28 October 2013

Yes we totally can!

Here's the thing: I have set myself a goal that is deemed impossible by almost everyone I talk to. Give up, they say. One person can't make a difference. I will just have to prove them wrong, because there is no way I am giving up on the urban trees.

Saltskadet træ / Salt damaged tree

Saltskadet træ / Salt damaged tree. Not balding: the leaves were never there to begin with.

Saltskadet træ / Salt damaged tree

It is beyond me, how preventing and fixing this is not the highest priority of the city.

The goal, in two parts:
One: the city must cease salting the roads in the wintertime, and look to an alternative method of keeping them safe. It is done in cities like Stockholm and Berlin, where the use of salt is forbidden for this exact reason. If they don't, we will lose all our road trees, already withering in large numbers.

Two: the city must implement a tree plan. Other cities in Europe, even in Denmark, have one. In Copenhagen it is the wild west, besides the dying trees, healthy ones are cut down for any reason you can think of. Copenhagen trees are not mapped, and enjoy no special protection. The ground under them is hugely attractive to real estate developers, and a giant tree can be cut down and replaced by a twig, without any objection. This has to end!

I just wanted this on the record, as it is something that all started here on the blog, with the trees on the bunkers. I promise not to spam you with too much tree stuff, but if something major happens, you will know about it. 

The damage:
It was not until I saw the trees in Ørstedsparken that I fully realised what is missing. This young tree below never bloomed. And all the others like it down the road, and along many other roads in Copenhagen have been twiggy since spring. Crippled by salt, a damage that stays for years. Another hit may be the end of it.

Saltskadet træ / Salt damaged tree

Saltskadet træ / Salt damaged tree.

Suffering trees by the lakes in the summertime:

Damaged trees, summer

Left side: reasonably healthy, right side: dying. The poor trees never stood a chance. Same spot now:

Damaged trees, same spot in fall

This is one of many reasons that young urban trees don't make it past the age of seven: living conditions are impossible. How would anyone sustain life on a diet of saltwater, really? Last year you would still see larger patches of yellow leaves in the streets. Today there are almost none. People don't know what is missing because you don't see what you don't see. It needs to be pointed out.

The plan:
Only when people join efforts, push for and demand action, we stand a chance. So I will absorb knowledge on the subject, inform people, make the damage visible and gather support. Make some noise for our beautiful, suffering trees

I had a golden opportunity to talk about the oversalted trees and the city's bully tactics on urban oasis Sølund and ladytree, in the magazine Where2Go. It is available online as well, but only in Danish, here: link.

If you are in Denmark, and want to support the trees, I hope you will join me on Red Byens Træer. 

We can totally do this!


26 October 2013


Of all the parks in Copenhagen, Ørstedsparken is the wildest. Hilly and diverse both in vegetation and clientele, embracing everyone from dog walkers and families to famously so, gay men in the after hours. It has crooks, wilderness and statues, lots of benches, a lake, a romantic bridge and a cafe. And it is one of the few parks where you are allowed to barbecue.

I don’t go there nearly often enough, and during my last visit, a few things really struck me: we have so little wilderness in Copenhagen. For some reason the city planners are obsessed with neatness, keeping things at an even height, and manageable. Grass is better than trees, and asphalt is better than grass. The other thing that hit me, was that I had completely forgotten what healthy trees are really supposed to look like. Look at our beautiful friends:






Part of the attraction is the location. Right around the corner from the busiest train station in Copenhagen, Nørreport (the one with the floating green roofs).


The surrounding real estate may be high end, but Ørstedsparken is for everyone. 




You get that I like trees, don't you? Ha. If you don't, you may want to look the other way for what comes next. Or not, actually...

24 October 2013

Best in hiding

White on white, details appearing only when you make a full stop, and look closely. This house makes me want to revive the Classic Copenhagen Awards. Behold a serious contender in a category yet to be announced. Best in hiding?
Grey house w. hidden details




Closest thing I have been to licking a house. Well, can you blame me?


17 October 2013

Nice try, jul

You are probably not going to believe this, but the supermarkets have already rolled out the first jule paraphernalia. You know: Christmas. As early as September, we had our first Santa spotting in Copenhagen, and now you can buy peppernuts and other jule-related baked goods everywhere. Even my friend the internet, is suggesting that it is never too early to start buying Christmas presents. Well, yes: now is too early. Seriously.

As a sanction I will not mention jul again, until the 1st of December. And maybe not even then. That’ll teach it.


This is clearly a benign elf, or as we call him: nisse. Caught out of context, and not out to sell you anything or make you feel bad. He can stay.


11 October 2013

Nørrebro nuggets

In a way it feels like I am rediscovering my neighborhood. Touring it at random with my camera and discovering all kinds of things. Where did I go, to suddenly feel like I have returned? So strange. Nørrebro and I are jumping up and down, yelling at each other: where have you been? I missed you! Then we laugh, and agree never to part again.

Smil lidt mer / Smile a little more

Smil lidt mer / Smile a little more

Smil lidt mer / Smile a little more

Surveys keep naming us the happiest people in the world, but you would never guess it from the tight faces. What is up with that? We really need to smile more, and make eye contact once in a while.

Chestnut street art

Oh, this is good. I actually passed this one several times, before I gave in and satisfied my curiosity.

Little free library

It's a Little Free Library. A pop-up library, "take a book, return a book" concept born in the US. According to the site's own map, we have at least one more of these, in Denmark.

Little free library

Sharing and recycling is the future, and perhaps best of all: it involves trust in others. We know it as the glue.

Dansk Pilsner / Danish Beer

Technically this is not littering, you might even call it a present.

Ah, it is good to be back from wherever I went. I'm keeping a watch on Nørrebro...

You are being watched
...Nørrebro is looking out for me..

Obama is watching you!

...and Obama is watching you!

03 October 2013

It's a love thing

Fall is a sexy time a year, with plenty of built in drama and romance in the winds, the colors and the bright sun. Sure it’s cold, but as long as the sun is out, it is pretty fantastic. The best part is we get to dress for it, even the houses are on board. My favorite thing about this, is what is left out: the ugly advertising banners, high praise to the restraint of these guys!
Wrapped house

Crutches for the balcony. We all need a bit of support once in a while.


I feel a shout coming...

Behind bars

Menneske toilet / Human toilet

Menneske toilet / human toilet. Spotted in the People's Park, where a lot of homeless people hang out, this is probably someone's attempt to highlight the problem. I like this way of communicating, it is honest.

Street nipple

A street nipple! We don't see enough of those around.


Classic Copenhagen fall, lakeside chestnut trees, old Copenhagen street lamp and all. I love this city so much.