15.5.2019

De­struc­tive Flooding of Cultural Heritage: Our Future and New Normal?

An In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in Ekenäs Old Town.

My bachelor's degree thesis.


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Theseus


Higher and more common coastal flooding, due to sea level rise and changes in wind patterns, may endanger Ekenäs Old Town (SV: Gamla stan i Ekenäs; FI: Tammisaaren vanha kaupunki) by year 2100. Cultural heritage, including protected buildings and archeologically significant areas, will likely become at greater risk due to flooding.

Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) data and projections have been adapted to Ekenäs Old Town. Sea level rise and storm surge projections, sea level records, and minimum recommended building elevations have been modeled and analyzed using a geographic information system (GIS). Potentially affected areas of Ekenäs Old Town have been further analyzed through study of the Finnish Heritage Agency’s 2002 archaeological inventory of Ekenäs Old Town and targeted field work. Data and information have also been collected from the City of Raseborg and a local resident.

Due to already existing risks to cultural heritage, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland should designate Ekenäs Old Town as a significant flood risk area in accordance with legislation governing flood risk management (620/2010). The Ministry should establish a flood management group to create flood maps and develop a flood risk management plan.

Further study and investigation of flood risks in Ekenäs Old Town is recommended. Wave monitoring should be conducted around Ekenäs Old Town to better understand local sea level fluctuations. Building specific investigation is needed to understand flooding risks. Absent protection measures, damage from coastal flooding will likely increase. Protection measures must be careful to respect cultural heritage and the local environment.