community

exhibition review, streetscape

Fællesskab din by - Co-create your city

This is an important and inspiring exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen that is primarily about the importance of community involvement at all levels in our cities - from making them really work day to day at the street or district level right through to being involved in major planning decisions.

The introduction panel sets this objective out very clearly … the “right to form our cities is something special. It is a product of a political development, but also the result of idealists all through history having challenged what and how a city could and should be - even when it was not formally possible. Citizens have come up with good ideas, gained support and fought for a better city. And not out of a sense of duty, but because they simply can not help themselves. They want to make something of their city, and they would like us to be part of that journey.”

read more

gardens + parks, streetscape

community gardens in Copenhagen

Following on from a post about the exhibition Co-create Your City, now at the Danish Architecture Centre, and partly because - OK mainly because - the weather was so good over the weekend, I walked around Nørrebro, the area west of the lakes, looking at some of the community gardens. 

These are clearly thriving and what amazed me, coming from England, is that these gardens are completely open, in some cases right on the road itself, and in some of the most densely built-up parts of the city and yet there was no evidence of vandalism. What’s more - no signs saying do not leave litter - not a single sign - and yet no litter.

The effort to have these initiatives as community driven and the sense of community ownership clearly works.

Byhaven, a recent Urban Garden at Høsholmsgade, is alongside one of the main cycle routes into the city. There are raised beds filled with flowers, seats constructed within the raised beds and open areas with picnic tables.

ByOasen, with gardens neatly laid out with sheds and individual plots are on Guldbergsgade. In the large triangular area east of those gardens there are more raised beds, benches carved from large logs, picnic tables, all kinds of play equipment for kids and a small zoo with chickens, goats and hamsters. 

There may well have been other animals but there were so many toddlers scrabbling around happily in the dirt with the chickens it was a bit difficult to tell what was in there. A little boy, no more than 2 years old, was being shown how to pick up a chicken gently with hands either side of the body. He got that but hadn’t quite worked out which end was which … the chickens clearly didn’t mind as being carried around upside down meant they could watch for worms and wiggled free as soon as they saw something worth eating.

A little further along the same street a traffic-calming system had been used as a good place to lay out a small but densely-packed garden. Again it was obvious that no one even considered vandalism a possible problem.