U Is For Urban.


This crow is an urban dinosaur. It looks for snacks at a gastropub terrace and in the bonus pictures tries to figure out what the flightless mop-heads are up to and checks the door between the shoe shop and tech store.

The pictures were taken in Keskuskatu (translation Center Street) pedestrian zone in Helsinki Downtown in Midsummer Day 2017. Very few shops or restaurants were open as most people would be somewhere in the countryside eating, drinking or attending music festivals.

Keskuskatu is in other times a much more busy place. Keskuskatu and much of Aleksanterinkatu, which is the street crossing Keskuskatu in the pictures, are heated in the winter with the district heating water returning from the buildings to the power stations. This way, no snow ploughs or salting is needed most of the time.

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© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, all!

    Marcus @ 3

    Yeah, they’re Penrose style tiles (with compromises made for manufacturability). The tiling is from 2014, when they converted the street to a pedestrian zone.

  2. kestrel says

    That is brilliant to heat the streets. Also returning the water to the power stations, very good. In that last photo, the crow is simply waiting for the staff to serve him, after having already perused the menu.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    kestrel @ 5

    Yeah, in a city, district heating in combination with combined electricity and heat generation is a good thing, while the efficiency of the electricity generation suffers a bit, the waste heat, which would otherwise go to the sea from the condenser of the power station, is used for heating buildings in the city.

    Only a few streets are heated, mostly central ones which have a lot of pedestrian traffic. Some very steep hills and entrances to parking garages can also be heated for safety reasons.

  4. Nightjar says

    I love these, it’s like that crow owns the place. The second one is just wonderful, such a funny and adorable pose!

  5. rq says

    I got the feeling that it’s a crow city, with humans as mere minions to serve their needs: open doors, toss crumbs, etc. My favourite, too, is the second photo. So much character, and so many options for the crow’s inner dialogue.
    The empty city looks familiar, Riga is the same for Midsummer. Only the last few years the city has started planning a large Midsummer concert for the tourists, because it’s not a very good image when people arrive to see the nightlife and experience the vibrant spirit of the city, and it is ghostly empty…

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