City of Kauniainen

Geospatial data in winter maintenance of the villa town.

The city of villas takes care of maintenance in a cooperative manner

The first day of March is unseasonably cold and wintry. However, the freezing temperatures and sunshine make for a beautiful and sunny morning and, above all, a good time to follow the winter maintenance work carried out in Kauniainen. 

We meet the city’s maintenance manager, Veli Keski-Kohtamäki, and the maintenance department’s 12-strong team on site. 

Although mornings start early and sometimes the weather conditions mean we have to work through the night, we are greeted by a cheerful buzz of chatter. The first winter maintenance tasks of the day have been completed early in the morning, and the roads and streets of Kauniainen have already been busy with early commuters. We move on to see what happens in the city when the streets quieten down a bit between rush hours. 

Pictured from left to right: Petri Janas, Fredrik Olkinuora, Niklas Nyholm and Fred Ahlberg

A touch of history

We ride with Maintenance Worker Fred Ahlberg to tour the day’s maintenance sites. Kauniainen is only 6 square kilometres in size but consists of numerous green areas, parks, and forests. 

In the early 1900s, Kauniainen operated as a limited liability company, selling villa plots to residents of the metropolitan area. It only became a city in 1972. On our tour of the city, as we pass the many old villas, the atmosphere is peaceful and dignified. 

Fred says the oldest surviving buildings date from the early 20th century, and some were designed by well-known architects such as Lars Sonck. 

The character of the area as a city of villas and gardens is clearly conveyed to the visitor and also influences the nature of the work. Fred says that it is a matter of professional pride that the maintenance work here is carried out to a high standard. This is reflected not only in the well-maintained urban environment but also in the good teamwork and team spirit of the employees I met. 

A city where nature is close by

The winters in the metropolitan area have varied a lot lately, but at the latest, the snow pile here gives an idea of how much snow has fallen this winter. We are standing on a snowy hill several metres high, and in the summer, there is only a mound,” says Fred. There have been several sightings of wild deer in the adjacent forest and during the day we visited, we saw a fox basking in the sun at the corner of the office, so nature is very much present here. 

In the picture Raimo Tikkanen

Electronic application brings efficiency to the management of the maintenance package

Kauniainen is proud of its reputation as a city of villas and gardens, and to achieve this, a lot of maintenance and upkeep is certainly needed. Digitalisation and geographic information have been brought in to help make this task easier. Where previously, work was recorded on paper forms, today, employees use the Geometrix app to log tasks on their mobile devices, and they can use their smartphones to communicate any defects and corrective measures in real time that they see along the way. This means that, as communication becomes more effective, maintenance measures can be responded to more efficiently. At the same time, mobile logging allows the work management team to have an up-to-date picture of the progress of the work on site.

Pictured from left to right: Maintenance Manager Veli Keski-Kohtamäki, Raimo Tikkanen, Marko Tuttavainen and Fredrik Olkinuora.

he visit is coming to an end and it’s time to say our thank-yous for the tour. During the day, we have not only seen a wide range of winter maintenance tasks, but also learned a lot from the guides who know Kauniainen well. The city left us with the impression of being a warm and welcoming place, combining historical dignity, community spirit and a desire to develop Kauniainen in a way that is respectful of the old but still incorporating modern methods. 

Thank you to Maintenance Manager Veli Keski-Kohtamäki and the employees of the Kauniainen maintenance unit. 

You can read more about Kauniainen and its history here.  
As well as see a map of the area’s prestigious villas here 

Sources: Employee interviews, Kauniainen website ( and the National Board of Antiquities’ photo archive (