Superparken

This blog is very much a version of the what I did on my holidays essay. Only, you will be pleased to hear, with a Make Space for Girls Twist.

Just before Easter, I spent a few days in Copenhagen and, along with museums and art galleries and Tivoli, we also went to visit a park. But this isn’t just any old urban park, it’s Superkilen. And it is very much super.

Superkilen is not a place designed by or specifically for teenage girls. What it is though is an urban space designed by arts collective Superflex to be inclusive. And so, perhaps unsurprisingly, it ends up offering a lot of what teenage girls want.

There are shelters, for example.

Lots of them.

And huge swings (apologies but I couldn’t get a really good picture of them because of the terrain)

What’s more, the whole space feels safe and peopled. The park has been put together from a long strip of land, with a bike track and path running through the middle of it like a spine.

And so there aren’t any dark corners or dodgy feeling spots. Everywhere has pedestrians and cyclists – so many cyclists because this is Denmark and they have got their urban transport sorted – passing through.

There’s loads of seating too.

Social in all kinds of ways.

The lighting has also been really well thought out; it’s more than just practical but part of the attraction. (We went in the morning so this isn’t my photo!)

There’s something for everyone – a skateboard space, where the local youth club runs a pop up serving hot chocolate twice a week.

There are play areas for the younger ones too, and games tables for the older – along with free to use barbecues as well.

If you’re starting to think that this looks like a slightly odd hodge podge, you’d be right. Superkilen is in an area called Nørrebro, which has in the past been home to a wide range of immigrant communities but is now becoming gentrified. Only with many more bicycles than this would involve in the UK.

So Superkilen is designed to celebrate refugees and immigration. Almost every feature of the park has been taken from a different country. The giant swings are from Kabul, the shelters from Russia and Armenia, while the slides come from India.

There’s a full list of where everything came from if you’re interested. Britain, you will be pleased to hear is represented by a belisha beacon and an inordinate number of litter bins.

But some things were adapted from the original, including what is perhaps the highlight of the park for teenage girls, which are based on a prototype from Baghdad, improvised by international forces after the war. And it’s perfect. Social seating, meet swings.

When I took that photograph, it was 5 degrees, with a windchill factor to boot. But we still had to queue for the swings. Now that’s what I call a park that works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.