Danes are really good at using their city and the spaces within it. There is an increasing trend in Denmark at the moment, where urban spaces with a lot of new possibilities are becoming part of our lives. People can come and relax with their family, or kids can hang out with their friends. All of these spaces have one thing in common: to create a space for inclusion – inclusion through a variety of activities.
Merging of cultures
In 2012, a new public park opened in Nørrebro in Copenhagen called ‘Superkilen’. It was designed by Superflex in collaboration with BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and the German company Topotek1. It is meant to improve urban life in the area, as Nørrebro is a multi-ethnic area with a population derived from 57 different cultural backgrounds. Superkilen represents each and every one of these 57 cultures by including 57 different objects from the 57 different countries. You can sit on a bench from Armenia while the kids are crawling around inside a Japanese octopus. “Each object is accompanied by a small stainless plate inlaid in the ground describing the object, what it is and where it is from – in Danish and in the language(s) of its origin”, explain the project leaders from BIG, Nanna Gyldholm Moeller and Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, adding,“the park serves as a surrealist collection of global urban diversity that in fact reflects the true nature of the local neighbourhood – rather than perpetuating a petrified image of homogenous Denmark”.
Red, Green and Black
Tree colour-coded zones divide the area, each with its own theme, and different objects and activities can be found in each zone, all of which represent different cultures and different opportunities. The red square is dedicated to physical activity. The green park offers a countryside-inspired environment with hills, picnic spots and playgrounds. The last zone is the black market, which is also where Superkilen ends. Here, you can sit and play chess or just relax on a bench. On the weekends, there is a bazaar here as well.
Passionate Street Culture
Another urban space is the new StreetDome, which is an indoor skateboarding and street culture facility, in Haderslev, Jutland. The StreetDome is located between different neighbourhoods and merges diverse cultures together , creating a space for people to learn from each other through sports and cultural events.
There are tree zones that make up the StreetDome, namely a Streetpark, a Silo and an Igloo. Cebra Architects are behind the design, which is separated into four areas with different functions: architecture, sustainability, culture and exercise ,all of which combined to help create a new place in the city for people to gather.
A place for inclusion
It was important that the architecture was used as a tool to create experiences, physical activity and social gatherings. The background for the area was that “everything should be skateable”. This ended up creating a lot of multipurpose surfaces both inside and outside, with a specific focus on activities related to the street environment, such as skateboarding, bouldering, street basket, roller hockey, street dance, etc.
The cultural aspect is embraced by having a centrally located multifunctional space inside the igloo that can be adjusted according to different needs, such as for concerts, exhibitions or events.
The 30 metre tall silo, decorated by artist Victor Ash, also adds to the cultural experience of the area.
Urban Spaces are the new black
With urban spaces like “Superkilen” and “StreetDome” a new trend in Denmark is becoming very clear: encouraging inclusion through a shared involvement in urban spaces to help create better communication and an understanding of different cultures.
In the end, this is not only good for the neighbourhood, but also for the people who live there. Urban development is thus helping to enhance all the great possibilities within an area by providing a place that improve people’s joy of life and makes them feel included and a part of their own local area. These new urban spaces are the new black or actually the new green, and hopefully will be an inspiration for other cities and neighbourhoods.