Update, 8 Dec 2014: CPH hands the baton over to George Ferguson’s Bristol this week at something called Green Capital Days. Looks like it’s largely for the professionals. The whole thing has been rather underwhelming and doubtless passed the vast majority of the population by. Like most things handled by WoCo it feels inauthentic if not to say fake, the first error of a city branding strategy.
The Bristol 2015 website feels rather different from its Copenhagen predecessor; it would be fun to pick this apart, but I’m getting a more people focused approach, dynamic with a ‘can do’ attitude – and way less preachy. Back in CPH, the council is still running the Sharing Copenhagen brand (Facebook), with climate change, nature in the city, the circular economy and mobility its priorities for 2016. Funding available.
Scepticism herfra, but I’m interested in how cities present themselves, not least Copenhagen, which to a resident of eight years still doesn’t feel like home. One of my reasons for exploring urban development is to try to work out why.
On 22 January Copenhagen officially became European Green Capital 2014 with the teeth grindingly awful slogan of #sharingCPH – to me the Danish equivalent, #delditkbh (share your Copenhagen), has a rather different resonance, less “look at us” and maybe more inclusive. Wonderful Copenhagen, the city branding agency, has been doing a great job over the past couple of years getting global coverage for the delights of the Danish capital, but is there really more to it than bikes bikes bikes and greenwashing? Is it really so different from anywhere else?
The European Green Capital opening event was marked by 30,000 tealights forming quotations and 15 concerts in 10 locations, under the headline: “If I say green, you say…”. Note that candles and associated på dansk is levende lys, ie living light, and the tealights were made of beeswax donated by Bybi and sustainable palm oil. Winter swimming was also involved. How all this fits in with the concept of a winter city is interesting to ponder.
This event (invitation) was organised by KIT, hosts of Metropolis 13, and took place from 16:30-23:00. The weather wasn’t kind, but soup, coffee and tea were available on Rådhuspladsen, with the rather more promising attraction of tapas and beer during the launch of the #sharingCPH pics exhibition in Rådhushallen.
Here’s the route and programme for map fans:
On 23 January there was a conference for the great and the good at Rambøll, liveable cities advocate – see my Storify. and also the vid from Rambøll, where speakers at the conference give a more nuanced picture. New hero is Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, who commented that Copenhagen is in “danger of losing the way” in the new areas of the city (cf Ørestad). Bristol, where I studied, is European Green Capital 2015.
Moving on, the Let’s share programme (PDF warning, no links) is set out under five topics. Up first is Good city life of the future (Danglish alert), looking at how the “green transition” and life in “cities of the future” can go hand in hand. This runs from January to April and includes the following, in addition to the Men’s European Handball Championships (tangential, surely) and the whole of Wondercool (no comment):
- Fresh and European Sustainable Events Conference (January)
- Urban nature exhibition, Museum of Copenhagen (May)
- Share the view competition at Papirøen, a new ‘public space’ opposite the national theatre
- some stuff in April including a Visionary Tree Festival in the suburbs, bus tour with smart and visual lighting…
Postscript: as reflected in the update above, #sharingCPH was all a tad underwhelming. As an example we have Ecoisland Amager (defunct; see Øko Ø | Facebook), which promised a lot (presentation) but tailed off in a “let’s hope nobody notices” kind of way. Very Danish.