21 September 2017

A car-free canvas

Sunday Copenhagen hosted the annual half-marathon, one of the few occasions where cars are banned, and the streets returned to the people. Last year during the same event, an environmental NGO measured the ultra fine (ultra lethal) particles on average ten times lower than a typical rush hour. This kind of pollution kills 540 Copenhageners every year. It is absurd really, how we insist on clinging to such toxic behavior.

Seizing the opportunity, the local council of Nørrebro prolonged the ban on cars, and had Nørrebrogade opened up to the public after the marathon (and crappy weather) had passed. Turning the otherwise hectic street people friendly with a soapbox race for kids on the bridge, small soccer goals, plants, pavilions and tables with boxes of free chalk for all.

Queen Louises Bridge, with the rescued bunker trees on the corners. Imagine this picture without them? Shudder.

Fat lane vs. fast lane.

Copenhagen by day. Clever supermarket tote bag. 

Your money my ass. A Nørrebro classic, even mirrored on the poster.

I started at the bridge and just raised my camera every once in a while, pointing up and down the street. Unable to take it all in at once. The mood was so calm and happy, especially when I reached the yellow part, by Assistens Cemetery. Nature does something to people, the presence of big trees just calms us. Even if we are not aware of it.


I love how it is blurry, but you can still tell that everyone in the picture are happy and relaxed.

At this point cars usually race by, sidewalks are narrow along the cemetery and you don’t let your kids play freely here. Seeing it returned to the people was kind of mind blowing. Look at what we could do with this place, if cars were banned more often (or gasp: entirely)?

Slow down! And that goes for cyclists too.

Still, watching the kids was the best part of it all, racing up and down the street, exhilarated like small prisoners set free. A perfect time in life to learn about how public space is allocated and question the status quo. 

We all need a reminder that the street is our canvas.

 We can put it to better use.


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