Turtle’s Invasion22.08.2007 at 12:34 | Posted in HSS | 2 Comments
by HSS student Stefanie Lemser
In several public areas in Helsinki you can find a species that you didn’t expect to see in Finland at all. What I’m talking about isn’t a living species, but concrete sculptures shaped like turtles. A magnitude of them invaded in public areas near Kanavaterminaali, Kauppatori, Merisatamanranta and Kampi.
I observed excited tourist taking their (probably first) turtle ride, although the concrete creatures’ purpose is of a quite different nature. They were invented as movable traffic barrieres to restrict the further invasion of car traffic in public areas and preserve pedestrian friendly areas. The former unaesthetic grey blocks of concrete were tenderly called ‘betoniporsas’ (engl. concrete pig) and some were even decorated like pigs by locals.
With the further increase of car traffic in the city centre a stronger preservation of public and pedestrian spaces was demanded. The betoniporsas guards were changed by the invasion of turtles.
I couldn’t find an answer, why they are shaped like turtles or what the myth of turtles in Helsinki might be about!? Could these traffic barriers not easily be used to present the symbol of the nation or city instead? Or is this perhaps already an omen of increasing temperatures related to climate change!?