03 June 2014

A healing garden

The haunted lot on Jagtvej 69 has been a landfill since that day in 2007, when the People’s House later known as the Youth House, was demolished. The lot has been bought and sold a couple of times since, but that is just paperwork. The overall sentiment is that even though they removed the Youth House, the land still belong to the people. Selling it was one of the worst mistakes the city administration ever made.

Anything resembling a commercial interest on this land, will cause tempers to flare and reopen old wounds. Street artist Shepard Fairey learned that the hard way. Until recently we were in a deadlock, but now something interesting is happening: the people are growing a garden.


Not asking anyone's permission, but just quietly tending to the plants, building stuff like a gardeners shed, raised beds and garden furniture from discarded wood. On the grand opening day, the police shooed them away, let some off with a warning and detained others. But next day people were back, and the garden embraced by the neighbors, stopping by with plants and good advice.




The owner wisely keep the hands out of the hornets nest for now, and police just patrol the area, without harrassing the gardeners. Even Copenhagen's Mayor of Environment, have praised the initiative.


69, to Copenhageners a number synonymous with the Youth House. With a Yin-Yang feel. 

Bybotaniske hemmeligheder

By-botaniske hemmeligheder / Urban botanic secrets.

I talked to a few of the people working in the garden. One of them had helped start another guerrilla garden on Nørrebro, but since the city took over the project, it has been suffocated with rules and regulations. You can't even set up a birdhouse there, without permission. Bureaucracy and overcomplication kills the spirit, which is why the People's Land are perhaps best left out of the city's hands. The ultimate solution would be for a private investor or foundation to buy it back and set it free.


Named in the age of the hashtag #Byhave69.

From a Copenhageners perspective it feels a lot like we are finally on the right track.


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