From Nature to Infrastructure: Vallisaari Island in the Helsinki Archipelago

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The history of Vallisaari is replete with natural and infrastructural entanglements. In between military occupations and abandonments, the island was transformed into an ecological paradise, but is now to be drawn back into the sphere of infrastructure through cultural and touristic development. Its transformations—whether for the worse or the better—have depended on regional geopolitics, location, and natural geography. When one traces this history, one finds an intermittent occupation of the environment by military structures, followed by abandonment, and subsequent recovery. Forthcoming international art events such as the Helsinki Biennial, inherently needing water, data, and energy to sustain them, also operationalize the island into infrastructure. Studying these natural and infrastructural transformations will be useful for any comprehensive study in the future to map the complex environmental history of Vallisaari.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArcadia: Explorations in Environmental History
VolumeSummer 2020
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • infrastructure
  • environment
  • ecology
  • bio-diversity

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