University Post
University of Copenhagen
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Students to fight for campus gardens

They know the bulldozers will come and turn the whole thing into a parking lot. But Frederiksberg campus students still want to save their blooms and groves

It’s behind some buildings on Rolighedsvej, Frederiksberg Campus, University of Copenhagen. Past a bunch of greenhouses and parking lots. Further down, almost hidden away, the student gardens. the Frederiksberg campus students grow their own crops and flowers here.

But now, sometime after the summer of 2016, they will be rooted up to make way for a new parking lot.

“As a part of the plans for new buildings at the Campus on Frederiksberg we will have to extend the amount of parking lots. This means that the existing parking lot – next to the gardens – will be extended. Danish legislation requires that we provide a certain amount of new parking lots when we build new buildings on Campus. The gardens will therefore not be permanent,” says Lone Zeeberg, Head of Planning at Science Planning and Building Projects, UCPH, adding that it is uncertain when exactly they will be removed.

Waiting list for garden plots

The gardens started being used by students in 2008. Back in 2007 a group of students decided to go to an abandoned area and under the ‘wild’ Danish vegetation they found leftovers of old gardens. They decided to ask permission to use the plots as gardens, and permission was temporarily granted by the campus.

The parking lot will come. But until then the small plots (Photo: Camilla Meshki)

Even though the students knew that the gardens were ‘doomed’ from the start, they would still like to keep them, says Andreas Carstensen, a PhD student at Frederiksberg campus who has taken on the role as student gardens spokesman.

60 students are currently taking care of the 25 plots available and more people are signed on the waiting list.

“It is a shame that they have to make parking lots where a lot of students have their gardens, especially when there are people on the waiting list. There is a huge interest in having a garden. Especially at this place, and there is also history attached to it”, Andreas explains to the University Post.

Are parking lots really needed?

“Could it be replaced by anything worse?”, Andreas asks rhetorically.

“A huge square of concrete instead of living and growing gardens. The campus people should do something to keep them, and they know we have an interest in keeping them”.

(Photo: Camilla Meshki)

Simon Fiil Svane, one of the founders of the student gardens, proposes that a survey should be done regarding the people working and studying at Frederiksberg campus and their parking habits to see if more parking lots are needed. If the answer is no, maybe the Frederiksberg municipality could make an exception, he says.

Summer hopes

If so, the students still have time to campaign.

“The time schedule for building on this specific plot is not quite certain and this means that the gardens will still be there next summer,” Lone Zeeberg of Science Planning and Building Projects assures the University Post.

For the student gardeners, this is a welcome reprieve. And until then the crops grow and the flowers bloom.

(Photo: Camilla Meshki)

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