Katja Lindroos and Ramon Maronier


We have a very strong connection and active relationship with Helsinki

"Helsinki is a relatively young urban environment with a lot of potential. There is space for the imagination", says Ramon Maronier. 

When Ramon Maronier moved to Helsinki from the Netherlands as a flamenco musician in the mid-1990s, he encountered a lively community of musicians. Through music, he also met his partner, Katja Lindroos, who was dancing flamenco at the time.  

"Flamenco is a very community-centred art form. It also represents what we still do nowadays: we work in communities where everyone is interdependent", Maronier says. 

The couple manages Urban Practice, a consulting and production company with a focus on urban change. The duo has also founded the Nordic CityMaking Week, whose first host cities are Helsinki and Vantaa. 

"We have a very strong connection and active relationship with Helsinki”, Lindroos and Maronier say. Helsinki is the city where the couple met, and also where they work and the city they picked as their hometown.

Lindroos was born in Helsinki but grew up in Espoo. She returned to the capital in her twenties and worked as a journalist with a focus on urban culture, economy and creative industries. 

"Helsinki has fresh energy. Diversity is born at the street level”, Lindroos says.

"We want to bring people together" 

The couple developed their interest in urbanity almost two decades ago when they lived in Puotila. They started to research especially post-war suburbs and worked together on ‘Tehtävä lähiössä’ (Mission: Suburbia), a tv series for the national broadcaster Yle.

According to Lindroos and Maronier, Helsinki has undergone a rapid transformation since the late 90s.

"When I first arrived here, I noticed that there are many strong communities. They were however often functioning behind closed doors. Now this is changing”, Maronier says. 

One of the couple’s community-driven projects is Lähiöfest, an event exploring the suburbs which the duo has organised in different cities since 2015.

“The idea has been to bring people together. Lähiöfest is a tool to promote interaction between cities, companies, associations, and residents – different parties who normally might not meet.”

Lindroos and Maronier have also compiled a phenomenon-based learning programme for teaching urbanism. Kaupunkioppi – City Learning takes professionals from different fields into schools to encourage children to examine their nearby surroundings. “If we want to solve big challenges, we need to start locally.”

Age: Katja 50 and Ramon 52
Live in: Lauttasaari
Profession: Entrepreneurs. The couple owns the consulting and production company Urban Practice. For MyHelsinki, Ramon photographs and Katja writes about different neighbourhoods in Helsinki.
What you didn’t know about us: Ramon is a magician who is especially fond of card tricks in combination with mentalism. Katja is an avid football fan. She supports the British team Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

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