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09.05  The Concept and the Discourses of Cultural Environment in Nordic Countries

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In Europe, there has been a growing trend of strengthening the role of cultural heritage values in environmental discussions, policies, and management plans, which have traditionally been dominated by ecological and economic perspectives. Inter-governmental, inter-sectorial, and transdisciplinary collaboration together with the development of holistic approaches for research and management have been encouraged and developed on international and national levels in order to respond to the scope and complexity of heritage management and environmental issues. The differences in academic, administrative, and institutional settings, however, have brought about many different but parallel national and regional conceptualizations, policy models, initiatives, and collaborative activities.  

The aim of this paper is to compare the Nordic uses of the concept of cultural environment and the discourses generated around the concept in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark during the past twenty years in the context of protection, management, usage, and understanding of cultural heritage in national, regional and local levels. For example in Finland, the concept of cultural environment was taken into active use in cultural heritage and environmental administration in the 1990s, in the context of launching the Cultural Environment Programs as tools for co-operation between heritage agents, various administrative sectors and other stakeholders’ in order to enhance the integration of heritage values into regional development and planning practices. In this context, the concept of cultural environment is used as a general umbrella term, which includes build heritage, cultural landscapes and archeological sites.  

The paper will discuss how the cultural environment discourses are formulated, which components of the environmental, territorial and heritage discourses are included, and how they are combined. The research material consists of international and national policy documents; cultural environment strategies and programs in the Nordic countries and reports and policy briefings. The paper will focus on the role of the cultural environment concept in Nordic heritage and environment administration and politics and especially on its territorial aspects.

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