19 September 2013

The Ladytree and the rotten potato

Remember the urban oasis and lake view retirement home Sølund? 400 affordable apartments built in the late 1970s, ingeniously offering everyone a lake view. To the horror of our community, someone got the great idea to demolish the whole thing, an entire block of buildings and 100+ trees, bushes and plants, and build a fortress reaching all the way to the curb. Destroying something that works, and chopping down a small forest of trees, many of which could easily have been worked into the new proposal. The new, and utterly unnecessary proposal.

Students by the thousands are homeless in Copenhagen, while at least a couple of hundred perfectly fine apartments are vacant just down the block. For the upcoming local election, this is not just a hot potato, it is a rotten one. Perhaps for this reason, they have decided to let students move into the vacant apartments for a period of three years, while they contemplate their next move.

I feel so sad for the elderly, now stuck in one of the city's new “super retirement homes” by a highway on outer Østerbro. They should not have been uprooted in their final years just because someone had a wet dream. But rather than see the buildings demolished, I would like to see them lived in. Renovated, and put to alternative use. Imagine what can be done with this complex: small businesses could fill up the ground floor, studios, workshops, daytime cafes and vintage shops. The area would come alive, and the oasis could turn into a public garden or a small park. It’s all right there. My head is spinning from ideas for this place.

But my main goal have all along been to save the Ladytree. No one will ever be able to justify chopping down that majestic piece of Copenhagen history. Last Saturday she got a full page in the Danish newspaper Politiken:

The more people who get to know the Ladytree, the better. After this was published, I received a call from the former landscape architect on Sølund, who had instantly recognised the old tree. He was telling me how everyone back then worked hard to secure it, keeping it free from cranes and construction. It was only thirty years ago, and yet the city’s respect for trees was so much greater, then. Even though we need them more than ever.

If the city is looking for a "super green climate plan", I suggest they prioritise taking care of the trees we have left. And in case they should forget, I am here to remind them.



  1. For other bad news, cycle past Statens Museum for Kunst. Holy shit.

    1. You just gave me a really bad feeling in my gut. Don't tell me they are butchering all the trees? Please.


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