A view to a grill: Designing park infrastructure for Uusimaa parks

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2019 Josephy
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Collaborative and Industrial Design
Deep relationships between people and the natural environment can be fostered in the smallest of interventions. This master’s thesis of Collaborative and Industrial Design explores the research, design, and construction of small infrastructure for a Finnish provincial park association. UUVI (short for Uudenmaan Virkistysalueyhdistys) is a government-funded organization with 37 nature reserves ranging in size from 1.1 to 450 hectares. In many of these parks infrastructure is deteriorating, and new day use shelters, fire sites, woodsheds, and signposts are needed. Grilling, hiking, foraging, and fishing are beloved summertime activities in Finnish culture and are cemented in law through the every-man’s rights enjoyed in the country. The Finnish relation-ship with nature is a deep and cultural one. This thesis explores how built park infrastructure can foster the cultural connection with nature in Finnish parks. Theoretical underpinnings of the nature-culture relationship are explored. Once seen in a dualistic manner, nature was seen to be a place absent of people. Since then, the understanding of nature in academic discourse has changed, and contemporary views of nature place humans within and part of it. Place can be defined as the space in which humans and landscape interact: where landscapes leave an impression on people and people leave an impression on the land. The benefits of nature experiences are well documented, and can be intentional or not. Ways in which park infrastructure can encourage and deepen nature experiences are explored. In this project, five different park elements are designed, each with varying amounts of input from the different stakeholders involved. A wood stove specifically designed for grilling was conceptualized by UUVI Field Manager Mikael Avellan, and re-dimensioned and drawn for this thesis. A large woodshed was also co-designed with Avellan and includes a sliding roof for easier refilling. Signpost, bench, and shelter designs were influenced heavily by user research conducted in Kopparnäs-Störsvik park, as well as continued input from UUVI staff with their considerable experi-ence. Research insights encouraged drawing the attention outwards from the shelters to promote incidental nature experiences; the use of more numerous but smaller shelters to disperse crowds; employing premium materials for longevity and to discourage vandalism; and the importance of accessibility. Detailed dimensioned drawings were created for each project element, and are now in the process of being prototyped and constructed by various manufacturers.
Keinonen, Turkka
Thesis advisor
Keinonen, Turkka
planning and design, construction design, planning of rural areas, recreation areas, outdoor recreation areas, recreational use, street furniture, recreation and leisure facilities
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