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About FinEst Centre for Smart Cities

FinEst Centre for Smart Cities (FinEst Centre) is an independent organisation under Tallinn University of Technology. The aim of the FinEst Centre is to improve urban environments by testing new technologies and thereby grow into an internationally renowned research and development centre. FinEst Centre is a multi-national research and innovation community founded by Tallinn University of Technology, Aalto University, Forum Virium Helsinki and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.


To develop cities for people through actionable research in Finland and Estonia


Our 20 smart solutions will be developed and implemented in at least 30 European cities by 2030


We are ambitious. We are trustworthy. We care.


Research Streams

When FinEst Centre for Smart Cities started, researchers were divided into different streams by topic according to their area of interest. These streams have some level of autonomy and are led by renowned researchers in that field. So far, five research streams exist, and there is the possibility to create a sixth research stream in the future.

Stream Lead

Built Environment 1.png

Professor Marketta Kyttä

Aalto University

Built Environment

Key research areas:

  • Smart communicative city planning:Combining participatory and collaborative approach to urban planning with computational planning methods and tools.   It focuses on usable digital tools and methods (e.g. PPGIS and 3D city models).  

  • Smart human living data: multi-perspective, participatory data collection and analysis from the uses and users of urban space utilising a variety of digital tools. 

  • Smart support systems: co-developed planning and decision support systems for smart city planning and visioning including smart planning room. 

  • Qualities of the built environment: Smart communicative city planning enables rethinking and integrating the diverse qualities of urban spaces and makes these quality perspectives visible and debatable.  

  • Bio-digital architecture and urban design (including circular bio-economy): Offering an experimental approach to designing the built environment from a simultaneously biological and digital perspective.  

  • Smart urban space solutions: human-centred solutions for a smart, liveable city and its service. 

Main researchers involved:

  • Professor Kimmo Lylykangas - TalTech, Landscape Architecture  

  • Senior Research Fellow Aija Staffans - Aalto, Architecture and Urban Studies   

  • Researcher Pramod Bhusal - Aalto, Electrical Engineering and Automation  

  • Post-doctoral researcher Pilvi Nummi - Aalto, Built Environment

  • University Lecturer Paulo Pinho - Aalto, Electrical Engineering and Automation

  • Researcher Veronika Valk-Siska - TalTech, Architecture and Urban Studies 

  • Research Fellow Kristi Grišakov - TalTech, Landscape Architecture  

  • PhD Student Pedro Laguardia Tavares - Aalto, Industrial and Power Electronics 

  • PhD Student Petri Kangassalo - Aalto, Built Environment 

Built Environment Stream
Energy Stream

Stream Lead

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Professor Jarek Kurnitski

Tallinn University of Technology

Adjunct Professor at Aalto University

Smart Energy

Preparing energy plans is important. Smart grids which involve how areas of the city as well as individual buildings are heated are areas where the centre has an important role to play in coordinating different initiatives in the energy sector, and in bringing information about all these activities to the attention of the population in general. 

Key research areas:

  • Integration of smart nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) with energy networks to find smart control, storage, low energy and demand side management solutions for future smart zero energy buildings and smart grids. 

  • Operation of smart electricity and district heat markets operation and business models, control, communication and algorithm development for electricity and heating markets benefiting from buildings with smart electricity, automation, storage, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems; connected meters and sensors.

  • Identification of cost-effective actions, instruments and measures for energy efficiency and energy market policies and action plans, sharing of best policy practices e.g. optimisation of energy demand to avoid peaks.  

Main researchers involved:

  • Professor Argo Rosin - TalTech, Smart Grids

  • Professor Targo Kalamees - TalTech, Building physics   

  • Professor Sanna Syri - Aalto, Energy technology and energy economics  

  • Research Professor Dmitri Vinnikov - TalTech, Power Electronics

  • Associate Professor Risto Kosonen - Aalto, Mechanical Engineering

  • Senior Scientists Juha Jokisalo - Aalto, Mechanical Engineering

  • Post-doctoral Researcher Ville Olkkonen - Aalto, Mechanical Engineering

  • Post-doctoral Researcher Roya Ahmadiahangar - TalTech, Electrical Power Engineering and Mechatronics

  • PhD Student Hatef Hajian - Aalto, Civil Engineering

  • PhD Student Tero Koivunen - Aalto, Energy technology and energy economics

  • PhD Student Pauli Hiltunen - Aalto, Energy technology and energy economics

  • PhD Student Yuchen Ju - Aalto, Mechanical Engineering

  • PhD Student Andrii Chub - TalTech, Power Electronics

Urban Analytics & Data Stream

Stream Lead

Urban Analytics & Data 1.png

Adjunct Professor Kary Främling

Aalto University

Urban Analytics
& Data Stream

Key research areas:

  • Urban Analytics & Data stream develops and promotes standards and systems that make it technically possible and economically feasible to publish Open Services through standardized interfaces. This approach signifies that for-profit companies can publish their services openly, without publishing their confidential or business-sensitive data. The solutions will be based on the use of open standards. 

  • IoT, Digital twins and Open Services are the cornerstone technologies for implementing what we call the System of systems (SoS). SoS is a set of standards, recommendations and services implemented as so-called micro-services that can be easily integrated with existing IoT platforms and other relevant systems, also supporting the concept of serverless computing. 

  • Many of the non-technical challenges are real business challenges. 

  • Adding value to big data and other more conventional data sets by including different socio-economic and sensor-based built-environment data streams into existing data pools is another core research topic of this stream.

Main researchers involved:


  • Professor Anu Masso - TalTech, Data Governance

  • Associate Professor Matti Rossi - Aalto, ICT

  • Post-doctoral Researcher Hadi Ghanbari - Aalto, ICT

  • PhD Student Matti Huotari - Aalto, Computer Science

  • Post-Doctoral Researcher Manik Madhikermi - Aalto, Department of Computer Science

Stream Lead


Professor Erkki Karo

Tallinn University of Technology

Smart City Governance

The following will structure and contextualise smart city developments in the coming decade.

Key research areas:

  • Economics and innovation capacities of smart cities: How can cities become smart in the sense of supporting technological development, innovation and employment in local communities as part of smart city initiatives?

  • Sustainability and governance of smart cities: How can cities become smart in the sense of sustainable development, including goals of climate neutrality, environmental and technological self-sufficiency?  

  • Politics and public policies in smart cities: How can cities become smart in the sense of providing functional citizen-participation platforms for public policy and service co-design and co-delivery as the basis for legitimacy and happiness?

  • Internationalisation and integration of smart cities: How can cities become smart in the sense of political, policy, service and technological integration, collaboration and/or interoperability while maintaining local development concerns from innovation capacities and sustainability to participation and legitimacy?   

Main researchers involved:

  • Professor Wolfgang Drechsler - TalTech, Governance

  • Professor Vasilis Kostakis - TalTech, P2P Governance

  • Professor Marko Nieminen - Aalto, Computer science

  • Senior Research Fellow Veiko Lember - TalTech, Governance

Governance Stream

Stream Lead

Claudio Roncoli.jpg

Assistant Professor Claudio Roncoli

Aalto University

Smart Mobility

In order to operate future transport systems safely and efficiently, there is a need of designing and implement a collaborative system, where (automated) vehicles and infrastructure exchange information and coordinate their actions. This vision requires numerous and significant advances in multiple areas, including traffic flow, control systems, and communication networks. 

Key research areas:

  • Smart Urban Mobility: Development of smart mobility strategies and applications for cities and urban regions based on data analysis, solutions and cyber-physical systems, aiming at efficient and sustainable mobility systems. 

  • Twin City infrastructure: Further multi-faceted evaluation of twin cities’ integration and direct and indirect impact assessment for digital and physical infrastructure. 

  • Smart Mobility Lab: Creating a mobility-specific set of living lab activities within the UOP. A lab that allows for testing future technologies, transport solutions, business and innovation models, monitoring systems for social processes, with the goal of building an efficient ecosystem that allows also for large-scale pilots.

Main researchers involved:

  • Assistant Professor Milos Mladenovic - Aalto, Transport Planning

  • Visiting Professor Themistoklis Charalambous - Aalto, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation

  • Professor Dago Antov - TalTech, Transport Planning

  • Senior University Lecturer Jaakko Hollmen - Aalto, Computer Science

  • Post-doctoral Researcher Vladimir Kuzmanovski - Aalto, Computer Science

  • Tenured Associate Professor Raivo Sell - TalTech, Autonomous vehicles

  • PhD Student Serio Agriesti - Aalto, Transport Planning

  • PhD Student Kaur Sarv - TalTech, Transport Planning

Smart Mobility

A sneak peek to the research done in FinEst Centre

We are proud to present FinEst Centre's PhD students' posters introducing their research plans. As a bonus you can contact them for collaboration!

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