EL 202020 – Meet the Finnish team

Hello, hola, moi, hej!

Before we get to travel to Mexico and merge into one big group with our fellow labbers from there, we would like to introduce this year’s Finnish Aalto LAB Mexico (ALM) team. First, we will introduce our team members, and then continue with our ideas and objectives for the project.

We are a multidisciplinary team of five students from the two major universities in Helsinki – Aalto University and the University of Helsinki. Our team has expertise from various fields, which include social sciences, design, engineering and architecture.

From left to right: Ellen, Petra, Elsa, Jemina, Henriette

Ellen Kasper • Anthropology • Society and Change, University of Helsinki

Ellen’s background is in Area and Cultural studies, with a special focus on Europe and Latin America. She is especially interested in a deeper understanding of people and how they experience their worlds and realities.

Petra Nokelainen • Architecture • Aalto University

Petra is interested in sustainable building methods and materials. She is especially intrigued by the way architecture can affect the human mind and health, and always wants the user to be a part of the design process from start to finish.

Elsa Pakkasvirta  • Development Geography and Regional Studies University of Helsinki

Elsa is specialized in understanding socio-ecological systems from different transdisciplinary viewpoints, and she aspires to deepen her knowledge in the profound and complex connections between sustainability, society and development

Jemina Peltola • Engineering Advanced Energy Solutions, Aalto University

Jemina has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electricity. She has specialized in problem solving, sustainable development and renewable energy.

Henriette Friis • Design Creative Sustainability (design), Aalto University

Henriette studied her BA in industrial design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. She is passionate about design research, sustainability and multidisciplinary collaborations for innovation.

Planning of “El 202020

Project planning in Aalto University, January 2020

In Aalto University the ALM project is a part of a course module called Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT). Our SGT studio course started in the beginning of this January, and that is when we really started to plan our project further. It hasn’t been an easy task, but with the multiple skills and expertise we have in our team, we have come a long way from those first sessions!

The main objectives of our project are improving and stabilizing the income in the community of El 20 and investing in the sustainability and preservation of the local culture. Through different activities, which we will be conducting together with the members of the local community and other stakeholders, our goals include creating new sources of income for the local women while raising awareness of gender equality and increasing the feeling of a communal ownership of the La Casita building(s).

The overall theme of our project will be the food and cooking traditions in El 20. We will be collaborating with the residents as well as the students from UNAM and other experts to develop the kitchen and dining space in the La Casita Complex. This could play a significant role in improving the health of the community and thereby also limiting their medical expenses. The space will act as a prototype for a safer cooking environment with access to clean water and better indoor air quality. 

However, in order to plan a functioning cooking and dining space to El 20 we will have to understand the way the local people relate to food. Thus, we have decided to gather a book with local traditional recipes from the community and especially with food related stories and histories of the local women. This will be a way to preserve traditional knowledge and possibly strengthen the local identity. Producing a book made for the women and by them will also be a way of acknowledging and valuing the work they do for the community. 

To conclude, our main objective as a truly interdisciplinary group is to bring together our expertise from various fields and combine them into valuable and functional results. We will gather important data of the research area, with which we could offer great insights to the ALM project in general. And by doing so, we could do our part in ensuring a continuum of a project which is effectual and respectful towards its partners. We are still in the process of fusing our plans with the UNAM labbers’, and we are eagerly waiting for our trip to Mexico and meeting them face to face to combine our ideas into something remarkable!

By: Ellen (referencing our team’s project doc.)

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