East Pasila

Itä-Pasila urban art

East Pasila is my home. It's open, colourful and safe. It's a multicultural place, with people from all kinds of backgrounds, from students to elderly people. The best thing is the lively streets: people hang out and say hi. We have lots of great wall murals and good spots to play basketball, for example. My favoure seasons are spring, summer and autumn when you can be outside.

Ayuub Jibril
Pasila resident
Ayuub Jibril

East Pasila is a Helsinki district that divides opinion, "you either love it or hate it" as the saying goes. For some, the concrete high-rise buildings are a nightmare, while others admire the brutalist architecture. Some call it a boring, empty place dotted with city agencies, some praise its great location and the views from the high-rise buildings. 

The development of East Pasila started in the 1970s on a zone dominated by small industry and warehouses. The neighbourhood became a multi-use district with a mix of residential housing, offices and public services. Pedestrian walkways run over an elevated concrete deck, which keeps them away from traffic. Over the years, the zone has become greener thanks to new parks and now that the trees that line the streets have grown to their full height.  

East Pasila might not be the first area to come to mind when thinking of tourism, but it is one of the busiest international areas in Helsinki. The expo and convention centre Messukeskus attracts thousands of visitors to its varied events, the largest of which include the Helsinki Book Fair and the start-up festival Slush.  

The East Pasila streetscape is multicultural and young. The district has several educational and cultural facilities, such as the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki City Theatre's Studio Pasila stage, and the city's main library designed by the architectural office Kaarlo Leppänen. The library opened in 1986 and it offers the widest multi-language book selection in the city, along with an astounding collection of music and films.   

The large facades, staircases and tunnels in East Pasila have been decorated with bright colours in recent years and the whole area has turned into a sort of outdoor gallery. The artistic collective Helsinki Urban Art has realised several projects with international mural artists all around East Pasila and has also opened a centre for urban art.

While there is reason enough to speak of a metamorphosis, not everything has been transformed in East Pasila. The old red brick depots and the historical station building still stand. The former station is now called the Peace Station – a centre for peace activism and an events venue. These remnants from yesteryear remind one of the many chapters in Pasila’s history.  

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East Pasila is one of the busiest international areas in Helsinki. The neighbourhood's streetscape is multicultural and young.