20 November 2012

The party poopers

There is something I have been wondering about: how come we are not encouraged or even allowed to shape our own city? We are not allowed to humanize our own neighborhood. Unless you have the funds and the power to pull the strings, in which case you can create public spaces to your own taste, and build opera houses and shape the city any way you want.

And of course you are allowed to promote your own message, and take up seemingly unlimited amounts of public space, so long as you, again, can afford to pay for it. Then, you can say pretty much anything, advertise, bully, belittle and promote unhealthy messages and merchandise. But if you leave precious art as a gift to the people, it is removed. And, if you are caught leaving it, you will be fined or even sued.

Most recently what I can only assume is the city, overnight disassembled the swing garden on the bunkers, and removed the magnificent Tejn sculpture. It was such a happy place for as long as it lasted, crowded with children and people stopping to admire and photograph the art. Striking up conversations with other admirers. It was pretty magical. How come the city is allowed to destroy parts of Copenhagen, on our dime, but at the same time we are not allowed to add a single thing?

Hot dog on the lake

Hot dog on the lake, haha, this is so good!

Hot dog

The city occasionally leaves "souvenirs" in the lake, like giant inflated condoms or vodka bottles. I can smell the propaganda a mile away, and it never makes me feel anything but irritated. This is the real deal, pushing nothing but my happy-button.

And last week someone left this small installation, perhaps inviting us to sit down and relax for a minute?

Untitled

Untitled

Once in a while these little set up's appear. But they rarely stay for long.

The message is clear: this is not your city, you are merely a guest here. House rules are set up by an uninviting host, who would really rather that you didn't feel too comfortable. A mindset making people less inclined to assume ownership of their own city, and feel protective about it. Like cleaning up after themselves, and reminding others to do the same. Indifference sets in. When I become mayor of Copenhagen, this issue is going to be on top of my long list of improvements. Move over, Mr. Jensen.



12 comments:

  1. I would vote for you as mayor of the city :-)

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    1. Haha, thank you for the vote. :D

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  2. I really don't get it either. A happy city is one in which the inhabitants are allowed to shape and change their city. This limited democracy does nothing but produce ill feeling towards the administration and it's such a pity, because we do really live in a great city.

    If we were allowed to help shape it, Copenhageners would, I'm sure, be happier people.

    I miss the swing garden - that was such a perfect example of how the area around the lakes can be used, and there were happy kids, parents and onlookers for miles around. Pity.

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    1. Exactly. Even the local councils are exasperated with the city administration. They overrule the locals constantly, and in many cases even mismanage large sums (see the case of the vodka bottles in the lake, or the bunkers/3 mill. DKR budget) making things worse.

      The swing garden is sorely missed too. But the fact that there are still initiatives around like the green garden furniture, gives me hope. We are not letting go of our city.

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  3. Oh, Bravo Høj. Give them hell.

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    1. I will, Bert. Nobody puts Copenhagen in the corner!

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  4. Hi Sandra, yes, run for mayor! You are totally right. I can't imagine this little installation in Paris, it would be destroyed and stolen in the minute! You know that Scandinavian countries are a role model for us poor "southerners". When I was a kid it was Germany. But now, it's you guys...

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    1. We do get a lot of things right. And this small arrangement is still going strong, it just started snowing today, and it is now part of the winter landscape, very poetic.

      Every country has its strengths and flaws, I think we should just learn from each other as much as possible. :-)

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    2. Yes that what globalization should be about, learning the good stuff, not the bad...

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    3. Yes, exactly. It used to be the people at the top who made those changes, but more and more I think that in the future the change will come from the people. We will see something when we travel, or source the internet, that will inspire us to apply it to our own city. It is like the new democracy, super inspiring. :-)

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