Oranssi ry ("Orange group") is a Finnish organization created to provide young people with affordable housing in an urban environment. The housing projects provided by the Oranssi group encourage communal environmentally conscious living. Thus it is fair to say that the population actively participating in the Oranssi group's activities is more likely to be active in other areas of urban and environmental development as well.
The Oranssi form of housing differs from traditional rented apartments in that all inhabitants actively participate in communal activities. Usually, when the organization acquires a new house, all kinds of interested people with different kinds of skills come together to participate in an environmentally sound renovation of the building. This allows the future neighbours to get to know each other, much more than in normal "anonymous" housing types. Future renovations, as well as eg. gardening and snow clearing are done on a voluntary basis, with all inhabitants expected to participate in them.
Living in an Oranssi house is quite different from traditional urban living. Though each larger house is divided into several apartments with lockable exits, the inhabitants generally live in a large, open community with children roaming between apartments and parties often spilling into neighbouring apartments. Life in Oranssi houses is almost meant to be life as one big family, and to a large extent this works because of the willingness of the inhabitants. Many of the houses are equipped with high speed Internet connections that are included in the rent.
Oranssi ry also owns and operates a club in Katajanokka, Helsinki. The club is small, accommodating around a hundred people. However, this is more than enough for the aspiring bands and groups performing for interested audiences there, all with a common spirit of working together. The staff are all volunteers, and there is no age limit on entering the club. The Oranssi Club is a strong alternative to the overproduced, overpriced and overhyped mainstream entertainment scene. The club is worth checking out if you are travelling to Helsinki and want to meet new people outside the high-flying places. Oranssi also cooperates strongly with international organizations, allowing acts the world over to come and perform at the club.
The Oranssi homepages, though only in Finnish, can be found at http://www.oranssi.net. The pages also contain a calendar of upcoming shows at the Oranssi club, http://www.oranssi.net/kalenteri.phtml.