27 May 2013

Something rotten

Now for the bad news: the beautiful oasis (previous post) surrounding retirement home Sølund is scheduled for demolition. Along with the only 32 year old 390 perfectly functioning, and affordable lake view apartments.

But why?
Officially because according to new rules and regulations, a few inches are missing here and there. Admittedly they have not been keeping up with maintenance, so things need replacing. But more likely the real reason is profit. Twentyfive million Danish Crowns to demolish, and a billion Crowns to build something that closely resembles a fortress. A monstrosity reaching all the way to the curb. The property and the buildings are owned by the city of Copenhagen, making a profit selling off our land to the developer.


Less for more
The project is marketed as a “green super retirement home” (check them praise themselves here). But it is far from super. Fact is, the density of space is going from 150% (standard space for homes in the city) to 185% (standard space for offices). The lake view is restricted to the hallways, the elderly will get a nice view of the street and the courtyard, and very little direct sun. In return they will pay a steep rent, as rent control does not apply to apartments built after 1992. The green part? A public roof garden, replacing the 100+ trees, plants, flowers and bushes, and the entire ecosystem that occupies them.

Underground parking

Entrance to the underground parking. All cars should be buried this way.

Something rotten
By law the neighbors were supposed to be consulted before the plan was set in motion, but they skipped that part. Tina Saaby, recently appointed City Architect of Copenhagen chose her old firm, in which she was a co-owner, to do the bidding, and helped pick them as a winner of the project. If there is not a law against that, I suggest they make one.

Save the Ladytree
The Ladytree is the crown jewel of the small Sølund forest. A rare 150 year old female Gingko Biloba, so resistant to viruses and pollution that it takes a chainsaw to bring her down. Being among one of the tallest trees in the city, she was carefully planned into the existing project. There is even a letter from the City Architect back then, stating his respect for the old tree, of course she was to be spared. Today she is just considered a mere casualty.

Den lille treehugger 
The Ladytree got herself a little treehugger.

Endangered Ladytree

Today's leafy edition.

Endangered Copenhagen tree

You can't look up at this old tree and not be in ave, it is breathtaking. Much bigger than you think.

Removing this old tree should not even be an option, it is irreplaceable. And, it is so close to the street that you can easily build on the existing line. A consideration worthy of a city named the European Green Capital 2014. Wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately Ayfer Baykal, our Copenhagen mayor of trees, is the one pushing to demolish the oasis and close the underground parking space, returning eighty cars to our streets.

The obvious solution?
Renovating it. Just imagine what could be done with this, for a fraction of the cost. Work with what you got, preserve and restore. Now that would be green. And if you need something alltogether different for the elderly, build it somewhere else, the city have many vacant lots around town. It is not hard to find another use for Sølund. Students are in desperate need of housing in Copenhagen, stuck in camping lots and youth hostels. But the city would rather talk (endlessly) about building them something new, than making use of what they already have at hand. If all of this makes any sense to you, please help me understand.

For anyone interested in reading up on this and confirming facts, here are some links about Sølund (all in Danish):

Forslag til lokalplan Sølund Plejecenter fra møde 13 maj 2013 (dok. på bebyggelsesprocent 185%)

Links to the Ladytree (all in Danish):
Og her og her.
Oprettet og meldt truet i Dansk Dendrologisk Forening

(These were the last pictures taken with my camera, before it died, I hope they will make a difference)


  1. Something most certainly rotten in the state of Denmark and has been for a long time. This is a perfect example. A disgrace, I horrified!!!

    1. They all seem to forget that they are representatives of the citizens. We are not heard. It is the same thing on government level, and "rotten" doesn't even cover it.

      If you could only see what they are about to destroy, it makes no sense. No sense at all.

    2. This is the same in France. They have no shame, money rules, and this is so frustrating and doing so much damage for the new generations. It disgusts me. This is also a reason why i like to live abroad, I'm less aware of this rotten attitude with other governments. (I'm pretty sure it is everywhere though, this corruption, i'm not that naive).

    3. Especially with the trees and the old buildings (these are not even that old, but still inexpensive, which is why they are going, of course), once they are gone, the future generations are screwed. It is our duty to speak up against this. At least that is how I see it. I probably wouldn't if I lived abroad, but here I feel obligated.

      Injustice, bullying, corruption and greed should be exposed and fought at all times.


I love comments! Go ahead, make my day. :-)