Official SUNY ESF DLA Off-Campus Blog

Christiania – model citizens of Denmark.
July 30, 2010, 8:30 am
Filed under: Copenhagen 2010

The story of Christiania begins well before 1970 when it was first occupied by citizens.  Christiania consists of  former military barracks of Bådsmandsstræde and parts of the city ramparts. The barracks of Bådsmandsstræde housed the Royal Artillery Regiment, the Army Material Command and ammunition laboratories and depots. The area was abandoned during the late 60s.

Bastioned ramparts were specifically used in the area:

After the military left the area, only a few guardsmen were assigned to keep trespassers out.  On September 4th, 1971 residents from the surrounding areas broke the fences down to use parts of it as a playground for their children.  Only a few days later, Christiania was declared “open” by Jacob Ludvigsen who also helped write Christiania’s mission statement: The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.

Much like Copenhagen itself, Christiania has fought, lost, and won it’s share of battles.  Dubbed a “social experiment”, Christiania has managed to survive 40 years of threats from the government to reclaim the land.  Except how can the government complain when Christiania pays all it’s taxes and bills on time.  Christiania is an economic asset to the state, they have to pay electric, water, heating and taxes, however they don’t get all the benefits that other tax payers get.  They still have to handle their own tasks like kindergartens, youth clubs, renovations, postal service and maintenance of the whole infrastructure, green areas, and a lot more.  External expenses are always handled first, making Christianian’s model citizens of Denmark.

Christiania’s government is a consensus democracy, which means that all residents may participate on equal footing in the democratic process.  Important decisions are always made by consensus, common widespread agreements among all citizens.  The government is practiced through a series of meetings: The Common Meeting – used to settle disputes which no agreement could be reached at the relevant meeting, The Area Meeting – used to solve local problems within different areas of Christiania, The Treasurer Meeting – used to plan out where money should be used in the future, The Economy Meeting, The Business Meeting – used to ensure rents are being payed from businesses and to discuss use of commercial areas, The Building Meeting – used to decide where money should be put into renovating housing, The Associates’ Meeting – most businesses are collectively organized, so this group has the central function of running the businesses, The House Meeting – used to solve problems in large houses where many people live.

There is entirely too much to be said about this place, so for now I’ll post a video of a bike ride through Copenhagen:



Where I’m living wasn’t here five years ago.
July 15, 2010, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Copenhagen 2010

Hello and welcome to wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark – where the summer weather is beautiful, the people are happy and the days are so long, yet they seem so short.

The five of us have been here for over two months now exploring this new city and we have definitely seen and experienced a lot and all I really have to say is: my view of the world has definitely been changed forever.

As the subject says, where I’m living wasn’t here five years ago.  Where I’m currently residing is on Amager Island in a new developing community called Ørestad.  The majority of the buildings here didn’t start to pop up until around 2002.  Ørestad is a very unique place from the rest of the city with a different feel and culture.  Besides living here, this area is also part of my study.

Currently I am focusing on the way culture reflects itself in landscape.  In this post I will try to bring you up to date on where I am with my study:

There are three areas I am specifically interested in looking into – Ørestad, Christiania, and the Strøget.  I picked these three because I found that they contrasted the most from each other.  Ørestad is a new community that is constantly growing, there are many young families with children and plenty of amenities for the many residents around.  Chrisitania is a a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood which has separated itself from the rest of Copenhagen and is self governing.  The Strøget is much more of a tourist area, lined with shops and entertainment.

Lately I have been working on the Ørestad area.  It is divided into four areas: Ørestad North, Amager Field Commons, Ørestad City, and Ørestad South.  I live in Ørestad City, don’t be fooled by the word city.  The apartment buildings are tall and there are quite a few of them, but there is a residential community to one side and a nature park on the other side of the main development on Ørestads Boulevard.

I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else in this city – it’s quiet at night, even with the metro right outside – the metro is a five minute walk, with the city only 10 minutes away on bike/metro – food stores are within walking distance – the architecture is like no where else in the world.  I could see why there would be so many young families with children in this area, everything is conveniently located and easily to get to.

Since this addition to Copenhagen has been so recent, I thought I should concentrate on change over time and growth.  So I present to you:  The Growth of Ørestad

  1. Bella Center
    Moved to Amager in 1973.
    Scandinavia’s largest exhibition and conference hall.  Hotel is in progress, to be completed 2011.
  2. Amager Hospital
    Built in 2001.
    Hospital can accommodate 110 patients.
  3. Telia Technology Center
    Built in 1999, one of Ørestads first residents.

  4. Københavns Universitet Amager
    “Copenhagen University, Amager”: School of Humanities, expansion off of main campus – It added another. 40,000 m2 of space and can now accommodate an additional 5,000 students.
  5. Company Park
    Four story office building. Seven companies currently occupy the building including Nikon and Shell Gas.
  6. Ferring medicinvir ksomhed “medicine company”
    One of Ørestads first tenants.
    It is the 20 story tall headquarters for Ferring International Center.

    ***It is also important to note that the metro was also built in 2002.

  7. KLP properties
    Eight story office building, nine companies currently occupy the building.

  8. Field’s Mall
    Scandinavias largest shopping center. It has 150 shops, various restaurants, golf center, and a playground.
  9. Solstriben “Ray of Sunshine”
    Private housing, 90 condos and 55 townhouses.
  10. Børnhaven Småland
    “Kindergarden Småland” First day care in Copenhagen.

  11. VM Husene
    “VM Housing” 4-12 story building with 212 co-ops, 76 unique floor plans. The ESF Off-Campus, Denmark headquarters is located here.
  12. Københavens Energi
    Copenhagen Energy’s center of operations, 550 employees work here.
  13. DR Byen
    Headquarters for the Danish National Broadcasting Corporation.
    It includes the Copenhagen Concert Hall.

    **Parkhusene (I forgot one!)
    “Park Houses” 63 rental dwellings and 57 co-ops and condos.

  14. Ørestad Friskole “Ørestad Free School”
    Founded by a group of parents who wanted a major influence on their children’s schooling, they focus on professional development and the health and security of children’s lives.”
  15. Tietgenkollegiet
    Circular dorm with a common internal courtyard, it has 360 dorm rooms.

  16. Ørestad Gymnasium
    “Ørestad High School” has over 800 students currently attending.
  17. City Husene
    “City Houses” 125 condos.
  18. Signalhuset (Signal House)
    228 youth residences that could be converted to condos in the future.
  19. Copenhagen Golfpark
    149 Condos facing the golfcourse.
  20. Del Flexible Hus
    “The Flexible House” 124 condos and co-ops.
  21. Ørestadshuset
    “Ørestad House” 127 apartments.
  22. Brohuset
    123 rental apartments.
  23. Porthuset
    “Gate House” 165 condos, commercial on first floor.
  24. Bella Hus
    “Bella House” 63 rental apartments.

  25. VM Bjerget
    “VM Mountain” 80 homes with parking for 480 cars.
  26. KLP properties
    Currently rented by three companies.
  27. Sejhuset
    128 apartments including a daycare.

  28. Copenhagen Towers
    4-star hotel and business center with restaurants, conference facility and shops.
  29. CABIIN Metro
    Hotel with 710 rooms.
  30. Copenhagen Golfpark Sunset, Fairway City
    16,000m2 of office space along with 160 owner-occupies dwellings.
  31. Danica Ejendomme
    Office building.

  32. SEB Pension/Rambøll
    Engineering and consulting company – 1,000 employees.a
  33. Winghouse
    4-8 story office building.

(Pictures will be up soon)

It is obvious to see how fast this community grew and is growing, there are currently various sites under construction.  It seems like they are always building over here.  If you check out the previous post you can see the park for our building being built while we were staying here.

As numerous as the amount of babies around here are the parks!  It seems that every residential building has a park for a back yard.  There is also a huge park called Amager Field Commons to the west, it is interesting to see how it changed over time:

As for what else I’m working on, I’m currently putting together a map of various culturally distinct areas of the city – even though my focus will be on three specific areas, it would be good to have them all mapped out.
I’ve also been testing a field study I would like to do – disposable art in the landscape.  Me and Tim went out a few days ago and colored a whole chalk mural outside of an apartment complex – watched how people interacted with it, only one person tried talking to me while we were doing it.  I think I would like to do that again along with a different medium, origami?

Non-related to my project, four of us went to Lego Land last week – the Lego models of all the cities were unbelievable.  Tim and I decided to climb to the top of as many spires as we could one day as well – we made it up two and I took lots of good aerial pictures.  I also went to the Louisiana of Modern Art with Mike for a day, we also walked around a cemetery which was right next to it.  Last, but not least, I jumped in the harbor this week for the first time and it was surprisingly warm – so weird to swim in a city harbor.

I will update later with pictures.


Every building has a park…
July 11, 2010, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Copenhagen 2010

…including ours, at least now.

Copenhagen, Denmark – Summer 2010.
We are – Kay Ulrich, Justin Kukulski, Mike DeLillo, Ryan Henry, and Tim Devlin.