The article examines Finnish forest suburbs in the 1940s–1960s. We highlight the role of landscape architecture–a dimension that has received limited attention. Suburban landscapes have largely remained as an invisible background of modern architecture without design history of their own. Our article focuses on forest landscapes and discusses how they were conceptualized and implemented by urban and landscape planners. With the case studies of Tapiola and Vuosaari, we demonstrate that forests were not neutral and ‘natural’, but culturally constructed and carefully designed. We look at the construction of nature in landscape architecture and show how suburban forests were amenitized by recreation facilities and embedded with moral and restorative aspirations. In both cases, nature was the starting point; however, the design approaches evince clear differences. In Tapiola, the aim was the aestheticization of the forest–enhancing nature with design interventions–whereas in Vuosaari, the focus was on the natural state. Forests were regarded as a specifically Finnish landscape, which rooted rural migrants to their new home. The national dimension was also manifested by using native biotopes and tree species. Finnishness was consciously constructed, and modern living in the forest became the national and international icon of urban planning.
- forest suburbs, landscape architecture, post-war urban planning, suburban forests