Changing urban identities on a discursive map

Annamari Huovinen*, Eija Timonen, Tomi Leino, Tuuli Seppälä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we look at changing urban place identities in four neighbourhoods in the Helsinki city area that are connected by the tram line number eight. The aim of our study is to present how place identity can be described as a cultural, discursive map that shows what kind of values, attitudes and ideologies are used when building urban place identities, and how people link different meanings to certain urban areas, based on their experiences and memories.The theoretical framework of the study draws from cultural mapping theory and literature on place identity. The empirical part consists of citizen interviews and diaries left to be filled up at tram stops. The construction of place identity is elaborated through three themes depicted in the empirical materials: home, nature and community. Our methodology is based on discourse analysis, and the research is part of the field of human geography and urban studies.We introduce a methodological tool: discursive mapping. It shows how different historical and societal layers are manifested in place identities. We also bring a new concept to the field: neighbourhooding, a process where neighbourhood identities are produced. The study sheds light to certain distinctive and unique neighbourhood identities and creates awareness of local histories. The research is a co-project withthe City of Helsinki.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • City, Place identity
  • Cultural mapping
  • Discursive mapping
  • Human geography
  • Neighbourhooding


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