar organised by the International Society for Participatory Mapping!

This webinar, to be delivered on 16 June 2022, 13.00-14.30 (Mexico Central time/ CST), presents the efforts of three significant organisations in Latin America, very active in developing the strengths of participatory mapping and critical cartography so as to apply them to support activists in real political, social and cultural urban struggles in the continent.

Two of the presentations will be offered in Spanish and one in Portuguese (with english subtitles in Zoom). More information below.

Participatory Mapping Institute
Copyright 2020