On this page we gather Habitability analyses of different islands.
Table of contents:
Föglö / Åland
Föglö is situated in the eastern part of the Åland Islands. Föglö has 501 registered residents living on several large islands separated by narrow straits, connected by bridges, banks and a cable ferry. A ferry links Föglö to Åland in 30 minutes.
Note! Föglö evaluated 30 indicators out of 45, since the local coach was mainly unaided and had weak support from the municipality. However, interest in the work grew stronger at the end of the project, so hopefully the rest of the indicators will also be examined at a later stage. Only two workgroups were organised – one in Ecology and one in Local economy. The municipality board had one preparatory meeting regarding the project.
About 30 islanders took part in making the analysis, and 46 persons answered the Livet på Föglö-questionnaire.
The project, which ran nine months during 2022–2023, was financed by Leader Åland rf and commissioned by Företagsam Skärgård, an inter-island cooperation in the archipelago of the Åland Islands.
According to the habitability analysis, the human pressure on Föglö based on person-days is 796 persons (compared to 501 persons according to statistics). The distance between Degerby on Föglö and the capital city of Åland, Mariehamn, is 35 km, while the perceived distance would place Degerby 90 km from Mariehamn.
Föglö is by proof a safe and secure place to live. The island scores high for public service and for the health and well-being of its citizens. However, age distribution and population growth are worrying indicators. Föglö has for a long time been the wealthiest island in the Åland archipelago, but there is an undeveloped business ecosystem on the island and the local economy as a whole was poorly examined. According to the survey, many islanders experienced that there is a poor accessibility to service, although accessibility according to the criteria in the handbook scores high. The only indicator examined in Energy is marked as red; energy consumption.
The biggest challenges for Föglö are the upcoming, huge investments in water and sewage systems, which have no evident financing solution.
After the study
The results will be discussed by the municipality board. The residents can download the report from the municipality’s web pages.
Kumlinge / Åland
Kumlinge is situated in the eastern part of the Åland Islands. The municipality has 305 registered inhabitants who reside on four islands: Kumlinge, Enklinge, Seglinge and Björkö. None of these are bridged and the islands are served by six different ferries.
The habitability project ran nine months during 2022–2023 and was commissioned by Företagsam Skärgård, an inter-island cooperation in the archipelago of the Åland Islands. The project was financed by Leader Åland rf. The project was very successful due to two very committed and active local coaches, Airi and Satu, who enjoyed strong support from both the municipality’s staff, the local politicians, and the local society. Seven working groups were organised, one for each area of the analysis. One third of the islands’ population was engaged in the study.
According to the habitability analysis, the human pressure on Kumlinge based on person-days is 388 persons (compared to 305 persons according to statistics). The distance between Kumlinge and the capital city of Åland, Mariehamn, is 95 km, while the perceived distance would place Kumlinge 225 km from Mariehamn.
Kumlinge has high rates when it comes to the health and well-being of its citizens. The island scores high for public service, and both housing and tourism scores a 4. However, the island has an undeveloped business ecosystem, and all three assessed indicators in Energy are marked as red: energy consumption, the ratio of renewable energy and locally produced energy.
Kumlinge has a declining resident population.
Kumlinge faces a possible development of sea based wind power in the very northern, uninhabited sea parts of the municipality, which will change the landscape and probably bring wealth to the island community.
After the study
Having completed the study, the coaches organised feedback meetings with all the workgroups. The study was then presented to the municipality board and council, and to all the inhabitants of Kumlinge, who also received a printed copy of the report in their physical mailboxes.
Sottunga / Åland
Sottunga is situated in the eastern part of the Åland Islands. The municipality, the smallest in the whole of Finland, has 133 registered residents on one large and one small island.
The project ran nine months during 2022–2023 and was commissioned by Företagsam Skärgård, an association for inter-island cooperation in the Åland archipelago, and financed by Leader Åland rf. The work was led by a local coach. Halfway through the project, he had to hand over the responsibility to another person who happened to be the inventor of the concept from the neighbouring island of Kökar. Almost half of the island population, as well as part-time inhabitants, was engaged in the work. Three indicators were not assessed. In surveys, more than half of the islanders answered, in writing. The political support was good.
According to the habitability analysis, the human pressure on Sottunga based on person-days is 150 persons (compared to 113 persons according to statistics). The distance between Kumlinge and the capital city of Åland, Mariehamn, is 55 km, while the perceived distance would place Sottunga 189 km from Mariehamn.
10 indicators received the highest score, very good (4). Out of these, three would have received an even higher, if possible: safety, health and population growth. Sottunga is experiencing an immigration boom, mainly a positive challenge, but also a demanding one since it is putting stress on its tiny local administration. Fifteen indicators were marked with light green (3), which means that 70% of the indicators show an attractive, habitable society.
Seven indicators received a 2 (bad, but not in need of immediate action), while five received a 1 (critical state). Two of these are in the Energy area: energy consumption and the ratio of renewable energy. The freshwater situation is a cause for concern.
Sottunga’s greatest challenge is the great number of families who have moved into the island during the last two years, counting 20 kids and 11 parents.
After the study
As the Mayor, the Municipality Board and the inhabitants were actively engaged during the last months of the project, everyone was eager to know the results. There is a strong will to make Sottunga even more habitable for everyone, whether born on the island or settlers.