Contact Information

Division of Biogeoscience
Division of Geology and Geochemistry
Division of Urban Geograpahy and Regional Studies
Study Office

P.O. Box 64
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Department Office
Institute of Seismology

P.O. Box 68
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2b)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358 294 1911 (university exchange)
University Staff Telephone Directory

Send us email (

University E-mail Directory

Laboratories and Facilities

Kaisa Kepsu, MSc


PhD student, Project researcher

chairman, The Finnish National Committee of the International Geographical Union.

secretary, Nordenskiöld-samfundet i Finland r.f.

Suomeksi | På svenska

Department of Geosciences and Geography
PO Box 64 (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2)
00014 University of Helsinki

Tel: +358 (0)9 191 50772
Fax. +358 (0)9 191 50760

Research interests

  • Migration
  • Population geography
  • Political geography (identity, boundaries, language)
  • Minorities
  • The Finland Swedes
  • Finland , Sweden and Spain
  • Development geography
  • Urban geography, particularly urban regional differentiation

Research project

At present I am doing research on contemporary Finland-Swedish migration. The working title of my thesis is Finland-Swedish migration – changing identities and settlement patterns of a minority. My doctoral thesis will consist of four articles, each one relating to the migration and settlement pattern of the Finland-Swedish minority in Finland. In the light of these themes the current minority position and its changes will be analyzed on different levels. The thesis will explore the consequences a changing settlement will have on the identity and the minority’s future. The articles will move between different geographical levels – from international to local. On a national level, the changes in the geographical language border between Swedish and Finnish speakers will be examined. The last article will look more closely on how visible the Finland-Swedes are in the Helsinki metropolitan area, the majority-minority relations and the language borders of everyday life.

My research is carried out in a joint project between the departments of geography at the universities of Helsinki and Uppsala. Our project,”Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland and Sweden: A geographical study of the changed identity and mobility of a minority”, in turn is a part of a bilateral humanist and social-science programme Interaction Across the Gulf of Bothnia. The Academy of Finland is the main financier of the project.

Part of my research is conducted in a special project by the Academy of Finland, "Urban spatial differentiation and the neighbourhood effect”. It focuses new forms of urban differentiation within the Helsinki region. My research is part of a sub-study that studies spatial socioeconomic mobility as well as residential concentration of different social groups and ethnic minorities, and the possible neighbourhood effects they may have.

I have also received funding for my research from Ella och Georg Ehrnrooths stiftelse, Svenska Kulturfonden, Helsingin kaupunki, Suomalainen Konkordia-liitto, Nordenskiöld-samfundet and Nordisk Forskerutdanningsakademi (NorFA).

Starting from August 1, 2007 I am working in a large EU research project, ACRE (Accommodating Creative Knowledge – Competitiveness of European Metropolitan Regions within the Enlarged Union). ACRE explores the impact of knowledge-intensive industries and emerging creative industries and on the competitiveness of several EU metropolitan regions. Through a comparative approach, which includes 13 European metropolitan areas, the project seeks to understand the extent to which creativity, innovation and knowledge are central to successful long-term economic development. More about the project on ACRE's homepages

Publications and presentations

Vaattovaara, Mari, Venla Bernelius, Kaisa Kepsu & Elina Eskelä (2010). Creative knowledge and local policies in Helsinki. How to enhance the city’s competitiveness. ACRE report WP10.5. Amsterdam: AISSR.

Martin-Brelot, H. and K. Kepsu (2010). Changing specialisations and single sector dominance: Helsinki and Toulouse. In: Musterd, S. and A. Murie (eds) Making Competitive Cities: Pathways, Actors and Policies. Wiley-Blackwell.

Kepsu, Kaisa & Mari Vaattovaara (2009). Riittääkö Helsingin vetovoima? Luovien alojen osaajat vastaavat. Tieto ja trendit 8/2009: 35-37. Tilastokeskus.

Vaattovaara, Mari, Venla Bernelius, Kaisa Kepsu & Elina Eskelä (2009). Helsinki: An attractive hub of creative knowledge? The views of high-skilled employees, managers and transnational migrants. ACRE report WP8.5. Amsterdam: AMIDSt. Pdf

Kepsu, Kaisa, Mari Vaattovaara, Venla Bernelius & Elina Eskelä (2009). Helsinki: An attractive metropolitan region for creative knowledge workers? The view of trasnational migrants..ACRE report WP7.5. Amsterdam: AMIDSt.Pdf

Kepsu, Kaisa ja Mari Vaattovaara (2009). Osaajien ja yritysten kannalta kilpailukykyinen Helsinki. Kvartti 1/09. Helsingin kaupungin tietokeskus.Pdf

Kepsu, Kaisa & Mari Vaattovaara (2008). Location factors of creative knowledge companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The managers’ view. ACRE report WP6.5. Amsterdam.Pdf

Kepsu, Kaisa & Mari Vaattovaara (2008). Creative knowledge in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Understanding the attractiveness of the metropolitan region for creative knowledge workers. ACRE report WP5.5. Amsterdam.Pdf

Hedberg, Charlotta & Kaisa Kepsu (2008, in press). Identity in Motion: The Process of Finland-Swedish Migration to Sweden. In Raento, Pauliina. (ed.): Nation, State, and Identity in Finland. National Identities, 10:1.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2007). Muuttuva suomenruotsalainen muuttoliike ja kielirajat. Teoksessa Junila, Marianne & Charles Westin (toim.): Kahden puolen Pohjanlahtea II. Enemmistöjen ja vähemmistöjen kesken, 131-160. SKS, Helsinki.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2006). An invisible minority? Residential concentration and neighborhood effects of the Finland-Swedish minority in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Presentation at Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Chicago 8.3.2006.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2006). Finlandssvenska flyttningsmönster och språkgränser. In Junila, Marianne & Charles Westin (eds.): Mellan majoriteter och minoriteter: Om migration, makt och mening, 124-148. Forskningsprogrammet svenskt i Finland, finskt i Sverige, Volym 2. Svenska litteratursällskapet, Helsingfors.

Kepsu, Kaisa & John Westerholm (2005). Finland-Swedish Identity under Pressure: Challenges for an ‘Old Minority’. In Raento, Pauliina. (ed.): Finnishness in Finland and North America: Constituents, Changes, and Challenges, 72-97. Aspasia Books, Toronto & Journal of Finnish Studies 9: 2.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2005). Losing ground? Finland-Swedish migration and changing minority positions. Presentation at the Inaugural Nordic Geographers Meeting: Power over Time-Space. Lund, Sweden 13.5.2005.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2004). Migration and Its Impact on the Finland-Swedish Identity in Finland. Presentation at Finn Forum VII, An Interdisciplinary Conference in Finnish and Finnish-North American Studies, Cultural Encounters: Migration, Ethnicity, and Identities. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 29.10.2004.

Kepsu, Kaisa and Charlotta Hedberg (2004). Identity in Motion: Finland-Swedish Migration to Sweden. Presentation at Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Philadelphia 17.3.2004.

Hedberg, Charlotta & Kaisa Kepsu (2003). Migration as a cultural expression? The case of the Finland-Swedish minority’s migration to Sweden. Geografiska Annaler, Series B, 85:2, 67-84.

Kepsu, Kaisa and Charlotta Hedberg (2002). Contemporary migration of the Finland-Swedish minority to Sweden 1976-1999. Presentation at 12th Nordic Migration Conference in Helsinki 10. -12.10.2002.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2000). ”Katalonien är nationen - Spanien är staten”: en studie i spansk regionalism. 74 p. Masters thesis, University of Helsinki.