Inari is an architect living in Helsinki. She started her studies in architecture at the Aalto University in 2004, but she felt then that something was missing from the professional image of an architect. It was only during a study trip to South America in 2008, that she realised she could actually use her professional skills as an architect to help alleviate poverty and to promote sustainable cities. When Inari graduated in 2012, she was already engaged in various projects linking architecture and environmental & social sustainability. For example, her master’s thesis was on refugee reception centers in Helsinki.
"As architects we can have a huge impact, as buildings currently use almost half of all the energy produced. And it’s great to see how sustainable buildings are moving out of the margins and really becoming a norm"
Inari continues to work in this direction on top of her job at an architecture office. Some of her other projects include building a youth center in Cambodia (see more about that here), with a group of 5 other young women that are a part of Komitu Architects.
"Why we want to do it? maybe the only answer is because we can. Because we have the opportunity to make a difference. And to give the locals there some of the chances we have gotten just by having our free education and our possibility to study"
Another one of her projects is her company called “Hukkatila”, Wasted Space, which tries to find alternative uses for unused spaces in the city, including urban gardening plots, and roof top gardening on office buildings such as the Nokia headquarters.
Inari uses her bike to get around and wants to promote more bicycle us in her city. She’s been involved in a project called Cycling Consultants, where they try to inspire companies to take an active part in getting people to use their bikes to commute to work. They have worked with several institutions such as IBM, the HUB Helsinki and the Ministry of Finance.
Inari spoke very ‘matter of fact’ to us about her many many projects, as well as about the things she does in her personal life to lower her ecological footprint. To her is sounded like nothing was more normal. In reality, there is nothing ordinary about all the energy she has and the ability she has to share. She is really having an impact on so many different levels both in Helsinki and abroad, both focusing on ecology and social equality. Inari gets good ideas, finds collaboration and drives her ideas into action, and there is no shortage of good ideas.
"I think that making our societies more sustainable is such a complicated task that you need to combine big solutions and the small ones"