Local elections 2012

The city is responsible for many things that affect our daily lives. We need to ensure that everybody has the right to learn and to live without bullying in schools, that everyone is treated with dignity in health care centres, and that compassion and consideration are safeguarded for the elderly. The environment must be taken into account in all decision-making, because viable planets are a rare commodity.

I’ve put together, under common themes,  points which describe my political thoughts and key objectives in local politics.

Environmental and urban planning

Zoning and land usage are the most important tools environmental policy committees have. How we build today will impact our lives for decades or even centuries to come.

Therefore, it is important to try to develop a city structure that facilitates the organization of public transport services and increased accessibility. Successful urban planning can reduce the use of cars and the need for travel in general.

Urban planning is an important tool for the promotion of social justice. It is the means by which we can tackle social disadvantage and prevent the rise of slum areas and the creation of an elite. All residents of Oulu should be able to experience the city as their own, regardless of income level. To accomplish this, all residential areas and services must be accessible by public transport.

Public transport and pedestrian/cycle paths

Public transport needs to be cheaper, more accurate and more reliable. Currently, the City of Oulu  contributes relatively low amounts to public transportation, compared to other major cities. Wheelchairs and prams need to be able to move smoothly on buses, and public transport must be improved in the small hours of the night and on weekends.

Oulu is a good city for cycling, and it should be kept that way. Cycling should be facilitated by the construction of bike lanes and safe bicycle parking. A functional bike network encourages the use of non-motorized traffic. Sharp edged stone settings and curbs are currently too common everywhere.

Non-Discrimination and Equality

When all citizens are on equal footing, living in and using the city is more pleasant for everyone. Therefore, Oulu must strongly commit to diversity and tolerance.

It goes without saying that no one should be discriminated against because of age, gender, language, ethnic background, religion or beliefs, sexual or gender orientation, or any other circumstance. Unfortunately, gender equality and non-discrimination are too often only mentioned from the soapbox, and essential activities aren’t promoted nearly enough.

The city needs to consider the impact of gender, age, wealth, and similar issues affecting the city and how it effects the services it provides. Poor public transport is particularly difficult for women, teens and children. For many men, the bus benches may be too narrow. Men and women are treated differently in clinics, and the majority of long-term homeless people are men. The list goes on.

Equality and non-discrimination are not the same as favouring minorities, but it is the consideration of the fact that we are all different.

Young people and students

A lot of educated people are moving from Oulu to larger cities in the south, either for work or for a more comfortable atmosphere. This leak has to be stopped. Oulu has the lowest average age of any city in Finland, which should be reflected in its decision-making.

Young people need places to safely practice their hobbies. Free urban space is necessary, so that people can come together and meet each other without needing to spend money.

Preventing problems is always better than correcting them later. There needs to be appropriate preventive services, for children and teens, to catch problems before they can markedly deteriorate. School health services must be given adequate resources, because the current number of school welfare officers, school psychologists and guidance counsellors is far too low in relation to the number of students they need to serve.

It is important that young people are not dealt with as passive possessions of their custodians, but  are instead given the space to participate as active citizens in their own right.