Building activity around Lake Jyväsjärvi
The 1980s were a decade of powerful development in Jyväskylä. This was most evident in the form of new public buildings in various parts of the town. This was a period when buildings such as the town library, the town theatre, the indoor ice-skating rink, Rauhalahti peat-fired power plant, the market hall and numerous shopping centres were completed both in the town centre and along its periphery.
Another visible change in the town landscape was the building of the Kuokkala area, which had been preserved as an almost untouched rural landscape on the other side of Lake Jyväsjärvi. Kuokkala is now home to over 15,000 people.
For decades, the problem of through traffic had bothered the people of the town and this was resolved in 1989 with the completion of new Rantaväylä roads along the shoreline of the lake. They made possible the construction of the popular pedestrian street as part of Kauppakatu. Kuokkala Bridge, half a kilometre in length and crossing Lake Jyväsjärvi, was completed at the same time as the Rantaväylä roads.
As the end of the century approached, the scenery around Lake Jyväsjärvi changed considerably in other ways as well. The university and Nokia buildings in Mattilanniemi, the light-coloured university and Technology Centre buildings located at Ylistönrinne, and the pedestrian and cyclist bridge connecting these areas have, indeed, become the new landmarks of the town.
Construction work along the shoreline has continued into the new millennium on the Lutakko site vacated by Schauman’s plywood factory after it was moved to Säynätsalo. It is now occupied by a trade fair and congress centre, Jyväskylä Paviljonki and the highest building in the town, the 15-storey Innova, in addition to residential buildings.
Lutakko and the new Matkakeskus travel centre, completed in 2002 and embodying both rail and road travel services, are connected by a footbridge over the rail tracks.
Multitalented culture and sports partner
The events Jyväskylä Summer and Jyväskylä Winter formed the basis for Jyväskylä’s reputation as a town of culture. Subsequently, these events have joined forces and numerous other events have evolved to further support this reputation with Graphica Creativa, Alvar Aalto Symposium and Jyväskylä Summer Jazz probably being the best known. Largely thanks to its university, Jyväskylä has become a significant congress venue and the completion of Jyväskylä Paviljonki has further strengthened its status.
Jyväskylä is among Finland’s most popular tourist destinations. Unlike many other towns, Jyväskylä lacks a single major tourist attraction, but its popularity is based on the diversity of its several museums, theatres, orchestras and choirs and events of a high standard, plus its excellent location. Right at the end of the 1990s, Jyväskylä became the site for the home of Hilarius Mouse, a great favourite among children; this place is called Greenvalley.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators come to watch the Jyväskylä Rally, which is held annually along nearby roads. This competition is among the best known international events held in Finland, and so it is also known by the name Neste Rally Finland. In the mid-1980s, ice hockey came to enjoy the same popularity as the old favourite, baseball, and even surpassed it, thanks to the success of the local team JypHT.
Local sporting icons have attained international success in sporting events such as swimming, skiing and ski-jumping. Jyväskylä’s reputation as a sporting town has been further promoted by it being home to Finland’s only Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences and the associated research institutes.
The reform carried out at the end of the previous millennium in regard to provinces – this was when the Province of Central Finland was abolished – and the competition between the country’s centres have compelled Jyväskylä too to look beyond the town limits. The cooperation connected to livelihoods among the four local councils of the District of Jyväskylä, namely the Town of Jyväskylä, the Rural Commune of Jyväskylä, and the Local Districts of Laukaa and Muurame, has intensified under the auspices of Jykes Oy year by year, and in 2002 the Local District of Uurainen also joined in.
The objective is to create a networked town enabling the best features of civic society. The combined population of this coalition is clearly more than half of the population of the entire province. The population of the town of Jyväskylä exceeded 80,000 at the beginning of the new millennium. Over 21,000 of the inhabitants are university students.