A densely-built residential block of tall buildings, a green area of detached and semi-detached houses, and traditional earth-tone buildings by a field in northern Espoo are all examples of cultural landscapes that show the human impact. In contrast, traditional landscapes are usually part of a more extensive cultural landscape, formed through traditional livestock farming.

Cultural landscapes

A cultural landscape typically refers to a rural setting, but in fact they also include cities and villages. Every resident of Espoo can see a piece of cultural landscape through their windows. 

Natural conditions, such as the terrain, climate, bodies of water and arability of land, have influenced human activities through the ages. Settlements traditionally formed in suitable areas near meadows and forests, where the climate was favourable. However, this tradition began to change in the 1960s, and since then construction has expanded to areas formerly avoided because they were deemed to be too low-lying, rich in clay or boggy. New buildings also emerged near the shores and on top of tall cliffs, leading to a change in the cultural landscape that is still ongoing today.

Traditional landscapes

Grazing and mowing have created a diverse set of landscapes, including meadows, fields, and both open and woodland pastures. As cattle farming decreases, these habitats are disappearing and their flora and fauna have become endangered. Traditional landscapes require grazing and regular mowing in order to safeguard the organisms and retain their open appearance. Espoo uses traditional methods, allowing Finncattle to graze on the shoreline meadows of Laajalahti and Espoonlahti to maintain an open landscape. Similarly, sheep look after the Archipelago Museum Pentala’s traditional landscape in the summer.

The prettiest parks in Espoo

Espoo’s parks are a combination of historical values, activities and fabulous views, whether they are by the sea or serving as oases amidst residential buildings. For example, the surroundings of Träskända Manor include a landscape park that has remained exceptionally extensive and original in appearance. The Old Alberga garden, dating back to the 18th century, is a historical rarity in Finland.
Read more about Espoo’s prettiest parks.