My election themes in 2021
1. Special support
In Finland, every child and young person – even those who require special support – has an equal right to study and go to school. The need for special support may be due to physical (e.g. visual or physical impairment), neurological (e.g. autism spectrum disorder, ADHD) or/and mental (e.g. panic disorder, traumatic life event such as death of a loved one) reasons. These children and young people need timely and sufficient support at school, and they are entitled to have that support under the Basic Education Act. Turku is not offering the obligatory support as it should – this has to change.
2. Voluntary exercise and sports for children and youth
School environments and the routes to nearby schools must be made so safe that instead of being denied, children can be encouraged to cycle to school already in the lower grades. Including cycling alongside swimming as a civic skill practiced in primary school would improve the safety of light traffic now and in the future.
The city is responsible for building sports facilities that enable voluntary exercise, serving all residents equally – including children and young people. Skate parks and pumptracks serve as versatile sports venues for freestyle sports such as skate boarding, BMX cycling and scooting, especially loved by the school-aged kids, youth and young adults. Those venues should be seen as investments for the wellbeing of local children, youth and even adults as scientific research has shown them to encourage self-exercise and self-realization, and to increase mental health and social wellbeing among the youth.
3. Urban forests
When thinking about the developing relationship of children and young people with nature, the most important thing is nature close to their everyday life. The health benefits of forests are real and agreed by the research community. The change in city layout and additional construction must not be based solely on economic reasons, but the value of urban forests must be recognized as increasing the well-being of urban residents. Destroyed forests cannot be replaced by planted greeneries or park benches – the residents of Turku deserve their moments in their nearby forest.
4. Scientifically proven knowledge to support the decision making process
Many annoyances would be avoided if all decisions were based on scientific research and proven data. This would also lead to significant savings for both the city and its residents. However, the use of scientific knowledge in policy-making will only be successful if the decision makers understand what has been studied and why. My job is to popularize scientific research data, and I believe I can ask enough of, and the right kind of questions to help us as the decision makers to understand and to make the right decisions.
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