The commons and emergent land in Kvarken Archipelago, Finland: governing an expanding recreational resource


  • Kristina Svels, PhD, Senior Researcher Nordland Research Institute
  • Ulrika Åkerlund, PhD, Senior Lecturer Karlstad University


In this article, we explore governance structures of the recreational landscape of Kvarken Archipelago in Western Finland, an area where shore displacement occurs due to land rise and emergent (pristine) land is continuously created. Traditionally a production landscape, of fishing and small-scale agriculture, the recreational value of the archipelago has been acknowledged. The area is a popular second home destination and was designated UNESCO World Heritage in 2006. There are roughly 10,000 second homes within the study area, of which 14% are leaseholds located on emergent land. The emergent land thus makes up a common-pool resource system where private and collective use rights overlap. This article aims to understand the implications for recreational use (second home ownership) through interviews with different local stakeholders such as municipality planners, representatives of commons, local communities, and with environmental and land survey authorities. Especially, it sets out to ask, what kinds of value are created within the recreational resource system, what power relationships within the commons steer the management of the recreational resource system, and what are the implications for recreational use of the landscape. The results show different logics of recreational resource management locally in the studied commons. Access to second homes located within the collectively owned emergent land is limited to part-owners of the commons and tend to be less commercialized and also less modernized than privately owned second home plots.

Research Papers



How to Cite

Svels, K., & Åkerlund, U. (2018). The commons and emergent land in Kvarken Archipelago, Finland: governing an expanding recreational resource. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 196(2), 154–167.