Helsinki (Finland)

The map of emotopias in Helsinki, Finland, 2022

Author of the project is Tatiana Zhigaltsovа.

Science and Art Project «Emotional geography: migrants' perception of Helsinki urban environment». An interactive emotional map of Helsinki (Finland) was developed based on the questionnaire among female migrants. The emotional map was developed by researcher Tatiana Zhigaltsova, PhD. Рrogramming and design were made by Sergey Zhigaltsov. Organization of field work, consultations by Svetlana Gerbersgagen and Elena Kess, photos by Elena Kess and Tatiana Zhigaltsova. Translation: Anna Kondakova.

Brief description:

The identification of emotional locations is the basis for study of the urban environment of Helsinki, and it aims to understand the influence of the degree of its danger / safety for the emotional health of foreign residents. The research covers a study of the emotions of twenty female migrants towards the architectural and spatial environment of Helsinki, Finland. Half of the studied group have lived in the city for 5 years or less than, and the other half - for 6 years or more. Such emotions as joy, interest, comfort, pride, anxiety, disgust, sadness, and shame were studied in correlation to specific places in the city.
The study resulted in the creation of an interactive emotional map of Helsinki, that showed that the historical city center and the city districts were clearly distinguished in the emotional environment of the city. The sources of positive emotions for the migrant women included the surrounding nature, the sea, historical architecture, streets and some other places.
There is an opinion that the emotional environment of migrants is poorer, less saturated than that of the local population. This is said to be especially true for those who have only lived in the territory for a short period of time. However, this study revealed that the migrants who lived in Helsinki for less than five years preferred to move around the city on foot and demonstrated keen interest in the history and architecture of the city. Such objects as the Senate Square with the monument to Alexander II, Churches and Libraries were marked by the emotion of pride in the migrants' perception. Negative emotions are associated with the neighborhoods where other migrants lived, specific metro stations, and the train station.
This study expands the research field of Emotional Geography and brings a new perspective on the study of not only emotions, but also satisfaction / dissatisfaction with the entire environment of region as a space and of its residents connected to the region. The study of the emotional perception of 'the outsiders' of their place of residence contributes to our understanding of the causes of emotional conflicts between different social, ethnic and age groups, and encourages conducting preventive measures to strengthen the emotional health of residents and the harmony of relationships.