Research: Underwater landscape in the Baltic Sea MSP context

Landscape studies in the University of Turku approaches landscape from a humanistic perspective as a culturally framed physical environment, a lived place and a medium of cultural meanings. The students in the discipline get ability to practical landscape conservation and key methods of landscape inventory, documentation and interpretation. The major research projects during the last few years have been dealing with cultural planning, suburbs, cultural environment as a resource in climate change mitigation and adaptation and research about local environmental knowledge using new methods for assessing the quality of environment and participating the locals and artists. 

During the BalticRIM project, University of Turku is working on the following aspects:

  • finding definitions and conceptual mapping of underwater landscape in the Baltic Sea area

  • considering the difference between operative institutional landscape and lived places and their cultural heritage

  • collecting data of terminology and categories from the partners, international/national laws and ratifications

  • asking the users (divers etc.) about the underwater landscape experience

  • drawing the connections of different areal definitions – natural, protective, cultural heritage etc. – and building a wider view of underwater world as a landscape

  • defining values that are influencing to the definitions of underwater landscape and should be regarded in the maritime spatial planning


Three articles are planned as an outcome of this research (two in Finnish and one in English). The English article is about “The benefits of the concept of underwater landscape to maritime spatial planning of the Baltic Sea”. Its abstract:

This study examines the advantages of the concept of ‘underwater landscape’ in underlining cultural values in the maritime spatial planning of the Baltic Sea. University of Turku will compare the concept of underwater landscape with the concepts of ‘culturally significant area’ and ‘seascape character’ used in maritime spatial planning. Furthermore, University of Turku will present views that justify the use of underwater landscape in maritime spatial planning when one wants to focus not only on marine areas in general but on the underwater area and its inherent cultural values in particular. In this study, the concept of ‘underwater landscape’ is formed using experiential knowledge collected from professional and amateur divers from Finland who dive along the shores of the Baltic Sea, as well from responses to the questionnaire sent to experts and the authorities on the composition of underwater landscape and the valuation of its components.

The two other articles in Finnish deal with:

  • experiences of landscape under the surface and
  • safeguarding and connections between different conventions.



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