City as Space of Rules and Dreaming


Research Group
Research Components

The project is is funded by the Kone Foundation and coordinated by the Academy of Fine Arts
(Doctoral programme) at the University of the Arts Helsinki 

Other partners are Helsinki University Faculty of Law, Helsinki University Faculty of Arts / Aesthetics
and Aalto University Department of Built Environment




Aino Hirvola, M.Sc. (arch.), doctoral candidate in urban planning

Aino’s doctoral thesis examines professional lobbying in urban planning and politicization as a source of democratic legitimacy of planning. Her main research interest is planning theory, within which she studies politicization, populism, emancipation, and transparency in planning. Currently she is also working in the research project ‘Transforming Anatomies of Democratic Planning: Combining Planning-Theoretical and Legal Perspectives on Flexible Regulation in Finnish Land-Use Law’ (TRANAPLAN) funded by the Academy of Finland. She is also a university teacher in the department of built environment, Aalto University. In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING, Aino works in the ‘neighbourhood component’, where she focuses on the connection between emancipation and urban space and planning.

Maiju Loukola, Doctor of Arts, university lecturer at the Doctoral programme of Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Helsinki

Maiju’s artistic research practice involves spatial and site-related urban space interventions. Her research focuses on the politics of space and speculative spatial, temporal and narrative materialities in urban space, examined in relation to democratization of space, peripherality and in-/exclusive practices. Maiju was one of the initiators of ”The Floating Peripheries – mediating the sense of place” project (Academy of Finland 2017–2021), and she finalised her dissertation dealing with mediality and touch in the “Figures of Touch” research project (AoF 2008–2012). Maiju is a member of the editorial committee of the RUUKKU Studies in Artistic Research journal. In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING Maiju studies spaces of belonging and co-existence in the polemical crossings of normative and imaginary site-formation.

Tanja Tiekso, PhD, researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts/Aesthetics

Tanja Tiekso specialises in experimental art and musical composition. Her previous research projects include studies in aesthetics of experimental music, Italian Futurism and new music during the Cold war. In her current research project, she explores experimental composition from the viewpoint of posthuman feminism (also funded by KONE Foundation). In CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING Tanja studies sound as a non-normative component in the city space as well as artistic phantasms, i.e. visionary images, as tools of dreaming. In addition to her research, Tanja also works as an experimental musician and writer.

Paul Tiensuu, MSSc, doctoral candidate in law at the University of Helsinki

Tiensuu’s main areas of research in CITY AS SPACE OF RULES AND DREAMING project are in the norms component, where he develops the theory of norms and their materialisation and effect in the urban space, and in the neighbourhood component where he studies how the urban space affects the potential of collective political action in neighbourhoods. He specialises on 20th century French philosophy, particularly structural theory, and in this vein contributes to the general theoretic background of the project. In his thesis Tiensuu elaborates upon network and systems theoretic research to study the structural effect of the regulatory systems to the change of laws, including how the regulation can be influenced from outside. This issue he has tackled also in his recent research on lobbying.

Henna-Riikka Halonen, Doctor of Fine Arts, Postdoctoral researcher at KuvA Uniarts

is a visual artist and a researcher who uses a wide range of artistic techniques and historical and cultural references. Her works often respond to our need to structure experiences as fiction to gain an understanding of them. Her work has been shown widely in Finland and internationally. Halonen works a s a postdoc researcher in the City as Space of Rules and Dreaming during 2024.

Jaakko Ruuska, Doctor of Fine Arts, Postdoctoral researcher at KuvA Uniarts  

Jaakko Ruuska is an artist and researcher who lives in Helsinki, Finland. As a researcher, he is interested in problems concerning spatial practices. In particular, he is interested in the emerge of peripheries in the distribution of the sensible. Currently he is a visiting postdoctoral researcher in the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts in Helsinki (UNIARTS), and he participates the interdisciplinary research project: City as Space of Rules and Dreaming. His artistic practice is based on documentary filmmaking and live arts. Ruuska holds the Doctor of Fine Arts (UNIARTS), and a Master of Arts in Documentary Filmmaking (Aalto-university, 2012). Since 2009 he has also been a member of the live art collective Other Spaces.