#citylinked: from CPH to Embra and back again

Update, Arkitekturens Dag 2017, with map!: 50+ events, with Aarhus (European Capital of Culture, folks) drawing down the blinds on the Rotunda pavilion and Rethink Architecture, plus the inevitable architecture run (CPH Urban Trail seems to be no more); in CPH Bygningskulturens Hus has a lecture on social housing of the 1940s/50s (see also the exhibition and renovation guide), always welcome, and there’s a tour round Ballerup’s fælleshuse

Update: 30 Oct sees City Link CPH/FRB: Reimaging the city, kicking off at lovely Novozymes. Somewhere‘s walk on Nordre Fasanvej has some appeal: ” The tour will stop at selected locations, where the clashes in this diverse area are most obvious, to talk about what creates a good city, gentrification and about art’s possibilities in an urban space such as this.”

City Link (Facebook | Twitter) describes itself as a “co-creating network of artists, activists, cultural entrepreneurs, researchers and people with ideas that link cities”. Launched in 2012 as a project between the ‘cultural communities’ of Copenhagen and Hamburg, I came across it last year via partner GivRum (Facebook), and was piqued to discover that their 2015 festival would be held in my home town of Edinburgh. But being the wrong side of 40 *coughs* I don’t think I’m in the target group:

The festival aimed to “explore how we can create more sustainable and democratic cities”. Organisers included Carol Hayes, purveyor of Culture Pie (FacebookTwitter), now at GivRum. Update: reviews by Richard Williams | Stacey Hunter.

On the programme:

  • Hold me dear: four cities, four (extra)ordinary places – “a co-created exhibition of photographs and stories of treasured places in our cities submitted by local people from Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Istanbul”; showing in the Rodney Street railway tunnel in Canonmills; nicely done!
  • Polar Twins – Artists Exchange exhibition in the Biscuit Factory, a new venue in Leith, where “five Danish and [five] Scottish artists exhibit their work as part of a six month cultural exchange”
  • Nordic Horizons hosted Opening doors: the urban revolution in Denmark, of course it did
  • Symposium at Summerhall – presos, visits, Tunnocks teacakes and fællesspisning
  • Creating sustainable cultural networks – closed workshop hosted by Embra Uni’s Centre for Cultural Relations
  • Pecha Kucha at Architecture and Design Scotland
  • Bike ride with Sustrans – “Take a tour around some of the cultural highlights from the City Link Festival. The tour will feature art, poetry and musical stops at unique locations along a specially created route of locally loved spots.” Obviously this annoys me because it’s ‘pop-ups’ and bikes, but heck, it’s Scottish bikes, and the route _is_ quite long: Goldenacre Path, Hawthornevale, Victoria Park, along the Water of Leith (which I relished not least because it was relatively bike free…)
  • Flytte – “an evening of poetry and music on the theme of ‘displacement’”, to result in a publication exploring “the effect place and displacement have on our creativity”, ha! poets: Bashabi Fraser, Jessica Johannesson Gaitán (aka @therookbookery), Gerd Laugesen; sadly entirely tweet free (wonder how they are going to pronounce flytte, the Danish verb for moving house/home etc, obviously related to the Scot verb to flit; I flitted ? from Embra to CPH)

Picked up lots of nice Scottish urban stuff, not least Creating Places Scotland and Creative Embra‘s Desire Lines project. It’s particularly interesting to compare the Scottish context with Danish discourse. Edinburgh is ‘my’ heritage, and putting it into the urbanist perspective may help me engage more with the Danish. Meanwhile, it’s notable that most Scottish organisations present an engaging public face, with blogs, newletters, Twitter etc. Danish ones mostly…don’t. And regarding engagement in urban planning this side of the pond, the Hvidovre bymidte case is more my experience.

The City Link Festival weekend also saw the climax of the 25th outing for Edinburgh Doors Open Day, with talks, walks and tours.

Copenhagen doesn’t do open doors (previously Bygningskulturens Dag) any more and isn’t part of the Open House/Doors Open Days/Heritage Open Days family, sadly, although some similar events are held as part of Kulturnatten (Culture Night), this year on 9 October. Instead there’s Arkitekturens Dag (Architects Day), organised by Arkitektforeningen and Landsforeningen for Bygnings- og Landskabskultur, held on/around 1 October and covering the whole of the country as the Danish contribution to World Architecture Day.

The 2015 outing on 1 October, with the theme of “creating via sharing”, includes urban interventions and pop-ups, more walks than you can shake a stick at, finally (plus a run, Arkitekturlobet in Aarhus), and trips to some old favourites (and not so favourites):

  • Irmas Kaffetårn i Rødovre – built in 1968 by Bent Mackeprang and Thorkel Klerk and listed in 2014, the iconic tower is to be the heart of Irma By, a(nother) new housing development
  • 8-tallet – residents give insights into daily life in 8-tallet, built to be a community; is social living the way forward for life in cites? (note: due to the number of tourists eyeballing the development, there are now “no entry” signs outside)
  • Panum og Mærsk – #brutalism klaxon! SUND, the Faculty for Health at CPH University, inhabits the Panum Building (1975), shortly to be joined by the Mærsk Building (planning guidelines on building high seem to be increasingly ignored these days)
  • visit to the Villum Window Collection in Søborg, simply because…
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