Shaping cultural landscapes in transformation- examples from Sweden

Authors and Affiliations: 

Monica Hammer, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies. Södertörn University, S 141 89 Huddinge, Sweden.

Johanna Dahlin, Department for Social Change and Culture, Linköping University, S 581 83 Linköping, Sweden and School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University, S141 89 Huddinge, Sweden.

Corresponding author: 
Monica Hammer

In this paper, we analyze the nature-culture nexus in transforming cultural landscapes through the lens ecosystem services and the heritage concepts focusing on two case studies from Sweden; mining areas in northern Sweden, and transforming peri-urban areas in the rapidly expanding Stockholm region.
The peri-urban landscape is characterized by a diversified and fragmented land-use with strong relations to functions belonging to an urbanized society with urban, mobile life-styles. In these areas, historic small-scale agricultural areas are being transformed from production landscapes to recreational landscapes. A particular trend is the rapidly increasing number of sport horses as providers of cultural and recreational services for human well-being (Hammer et al., 2017). This development conserves many of the rural landscape features, but also causes conflicts. We found several differences in the recreation dominated landscape compared to the traditional agricultural landscape, at least partly formed by cultural differences, affecting ecosystem services. Horse keeping in the peri-urban region provides an illustrative example of the interlinkages between different landscape images and relations between different categories of ecosystem services, also highlighting the need for more integrated planning approaches.
In Lapland, in northern Sweden, mining both is and was an industry of importance. The extraction landscapes are both historic mining sites of heritage, continuously being created by the mining operations and extending into the future through prospecting and plans. However, these sparsely populated northern areas are also people’s home with a sensitive natural environment that is permanently changed by mining. The indigenous Sámi population has been vocal in the opposition to mining, presenting it as a threat to their culture and way of life (Cocq, 2014). The protest movements highlights the local social and ecological relations that are downplayed in the processes that define minerals as property.


Cocq, C. 2014. “Kampen om Gállok”, Kulturella perspektiv, 2014:1.

Hammer, M. Bonow, M. & Petersson, M. 2017. The role of horse keeping in transforming peri-urban landscapes - A case study from metropolitan Stockholm, Sweden. (submitted manuscript).

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