Emotional tapestry of small cities

Emotional perception of urban environments by Swedish and Finnish senior citizens


  • Tatiana Zhigaltsova Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk


The paper investigates the emotional foundation of sense of place in small urban environments. The study was based on an anonymous questionnaire exploring various emotions in relation to urban environments in two small northern cities Haparanda (Sweden) and Tornio (Finland). The study revealed that senior citizens mentioned emotions connected to the past (sorrow), active living (interest, joy), and solitude (ease) more frequently than any other emotions, and attributed these to such places as historical buildings, churches, cemeteries, swimming pools, etc. The border between
the two cities was marked by mixed emotions, both positive and negative. To visualize emotions and places of emotions in Tornio and Haparanda, as well as for insight into the boundaries of emotional urban environments, the author created emotion maps of these cities. The maps visually resemble multi-colored tapestries with emotions as nodes, which inspired the title of this paper. This study allowed expanding the scope of the anthropology of emotions by the inclusion of territorial focus in the study of small urban environments. In the context of world-wide population ageing tendency, we
need to study places of emotions to come up with a comprehensive and integral approach to city planning policies, and to create more adaptable and age-friendly urban environments.



2022-04-11 — Updated on 2022-04-11

How to Cite

Zhigaltsova, T. (2022). Emotional tapestry of small cities: Emotional perception of urban environments by Swedish and Finnish senior citizens. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 46(2), 30–50. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.v46i2.102863