Updated: Sep 18, 2023
We are not talking about Kallio or Kamppi but certainly my neighbourhood, Malminkartano, has its own reason and deserves to be told even for those, like me, who want to move to Helsinki but do not have the resources to be able to live in the beating heart of the city, in its liveliest and therefore inevitably exorbitant part.
But be careful, this does not mean that outside the central Helsinki area there is the steppe or that they are dead quarters, at all; simply, unlike what I am used to as an Italian, where cities are "compressed" in the borders and, in some cases, overcrowded, in Finland the geographical margins of the larger cities also include portions that, where I come from, would already be considered settling urban agglomerations, and no longer Milan to give an example that concerns me.
Malminkartano is about twenty minutes by train from Helsinki Central Station, with a train running every ten minutes and going right into the centre. It is quite far, both physically and visually, to the centre of the city to which it belongs; the large buildings and wide streets that characterise the historic centre are missing and it is also dotted with green areas and small parks, especially around apartment buildings; where the children who live there can spend carefree hours playing.
In addition to the railway connection, Malminkartano has an excellent connection to the other large districts of the city by bus, which in some cases represent an excellent substitute for the railway.
We understood that this is not a downtown neighbourhood, and consequently the question arises: is it a safe place?
Searching in the net I have not found information about it, therefore I can speak only on the basis of my experiences and of the people who live with me; although - as in all realities - the station represents the most "problematic" area, the reality of the facts is that although there are people at any time of the day stationed in the immediate vicinity (also because it is the same point where it is located a bar, a food kiosk and an Alepa, i.e. a supermarket) I have never been bothered or at least bored or even minded by them at all. This figure can change for women so remember that I speak based on my experience of two months, in which, however, almost every day twice a day I pass there, but in any case it remains a subjective figure.
Apart from this, the neighbourhood is extremely peaceful and very quiet, perfect for those like me who want the comforts and services of the city but not its chaotic and noisy presence.
I am talking about city services because everything that can normally be used is within a short distance; as I said earlier Alepa, the small supermarket, is just below the train station. If you need something bigger and even slightly cheaper the Lidl is quite close but you need to walk a bit, if you don't feel like walking there is a bus stop right outside.
There are several bars of different types, so a little something for everyone, a library and a great R Kioski.
It is true and a bit long each time to take the train to go to the centre, but it is also true that it is much cheaper as a rental than the more central areas, so it is a little up to your sensitivity in this regard.
Personally, I find myself a bit at a crossroads: part of me loves the neighbourhood because it is surrounded by greenery, it's quiet and I don't miss anything. The other half of me would rather be able to walk or cycle anywhere without having to take the train every time, especially in winter. So in this sense the question becomes extremely subjective and nuanced. However, the fact is that it is an excellent neighbourhood to live in, because despite being external, it is much more characteristic and safe than some others that are less distant from the centre, such as Pohjois Haaga.
So there is nothing left for me to do but recommend this small reality that seems almost a small village in itself.