Vantaa river at Pikkukoski, Helsinki, Finland

If it wasn't for the high voltage lines and the bridge in the background, this images could have been taken somewhere in the Finnish outback. However, this place is only 1500 meters from my apartment somewhere in the middle of the city of Helsinki. Helsinki prouds itself as being one of the greenest cities in the world and it has again made one of the top places in the international city rankings for quality of life. It is true that almost every inhabitant has true nature not further away than a 5 minute walk from home. However, construction and population growth are issues in Helsinki. The rush to build housing is already starting to eat away the recreational and natural areas which are important to residents and which are an advantage that sets Helsinki apart from most other capitals. It might be true that nature can be preserved by building tight and high, but, at the same time, cramming lots of people into a small space is not good for psychological well-being. The relatively weak performance of the Finnish Green Party, which originally hoped to become the strongest force in the recent elections for the Helsinki city parliament, is perhaps also an answer to their perceived failure to preserve Helsinki's Nature.