Curriculum Vitae

Name Taipale, Kaarin Hanna Irene
Title Ph.D. in Urban Studies
Nationality Finnish
Profession  Urban researcher, freelance writer and lecturer

In brief

Kaarin Taipale received her Ph.D. (in Finland Dr.Tech.) at the Helsinki University of Technology (Department of Architecture, Urban Studies). Taipale was originally educated as an architect at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH-Z), and received a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation at Columbia University in New York. She has worked as an architect in Zurich, New York and Helsinki; as the Editor of ARKKITEHTI, the Finnish Architectural Review; as the Chief Executive of the Building Control Department of the City of Helsinki, and as Guest Professor (Sustainable Urbanism) at Chalmers in Gothenburg.

From 2000 to 2003, as Chairperson of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, she was both political representative and expert on urban issues in several United Nations’ and other intergovernmental meetings, e.g. WSSD in Johannesburg in 2002. On behalf of the Ministry of the Environment of Finland she chaired in 2006 - 2010 the global Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction, which focused on energy issues and sustainability policies in the built environment. She has been an expert adviser of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

She has been Vice President of the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE). Among her political activities as a Social Democrat she is a Board Member of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and a replacement member of the City Board and of the City Council of Helsinki.

In recent years as a freelance writer, lecturer and researcher, she has focussed on sustainability and urban development, as well as local and global energy policies. She has discussed the cross-cutting nature of the energy and broader sustainability perspectives in regional and urban policies, as well as metropolitan governance. Her research has analysed the privatization of the urban public realm, basic services in particular, and the role of financing in sustainable construction.


Ph.D. (Urban Studies), Helsinki University of Technology
2000 Fellow, the Salzburg Seminar (Business and the Environment Programme, University of Cambridge Programme for Industry)
1992 – 00
Management and leadership training while employed by the City of Helsinki
Master of Science (Historic Preservation), Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York
1972 Master of Science (Architecture), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
1964 – 67   
Music studies at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki

Languages Speaking Reading Writing
Finnish Mother tongue
English Fluent Excellent       Fluent        
German Fluent Fluent Good
Swedish Good Fluent Good
French Basics Fair Basics
Russian Basics Basics -

Work Experience
2011 -    Urban researcher, freelance
2006 – 10    Coordinator and Chair, Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction; UN-led initiative of the Ministry of the Environment
2005 – Visiting Researcher, Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research (CKIR), Aalto University School of Economics (formerly Helsinki School of Economics, HSE)
2005 – 06 "Jubileumsprofessor", guest professor (Sustainable Urbanism) at the Architecture School of Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg
2004 – External expert, Holcim Foundation, Zurich
2004                 Immediate Past Chair and Senior Advisor, ICLEI World Secretariat, Toronto
2000 – 03 Senior Advisor at the City Hall, City of Helsinki (leave of absence from the Building Control Department while Chair of ICLEI)
1993 – 03 Executive Director, Building Control Department, City of Helsinki
1992 – 93 Deputy City Architect, Department of Public Works, City of Helsinki
1988 – 91 Editor-in-Chief, ARKKITEHTI, the Finnish Architectural Review
1985 – 88 Own practice as an architect in Helsinki
1983 – 84 Design architect, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York
1981 – 82 (Master’s programme in Columbia University, NY)
1975 – 81 Project and design architect, Kalle Vartola Architects, Helsinki
1973 – 74 Design architect, Farner und Grunder Industriearchitekten, Zurich

Selected publications, essays
2017 "The map of the world is a network of cities." Essay in Kirjava käsikirja kestävään kehitykseen (A Colorful Handbook as an Introduction to Sustainable Development), edited by Suvi Ahola. Several authors including Tarja Halonen, Erkki Tuomioja, Sixten Korkman, Peter Lund
2017 Kriittinen kaupunkiaapinen (A Critical Urban ABC), with Pentti Arajärvi. Into Kustannus
2016  "Is 'resilience' the new 'Sustainable Development'?" Article in Terra, Vol. 128, N:o 4
2014 Euroopan mahdollisuus. (A Chance for Europe.) Compilation of expert articles, edited with Jouko Kajanoja.
2012 Kaupunkeja myytävänä. (Cities for Sale.) Mini-pamflet in Finnish, based on the material of the doctoral thesis. Into.
2012            "Challenges and way forward in the urban sector." A report in Sustainable Development in the 21st century. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), New York
2012 "From Light Green to Sustainable Buildings." Chapter 10 in State of the World 2012. The Worldwatch Institute, Washington DC
2012 Guggenheimin varjossa. (In the shadow of Guggeheim) Editor and co-author. Into, Riika
2011 Metropolipolitiikkaa! (Policies and politics for metropolitan governance!) Editor and co-author of a pamphlet in Finnish. Into, Vantaa
2010 – 2011 Columnist, Kuntalehti (Journal of the Finnish Association of Local Authorities)
2010 – 2012 Columnist, Arkkitehtiuutiset (Newsletter of the Finnish Association of Architects)
2010 Sustainable Buildings and Construction in Africa. (co-editor) Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
2010 "Financing as risk management in a sustainable building process." Chapter in Sustainable Building Process, research project led by VTT, Tarja Häkkinen.                
Finnish summary (pp 62-65)
2010 "Finland took buildings and construction to the Marrakech Process." POINTS, Newsletter of the Ministry of the Environment of Finland, October 2010
Points on the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction with Finland as lead country 2006-2010
2010 "Buildings and construction as tools for promoting more sustainable patterns of consumption and production." Sustainable Development Innovation Briefs, Issue 9, March 2010. UN DESA DSD, New York
2009 Cities for Sale. How economic globalization transforms the local public sphere. Doctoral thesis. Helsinki University of Technology. Espoo.
2007 "Sama asunto – eri isäntä." (Same home – many landlords) Essay in Housing 2030, report by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Ministry of the Environment (in Finnish)
2007 – 10 Monthly radio column, Finnish Public Broadcasting Company (YLE Radio 1)
2007 "Energy in the Built Environment – Best Policy Practices", publication of the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction, editor,
2007 "Could we talk about cities?" Essay in ARKKITEHTI, the Finnish Architectural Review 1/2007
2006 "From the Piazza to the Internet, The shift from local public space to global public sphere", UN Chronicle, Vol XLIII, number 2, 2006, UN, New York
2006 Blog texts and columns at (Finnish and English)
2005 Local and Global: Role of Local Government in a Sustainable World in Global Urban Development Mag, Vol 1, Issue 1, 2005, GUD, Washington DC
2004 "Local and Global, Policy and Implementation, Governance and Participation", essay in Finding the Path from Johannesburg, Proceedings of the Asia-Europe Environment Forum First Roundtable, ed. Bertrand Fort, Asia-Europe Foundation, Singapore, and Hanns Seidel Foundation, Singapore
2004 Local and Global – Role of local government in a sustainable world, City of Helsinki Urban Facts, Helsinki
2003 Pasilankaupunki – puheenvuoroja Keski-Pasilan tulevaisuudesta käytävään keskusteluun  (Pasila City – discussing the future of Central Pasila railroad years area in Helsinki),  feasibility study, City Hall, Helsinki (in Finnish only)
2002 "Everyday reality of Glocalisation – localisation within a global framework", essay in ARKKITEHTI, the Finnish Architectural Review 3/2002
2001 "Participation: to talk, to hear, to listen, or to debate?  - About the difficulty of
public debate", essay in Talking about the City, ed. Marja-Riitta Norri and Kirsi Leiman, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki
2001 "In and out of context", introductory essay in Helsinki – Contemporary urban architecture photographed by Jussi Tiainen, Building Books, Helsinki
1998 "Technological Change and the Fate of the Public Realm", essay in
Technology, Place & Architecture, ed. Kenneth Frampton, Rizzoli, New York
1997 Koti Helsingissä - urbaanin asumisen tulevaisuus (A Home in Helsinki;
Future of Urban Housing), eds. Kaarin Taipale and Harry Schulman, Helsinki (in Finnish only)
1995 "On Contemporary Catalan Architecture", Quaderns, Barcelona
1994 Helsinki for European Cultural Capital Year 2000, pamphlet, editor, City of Helsinki
1992 "Stray Paths and Voyages of Discovery, On Being an Architect in Finland in 1992", essay in The Work of Architects, ed. Pekka Korvenmaa, Helsinki
1990 Kirjeitä kiven taskusta - Kolme kaupunkia (Letters off Stone Walls – Three Cities), essays, Kaarin Taipale and Matti K. Mäkinen, Helsinki (in Finnish only)
1990 – 93 Columnist in Helsingin Sanomat, daily newspaper
1989 – 90 Columnist in Uusi Suomi, daily newspaper

Expert in working groups and projects, among others

European Commission, DG Trade and Industry, Advisory Group for the project Connect and Construct, 2013-2014. Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, member of the evaluation group selecting the architects to be invited to the design competition of Nobel Center, 2012-2013; Democracy-group of the City of Helsinki, member, 2011; Advisory Committee of the UN Marrakech Process, member 2008-10; Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of NAFTA, Report on Challenges and Opportunities for Green Building in North America, Advisory Panel member 2006 – 07; Global Jury member, Holcim Awards for sustainable construction 2006-07; World Commission  on Social Dimension of Globalization, Knowledge Network Member, ILO, Geneva 2002; External  Expert for Evaluation and Assessment of Proposals and Projects in Programmes of the European Commission, Brussels 1999, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2013; Jury member, several urban design, park and architectural competitions in Finland, Sweden and Portugal.

Lectures, Keynote Speeches

Speaker in conferences and seminars, a.o.; UNEP's and LivCom Awards seminar, Xiamen, China, Dec 2013; Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Nov 2012; Selfridges workshop, London, July 2012; Rio+20 Summit, Rio de Janeiro, June 2012; Liechtenstein Congress on Sustainable Development and Responsible Investing, Vaduz, May 2012; Green Construction Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Feb 2012; UNEP's and LivCom Awards Seminar, Seoul, Oct 2011; Sustainable construction and procurement for a Green Economy, Rio de Janeiro, June 2011; Globe Forum, Dublin, Nov 2010; Conference on Historic preservation and Sustainability, Lisbon, Oct 2010; Innovation Forum, St. Petersburg, Sept 2010; Urban Sustainability and Integrated Urban Regeneration, Madrid, April 2010; Sustainable Building SB10 Portugal conference, Faro, March 2010; Delhi High Level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Transfer, Delhi Oct 2009; Sustainable Buildings and Construction for India, Delhi Feb 2009; UNFCCC COP-13 Bali 2007, and COP-14 Poznan 2008; Sustainable Building 08 World Conference, Melbourne; UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD 11 – 17) New York 2003 – 09;  Sustainable Building SB07 regional conference, Kuala Lumpur 2007; African Development Bank First Water Week, Tunis 2004; Renewables 2004 conference, Bonn 2004; 3rd World Water Forum, Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga 2003; World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg 2002; UN-Habitat, the First World Urban Forum, Nairobi 2002; URBIS 2002, São Paulo 2002; Sustainable Building 02 World Conference, Oslo 2002; LookUpBelfast 2002; International Conference on Freshwater, Bonn 2001; The Jerusalem Seminar in Architecture 1996

Public lectures and guest lectures in universities on issues such as energy in the built environment, sustainable urbanism and globalization, corporate social responsibility, urban space, public art and contemporary architecture, from 1988 on in Finland and worldwide.

Commitments, Memberships and Professional Affiliations

2014 - 2017 City Board, City of Helsinki, Deputy Member
2009 – 2017 Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council (Uudenmaan liitto), Board Member
2010 – Global Urban Development, Board of Directors, Member
2010 – 2014, 2017 - 2019 Social Democratic Party of Finland, Party Council Member
2009 -  City Council of the City of Helsinki, replacement member
2008 – 2011 International Initiative for Sustainable Built Environment), Vice President
2008 – Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Advisory Board Member
2007 – 2009 World Future Council, Councillor,, resigned
2005 – 2008 Commission of the Port of Helsinki, Member
2003 – 2007 Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD), Expert
2000 – 2003 ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Chair of the Exec. Committee
1998 – 2006 Member of the ICLEI Executive Committee
1999 – 2003 Arkadia Culture Society of the Finnish Parliament (Arkadia-seura), Vice Chair
1997 – 1999 Friends of the Finnish Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Chair
1991 – International Association of Art Critics AICA, member
1972 – The Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, member

Honors, Grants

2011 - 13 Working grant of the National Arts Commission of Finland
1999 Order of the White Rose of Finland, Chevalier of the 1st Class (President of Finland)
1995 Woman of the Year (Business and Professional Women in Finland)
1981 - 83 Fulbright Scholarship for post-graduate studies in the United States