30 August 2012

No parking

For a city driven by bikes, it is a wonder that we don't have updated or even sufficient parking facilities. The message is: take your bike everywhere, just don't leave it behind. With so many of us, you can imagine the mess we get into sometimes. What are we to do? Cyclists will always take a cue from the infrastructure, and in the absence of that, follow the intricate and oddly predictable patterns of those already parked.

It can get pretty desperate, especially around train and metro stations, or at home where the cars get all the parking space. Leaving cyclists (the majority, mind you) cramming our bikes up the wall, taking up precious sidewalk space. No way would anyone consider substituting every fourth car parking space with bike parking, giving room for 8-10 people, over just one. There is simply no way. Even if you only have to look to a city like Amsterdam to see that it works. And, there you offer people a bike rack they can bolt their bikes to at night, not the flimsy useless Copenhagen front wheel parking rack that belong in another century.

Recently we learned that the government plans to allow the city to remove bikes parked "wrong". As it is now, they can't. The city spokesperson is excited, yay, getting rid of bikes. All the while conveniently ignoring that no option was provided to park it right in the first place. A logistical nightmare.

You get a feeling that the politicians don't live in the real world. Like they don't know what it is like to have (and rely on) a bike, with nowhere to park it. Maybe it's because the bike parking facilities for the Parliament look like this:

Christiansborg cykelparkering

The Parliament is closed for the summer, making for some nice and clutterfree shots.

Christiansborg cykelparkering

Danish Parliament parking rack

Danish Parliament parking rack

Danish Parliament parking rack

Customized parking rack detail

Is it too much to hope for that the planners would consult actual bike users, from the real world? Or would that make to much sense? Mr. Colville from Copenhagenize calls it cyclist harrassment. I couldn't agree more.

29 August 2012

Speechless in Paris

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Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

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26 August 2012

Sayonara

The way I see it we had six real days of summer. The kind where you have no choice but to go to the beach and throw your overheated self in the water. Four consecutive days, then two and that was it. Copenhagen summer 2012 came with a few tropical nights, a breathtakingly beautiful sky and lots of daylight. Not all bad, but not all summer either. Before I go ahead and pronounce it over, here are the highlights. It was short, but sweet. Okay, mostly short.

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Timeless

Where the fancy people live.

Bike fishing

And back to Nørrebro and the fine art of urban fishing.

Support your local ice cream

Every chance we get: ice cream. 

The 6th and last day of real summer in Cph

We take it outdoors...

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...day and night.

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We hang with our friends.

(Much more than in the wintertime, where things tend to be less improvised)

And the sky:

More lake porn

It never lets up:

A rainbow spot

The rainbow sneeze.

The skater

Sayonara summer.


24 August 2012

Dinner is served

One day I may have to document the seagulls in the Kings Garden. People leave all kinds of edibles (as in trash) behind, and towards the end of busy days these fearless creatures big as cats will hover like crazy. Standing next to you, creepy close, and looking you straight in the eye. Not so much begging as urging you to leave the table. 

But we are not just feeding the seagulls. Dinner is served for the likes of magpies, pigeons and ravens, and recently I have spotted rat traps in public places like the bridge area (yikes). If that doesn't motivate you to take your crap with you when you leave, nothing will.

This guy was systematic:

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Check content.

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Assume the position.

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Shred.

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Devour.

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And let the wind take the crap.

They learn so fast.


21 August 2012

The power of the people

Something happened inside me from the moment I decided to just go ahead and do stuff. The opposite of my endless procrastinating, and if only's. I guess it began on new years eve with the wrapping of the statues on the bridge. Then came the Test Tubes (I have been talking to one of the guys who picks up litter on the bridge, and he told me that there is no cup litter anymore, they are very happy with the tubes :D). For every experiment, I get so charged with energy. So much is possible, and you can work with people because deep down we all want the same thing.

When I heard that the hills were to be flattened and the old trees were going to die, I knew I had to do something. My friend Jennie Ferrara and I started the facebook group "Red Broens Bunkere" (save the bridge bunkers), and within one day it had the support of more than five hundred Copenhageners. I made my first banner:

Save the bunkers

...and mounted it on the hill behind the Nile, asking on the group wall if anyone could spare a set of tent stakes, and hours later a guy had left some by the statue. So cool.

The protest made it to the news.


Citizens in an uproar about endangered Nørrebro-oases (link).

And the group gained more support. All along we knew that the demolition were scheduled to go ahead any day, it was super stressfull. And then the miracle of all miracles: Ayfer Baykal, mayor of Technics and Environment, joined the group and voiced her intent to save the hills. The good news:


Mayor puts a stop to removal of endangered oases (link to funny English Google translate version).

The entire project (estimated to set back the city 3 million crowns), is now put to a halt, and the local councils around Copenhagen get a say about their bunkers. Of course promises have been given and broken before, but for now we are drawing a sigh of relief. All the while the group is still growing. There is now something called "bunkerkærlighed" (bunker love), and it is a powerful thing.


17 August 2012

Save the hills

There are about 700 bunkers scattered all over Copenhagen. I have strangely only ever seen a few of them in use, mostly they are just sealed off and covered with grass. A familiar part of the urban landscape, like mini hills in our plane and windy city. Now the city of Copenhagen has decided to flatten forty of them, including (insert expression of horror here) the ones on the corners of Queen Louises Bridge.

Save the bunkers!

The project
It is not an easy task because of the large and immobile statues, so the project is going to be costly. And the old trees will have to go. All of them. But no worries, a total of five young twigs will be replacing them, we just have to give them half of a century to settle in. Do I hear a WHY? Because, now that the bridge have become such a people magnet, and the single corner without a bunker is so popular, flattening everything around the lakes apparently seem like the obvious choice.

Save the bunkers!

The place
The thing they don't get about the hills, is that they are not an obstacle, but an attraction. Besides the obvious historical value, you have an elevated view of the lakes and the hills give shelter from the wind that can be heavy at these corners. Two of the three corners face what can best be described as a highway, and the bunkers and the old trees serve as a buffer from that.

Save the bunkers!

The buffer zone.

The people
One of the reasons the bridge area is so popular, is that it embraces everyone. It can get a bit much on the bridge, with the loud and at times competing soundsystems, and the vibe of a street party. But that is cool because those who like it more quiet, like couples on dates, friends or someone hanging out alone with a book, can enjoy the peace on the hills. It is just a different crowd.

Save the bunkers!

A baby tree, replacement for the big one that died last year.

Springtime on the bunker

In spring you get lots of lilacs. A super cosy spot.

The protest
The local council and most of those I have been in contact with all agree that the hills and the old trees should stay put. After all, if something works, why fix it? But that has made no impression on those in charge, and the flattening is expected to begin any day now. A single sweep guaranteed to destroy the oasis-like atmosphere, and at best just create more space for the party crowd.

Save the bunkers!

Imagine this corner, flattened and treeless, with all the cars behind it. It is enough to make me cry.

We only just learned about this now (thanks to the Copenhageners invaluable online magazine MagasinetKBH), leaving very little time to mobilize a defence for our endangered oasis. There is a Save The Bunkers group on facebook, and we are going to do whatever we can to make the city planners of Copenhagen re-think this one. It just can't be allowed to happen!

Links (in Danish):
Red Broens Bunkere
IByen
Nørrebro/Nordvest Bladet 

UPDATE:
Apparently the statues will be permanently removed. That would be The Nile (NONONO), The Tiber (NONONO) and Young People Sitting (aka my friends). Not only will we lose our oasis, we will be deprived of our art. Unbeliveable!

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
The statues are now said to be removed only temporarily. What is true, what is not? There is no place to look these things up.  For sure the hills are to be flattened, and for sure the old trees are going to disappear. And, for sure it is scheduled to happen soon. Leaving a small, flat lawn without shadow, and brown burnt off grass. And for sure the whole project will cost three million Danish crowns, and strip our bridge of its very soul.

THE ULTIMATE UPDATE!
The mayor in charge of these things have put a temporary halt to the plans because of the massive outcry from the locals. Today the Danish newspaper Politiken's online version brought us the good news. The fight is not over, but at least we are heard.

Links:
The good news in Politiken (funny English Google translate version)



16 August 2012

Goodmorning street art

Copenhagen street art have been at a serious slumber mode for a long time, but now it seems to be picking up the pace again. Finally! A big city without street art and other healthy traces of wildlife, is not complete. But we still have nowhere near enough, not enough big murals of our best street artists (Husk Mit Navn made a crazy cool one in Berlin), and not enough guerrilla action going on. For my taste, anyway. I am hungry for something big and beautiful, and lots of it. High praise to these guys for the effort.

The Westend street gallery, now curated by Gadefabrikken.

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Gadefabrikken Westend

Kill The Bro

Gadefabrikken Westend

Mullet Bird

Mullet Bird


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Art imitating life: a shopper by Torvehallerne.

And a couple of slices of Byens Hegn, I will do a more elaborate post on that project soon.

Dan Turèll by Oskar

Departed poet and local hero Dan Turèll, portrayed by Oskar. Uncle Dan wrote crime novels and a rare form of poetry that actually appeals to me, and he even made a couple of records reading to the sound of cool jazzy music. It is in my ipod, and that day it was set to play at random. It was the spookiest thing: when I took this picture, Dan Turèll started speaking. Like he was there in that moment, and approved.

(Now that Grooveshark is blocked for Danes, this is only other option for sharing sounds here. This is Uncle Dan in a recent mix. Ah, I love his voice and wisdom and great love for Copenhagen.)



Kirsten Schauser

Kirsten Schauser. Portraying the locals from above (you haven't seen the last of this piece, mmmm).

And finally what I consider a good sign. A Kissmama piece before the buff:


You only love me when you're drunk. (On Louises Bar..)

And after the buff:

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Still around!

We have come a long way.

Linkfest:
Gadefabrikken
 More Westend stuff
Tejn