Jyrki Lehtinen

The local landownership structure and the cultural landscape: Case studies in Southern Finland

My work deals with the local landownership structure as a mediator in the emergence of cultural landscape, built environment and the institutionalisation processes of the local communities. This is studied in the countryside of Southern Finland in the first half of the 20th century trough a small amount of case studies.

The great land reforms of the 20th century in Finland after the first and second world wars are well known as general processes and in the macro level. However, the local spatial structures of the cultural landscapes, the built environment and the local communities in the 20th century have been studied less, especially in Southern Finland, and are often much better known from the previous centuries, of which there is a large amount of historical and other case studies and landscape inventories. 

The local communities that emerged in this process were short lived and had a polarized spatial structure. Very often these "ordinary landscapes" and the local communities within them were left beyond or cut apart by the borders of important landscape areas or valuable built environments as an "administrative landscape" defined only by the seemingly meaningless, horizon-cutting cadastral borders. My aim here is to make the history of these landscapes, local communities and built environments visible not only as a meaningless visual space as seen by an aesthetic viewer but as a lived history of the past generations mediated by the historical sedimentation of the everyday physical environments and the institutionalisation processes of the local communities.