You Mean You Haven’t Heard about Urban Mill?

It’s that time of year again — PDP season is in full swing! PDP, the Product Development Project Seidenberg participates in, in collaboration with our friends at Aalto Design Factory, starts every year in the Fall and lasts until May. This year we have six students who have traveled to Helsinki this month to get in touch with the teams they’ll be working with for the next eight months. The students participating are Brianna Vecchione (CS), Ethan Garrison (CS), Jane Rabinovich (Graphic Design), Patrick Prescott (IS), and Peta Clarke (MS in IS).

Brianna Vecchione wrote a piece about the team’s experience in Helsinki earlier this month:
[the following text stands in its original form as it appeared on the Urban Mill home page]

“After weeks of planning and with anticipation and excitement, the Pace University PDP team finally arrived in Espoo to formally begin our PDP projects. There are 6 of us split into 2 teams: One sponsored by ABB to innovate maritime engineering and the other sponsored through ComNet to develop a low-cost autonomous networking system through environmental data collection. Our first stop after our 8-hour flight from New York City was the Espoo Innovation Garden, where we were first introduced to the Design Factory grounds. However, we were lucky enough to run into Lars Miikki, who gave us an in-depth introduction to the history of Urban Mill, an urban innovation platform, from its untraditional conception to its future ambitions as the next pioneer for European innovation. The space boasts extremely advantageous features, from their geographical and cultural location in Espoo to their emphasis on sustainable development via intelligent solutions, like smart city design and internationalization.

PDP Group 2014PDP Group 2014 - 2

This ambition is reflected throughout the grounds of Urban Mill. The space embraces the concept of  “ready but never finished,” with startup vision boards, rough prototypes, research posters, and Styrofoam ground plans scattered throughout the spaces. There are small, creatively decorated design spaces throughout the area, giving it a modern, colorful flare. As Lars explained to us, students prefer the “unfinished” space because it invites their own ideas and contributions as well as providing them with a chance to create, build, and innovate in a way that is original and personalized.

Our group was mesmerized by the many inventions we encountered, ranging from workspace bedrooms, to an “active life village,” to data trackers that detect movement. There’s an entire wall full of business cards of individuals who share, collaborate and contribute to the development of the Urban Mill – of course, we couldn’t resist adding our cards as well. We finished the tour with a demonstration of their three-panel, floor-to-ceiling monitor screen (we were pleasantly surprised to see an image of Manhattan in the background!).

Peta Clarke

Urban Mill









All in all, it was a wonderful introduction to the work to be done here at Aalto University Campus and we are honored to contribute to its visionary expansion at such an exciting time!”

It’s an exhilarating opportunity for all students participating, and we can’t wait to see how the projects turn out!