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Between naturalness and urbanity, how are protected areas integrated into cities? The case of Helsinki (Finland)

Abstract : Helsinki boasts numerous protected nature areas with a variety of statuses and objectives, including 52 nature reserves within the metropolitan area and two national parks just outside the city. Given this abundance of protected sites, Helsinki is an excellent example through which to examine nature-conservation policies in the socio-economic and environmental context of northern Europe. How strongly and how directly are these sites integrated into the city’s fabric? The situation in Finland’s capital shows that protection can become a factor in metropolization and that, in some cases, protected areas can be considered components of urbanity. This paper investigates the relationship between urbanity and naturalness by examining how protected areas are used, portrayed and construed. Urban policies and processes, the rhythms of city life and city dwellers’ habits and imaginations shape urban protected areas to such an extent that the urbanity of a city and the naturalness of its protected areas become inseparable. Hence, the “natural” character of these sites combines with their “urban” location in relationships that are usually complex and sometimes paradoxical. More generally, the situation in Helsinki highlights the important roles nature areas can play in shaping a city’s identity and in the process of metropolization.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 23, 2018 - 1:32:32 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 7, 2022 - 3:49:13 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01774051, version 1


Camille Girault. Between naturalness and urbanity, how are protected areas integrated into cities? The case of Helsinki (Finland). Articulo - Journal of Urban Research, Articulo - Revue de sciences humaines asbl, 2017, Urban Nature(s) Thinking together : cities and protected areas, 16, ⟨hal-01774051⟩



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