Improving efficiency in Finnish public land use processes – regulatory change and digitalisation in focus


  • Kimmo Sulonen Tampere University
  • Jouni Vastamäki City of Järvenpää



building permit, public sector development, customer-orientation, operation model


The efficiency of the public sector is a major discussion topic internationally. The discussion often refers to a need to review, renew, or reform public regulation in an attempt to balance the public economy, citizens’ needs, digitalisation, and sustainable use of resources. For example, Finland aims to redesign built environment regulation and promote digitalisation both on local and national levels, while balancing efficiency needs. This paper explores the potential to improve public land use processes through enhancing efficiency in the building permit process. The paper studies possible solutions based on the case development processes of two Finnish cities, and reflects them on a nationwide context by interviewing key persons in municipal land use management. Based on the findings, the challenges in achieving efficiency lie on the complexity of processes, public sector’s management, organisational culture, and needs of co-operation in multiple levels. Especially problematic is the unpredictability of the process, possibly outweighing the tangible benefits of the development. Digitalisation, including the use of data models and 3D BIM in automatisation, interaction, and knowledge management, is anticipated to aid the efficiency of the land use and building permit processes the long run.  Findings suggests that, to emphasise the development in land use and building permit processes, fostering a new way of thinking and redesigning the public sector’s operating model is essential. The redesign should focus on more strategic management, and a new mindset for designing and conducting public processes. A successful new operating model and a renewed mindset would enable the adaptation of regulatory renewal, digitalisation, as well as sustainable use of resources.

Author Biographies

Kimmo Sulonen, Tampere University

- Postdoctoral researcher in Tampere university – Faculty of Build Environment
- Head of unit, Real Estate and Survey at City of Hämeenlinna
- Doctor of Science (Technology) 2020, Civil and infrastructure engineering, Tampere University, Kalevantie 4, 33014 TAMPERE UNIVERSITY, FINLAND,
- Past experience: Project manager / Cadastral surveyor, City of Tampere - Project management of Renewal of Real Estate Formation procedures
- President, Association of Built Environment Research (
- The Foundation of National Land Survey Promotion (Maanmittausalan edistämissäätiö sr), award for development work for promoting the field in 2021 (doctoral dissertation).
- Memberships in editorial committees: Nordic Journal of Real Estate and Survey advisory Board.
- Current research interest to find ways to understand customer needs, service design principles and to improve efficiency and customer-orientation in the public sector, e.g., in cadastral procedures, Building permit processes, and local detailed planning.

Jouni Vastamäki, City of Järvenpää

  • Head of unit, Building Inspection at City of Järvenpää and city of Hyvinkää
  • Master of Engineering (Technology), Civil and infrastructure engineering
  • Specialists in Ministry of Environment in building legislation
  • Research interest is to find ways to improve public building permit processes and digitalisation of the process to allow efficiency and customer satisfaction gains.



How to Cite

Sulonen, K., & Vastamäki, J. (2022). Improving efficiency in Finnish public land use processes – regulatory change and digitalisation in focus. Nordic Journal of Surveying and Real Estate Research, 16(1).



Received 2021-07-07
Accepted 2022-01-20
Published 2022-01-24