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Students breathed life into dead city space

Students and local community spent the weekend turning unused urban space into an experimental garden

An empty and abandoned city lot in the Copenhagen suburb of Amager may not sound that appealing to most. However, through the eyes of locals, like humanities students Majken Hviid, Nina Wöhlk, and Henriette Noermark, it is a place of huge potential.

Urban agriculture, the reclaiming of vacant city locations for farming, has come to Copenhagen. The city thereby follows a global trend, with rooftop vegetable gardens in New York and legislation recently passed in Canada re-allowing chickens in your back yard.

On 7-8 May 2011 the Copenhagen students, along with the other 12 founding members of the Prags Have project, helped bring the community together to transform an abandoned area at the end of Prags Boulevard into a beautiful community vegetable garden.

Community building

Over 50 people came out to the work party.

The project is only temporary. The land is being borrowed for a two-year period and the project group has received DKK 68,000 in funding from the Amager-Øst Lokaludvalg, or local committee, for their initiative. If the city wants to develop the land, the group may be forced to rescind it.

But until then, it’s theirs.

All worth it

But why would anyone bother engaging in such a short-term project?

»It is an interesting way to transform the value of a place for citizens. People are so happy to see something happening here. This place has been vacant for so many years. The contrast is so nice, compared to the industrial buildings,« says Hviid pointing to the buildings behind her.

For them, all of this is worth it.

Experimentation process

The weekend event brought out many different members of the community: Those who were interested in helping, and those who were just curious. The work has just begun.

The students say that they are inviting anyone who is interested in the project to come and volunteer, or just spend time in the garden. According to the three students, the garden is a experimental space where all ideas are welcome, and where they hope community members will create their own initiatives.

»The most exciting part is that we don’t know what will happen in the next months,« laughs Hviid, »None of us know how to make a garden….«

New gardeners are welcome

»It’s a very anthropological way of learning,« adds Wöhlk.

The Prags Have project group invites everyone who is interested to join in, especially landscape architects, biologists and anyone with relevant experience. The garden is open to all visitors.

Check out their Facebook Page here.

Check out the group behind the project, Klondike & Friends, here.

afton.halloran@adm.ku.dk

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