Tales from an American girl living in Denmark
This morning we went to another class at DIS where Bianca Hermansen of Gehl Architects was the speaker. Despite initially being sleepy and a little leftover from last night’s Distortion activities I was paying full attention after the first couple of minutes because this woman is BRILLIANT.
Bianca is one more Dane who you can tell is legitimately passionate about her work and how it effects people. She spoke about sustainability in a way I’d never considered it before. In the states sustainable means you bought a Prius instead of a Hummer. In Denmark, they consider social sustainability. Bianca talked a lot about the livability of places and how the way spaces are designed can dramatically change the way life takes place within them. She showed us incredible examples of how small changes like widening sidewalks, plunking down benches, and introducing optical stimuli injected life into places that were previously “Living Machines.” She explained that many cities, especially in America are designed so that people go from their high rise apartment, to their car or subway, to work, and then back. They don’t stop and linger. They don’t interact. It’s prison. She reinforced how important it is to create a human habitat by creating a place in your space.
She was full of quotes that made me think “omg, how did I not consider this before.” A few favorites:
“Cement Islands don’t invite coffee drinkers.”
“A monkey can do this. It’s about political priority.”
Amen. Can we put this girl on blast please?
Later today we went to the Copenhagen Design Museum, and I didn’t know where to look first. Today is turning into those days where I’m experiencing visual overload and the archivist in me wants to attach a video camera to my forehead and go from there. I took zillions of pictures at the museum, but I don’t have time to sort through and post those now.
Brian recommended I sit in the chair you see to the left. It doesn’t look like much, but this thing is utopia for long-legged, tired people. I took my time getting back up.