Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish students´ valued environments, landscape and well-being

Eija Yli-Panula, Eila Jeronen, Eila Matikainen, Christel Persson

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning (abstract)Peer review



The aim of this study was to investigate what kind of landscapes the students want to conserve. The research questions were (1) What are the landscape types the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian students´ drawings students want to conserve, (2) what kind of elements are drawn by students, and (3) what kind of wellbeing (mental, physical, social) do the drawings reflect?

Theoretical framework

The core concepts of the study are landscape, environment and well-being. According to environmental psychology the landscape can be divided to nature, built and social landscape. The landscape and the environment gain their significance through individual experiences and observations. It has been shown how environmental relations and images in space and place are created and how they are shaped by knowledge, experience and thinking. Feelings, sense of worthiness and attitudes also have an important role. The landscape and environment always have cultural implications, and thus they can be seen as a process in which nature environment becomes cultural landscape due to human activity. In the field of health promotion, landscape can be understood to be a multi-faceted resource for mental, physical and social health and well-being and health determinant (Abraham, Sommerhalder & Abel, 2010).

Research design

This was a qualitative study consisting students’ drawings and written descriptions of landscapes worth conserving. The participants (N = 541) were Finnish (n = 177), Norwegian (n = 200) and Swedish (n = 164) primary school students in grades 3-6. Inductive and deductive content analyses were carried out. 


All students drew nature, built and social environment in drawings of landscape they want to conserve. Norwegian students drew clearly more often social landscapes than the students from Finland and Sweden. Finnish and Swedish students preferred built and nature landscapes. 

All seven categorized elements were drawn in landscapes in all grades in every country.  These elements were water landscape, meadow or park, forest, mountain (as dominant matter), road or street, yard in village or city landscape, field (agriculture), theme resort (like game room, playing field or theme park). Playing in playfield or game house, skiing, slalom or other kind of hobbies were main interests in the landscape drawings of the students. Sometimes own room was presented in Finnish drawings. Very rarely element was atomistic means difficult to analyze (two in Swedish drawings). In the drawings, all three types of the well-being was found. The health promoting mental landscape effects were attention of restoration and recovery from mental fatigue, recovery from stress and positive emotions. Physical well-being was reflected via physical outdoor activities in built environment and physical outdoor activities outside cities. Social well-being was reflected via social integration in parks and collectively experiencing nature. This research continues Nordic landscape research and supports sustainable development research for young people.

StatusPublicerad - 2020
EvenemangNERA Turku 2020, 4-6 mars -
Varaktighet: 2020-mars-042020-mars-06


KonferensNERA Turku 2020, 4-6 mars

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