Rediscovering historical and natural potentials

Location: Vestvolden, Brønshøj-Husum-Tingbjerg, Denmark
Client: Copenhagen Municipality
Type: Education, Citizen Involvement, Urban Intervention
Status: Completed
Team members: Rasmus Frisk, Jeanette Frisk


Vestvolden, meaning “the west fortifications”, were built over a 100 years ago to defend Copenhagen and in recent years have been renovated. In autumn 2016, arki_lab did a co-creation project at Vestvolden in collaboration with the Municipality of Copenhagen. The aim of the project was to create awareness and take the revitalization process further, exploring the opportunities for Vestvolden’s future. We arranged a workshop with students from Nørre Gymnasium followed by a public event in Tingbjerg.

High school workshop – Great ideas from the youth
We held a one-day workshop where high school students played a unique version of our citizen involvement board game, arki_nopoly. This version included a field trip where the students went out to various parts of Vestvolden, observing its spatial characteristics and interviewing locals. Here the students’ task was two-fold; first, they were to get in physical contact with with the area’s amazing historical buildings and bio-diverse nature. Second, thy had to collect data for the subsequent analysis and design process. The students came up with great design ideas for some of the historical buildings. Their ideas were dialectical in terms of preservation and development. They suggested to preserve and restore the outside while making the inside into a museum or a place for live music or making it into a haunted house. Others, based on their observations from their field trip, concluded that since there was graffiti on a building at the moment, why not make it into a place where you can make street art legally?

The students also came up with ideas for an open space right beside their school, currently a plain field of grass. Through collage and prototyping methods, the students came up with ideas for precisely how this place could be improved. For the prototyping we provided wood modules so the students could build their ideas in 1:1 scale. The interplay between collages and prototyping helped the students refine their ideas. One idea by the students was an outdoor classroom during the day and a spot to relax after school. This idea entails different user groups using the same area and installations at different hours.

Open event – What should Vestvolden be in the future?
A treasure hunt, a bouncing castle, and tents where you could play arki_nopoly and make collages and prototypes were some of the activities you could participate in on this sunny Saturday while enjoying great food made with love from Tingbjergs Kvinder (a local neighbourhood women’s group).

Lots of families came by for the event and many children participated in the treasure hunt that was specially created for this event. The hunt ended at the municipality’s tent where children could vote for the activities they felt should be included in the future at Vestvolden. This was a great way of getting the children to explore the area and thereby get familiar with it, and a great way to nudge them to vote for their favourite ideas, to ensure that the voice of the children is also included in future plans for the area.

Overall, the workshop and the event showed us that citizen involvement can be successfully integrated not only in schools, but in everyday life in public areas. We want to thank the Municipality of Copenhagen and other the parties involved for a very fruitful collaboration!

You can read more about Vestvolden here: http://www.befaestningen.dk


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