Re-fueled I hopped back on the bike and continued my journey into Fælledparken the cities most visited park with 11 million people a year enjoying it.
First I passed Amorparken, which in reality was just a net swing (the ones that anyone or multiple people can enjoy) on a patch of green on the side of the road. But I actually quite like that, even these small potentially wasted spaces are used for fun and recreation. I knew I was getting close to the big park when I could hear the distinct sound of skateboards on ramps and soon was upon Northern Europe’s largest skate park. On into the Fælledparken I was reminded of the large London parks with large open spaces and a lake. However on the outskirts were a number of children’s play areas with different themes.
I popped my head in at Trafiklegepladsen, a great example of a themed playground. It was a mini road system with scaled down roads, cycle paths, road signs, traffic lights and a tiny car wash. With room for parents to watch and relax from the out skirts as well as some more traditional play equipment with a traffic theme. Some children were busy following the roads as they should be followed, others, usually but not always the younger ones were just playing across the space as they liked. Both approaches appeared to result in fun and did not seem to interrupt with each other in any way.
I continued on past some equipment that was being used by young and old as play and exercise equipment, again with no conflicts, there was space and tolerance for everyone. The next stop was Sansehaven – the sense park. This was a simple park with play structures which could easily be replicated such as stepping stones, bridges and a water pump as well as sculptures. Some of the sculptures were more obviously related to the senses than others (see photo below) and were hidden in little hedged off areas, some of which you could only reach by child sized hedge alley ways. A very simple way to make a child (or this particular adult) feel like they were discovering something new for themselves.
On I continued through the park and past some more play areas, a mini skate park, busy with beginners and another more traditional play area themed around towers (Tårnlegepladsen). Out of the park and along Fiskeøen and into another large and beautiful park area called Østreanlæg where I found my first sighting of man made safety surfaces, and after seeing the alternatives all day the bright blue rubber just seemed ugly and unnecessary. Interestingly the most fun I saw being had was by a small boy and his mum who had decided to take a short cut down a bank into the play area. I could tell from the amount of wear under the trees that this was a well used route, and by the smile on this youngsters face I am sure they will be doing it again and again! So, almost all play-grounded out I nipped through the stunning botanical gardens – definitely one to return to Copenhagen for and headed towards Copenhagen Museum.
I chose to visit this museum after doing a bit of research online into how the city was interpreting the European Green Capital status to the people of Copenhagen and its visitors. There are three exhibitions in the museum addressing this. The biggest is ‘Urban Nature’ which is:
Based on an understanding of the city as a large, vibrant ecosystem the exhibition presents local as well as international activities and pioneering solutions within the urban nature. The exhibition will explore both historical and contemporary ways of using and enjoying the urban nature, and address the renewed pact between nature and culture as many cities are looking for in the 21st century.
This was an interesting and engaging exhibit, though a lot of the video footage was in Danish, which raised questions regarding urban nature from three perspectives:
1. Back to Our Roots – gardening and Copenhagens produce supply, urban gardening and the positive impact it has on communities
2. Green City Spaces – how it affects culture, recreation and active outdoor life
3. Sustainable Urban Growth? – perspective of urban planners, architects, politicians and activists and how nature is used as a model and a solution
A lot of poignant questions were raised and some solutions were offered. If people take the time to go to the exhibit and experience it I am sure they will be inspired by its content, the only thing was there was not that many people there.
Next up was a small exhibition called ‘The Past Beneath Us’ which links archeological findings in Copenhagen with farming and food chains and how that has change over time. The final exhibition is fully interactive and called ‘Dream of a City’. It was created by artist Shane Brox where children and adults (though it was on of those situations where really only children were doing it and I wished I had one that I could bring along just so I could get involved!) can plan a city using Lego. Questions are asked on the walls such as ‘How can we bring nature back into the city?, What role do trees, bushes and flowers play in the city of the future? What would your recycling plant look like?’ etc. to spark the imagination into thinking about sustainable planning. How much of that sunk in when a child is presented with a mountain of Lego and told they can do as thy wish with it is questionable, though hopefully parents will read it and think about it as their children play,
It was almost time to return my new best friend, my bike, so on the way back to the rental shop I had time to swoop by one last park, Skydebanehaven. The main feature here was a macaw shaped slide. I loved it!