Tales from an American girl living in Denmark
This morning we had a lecture at DIS from Mavs Udall. I’m feeling a little off, and I had a bit of trouble understanding him. Despite that, here are a few things I took from his presentation:
– The cultural, physical, and social are 3 parts that must undergo change, and they often do so during the same process (like in the restructuring/renewing of a neighborhood).
– Give old spaces new purpose. Very few people in Denmark still believe in God, let alone have any interest in devoting their Sunday mornings to church. One neighborhood Mavs discussed recently shut down 15 churches. So now churches are repurposing themselves as cultural centers, and in his words, “maybe sneaking something in about god.”
– In some of his projects he has a very small budget (it is far more government funded than anything in the U.S., though, still.) Small changes like creating common spaces, meetups, even a fireplace to cook unholy amounts of bacon over, can start to shift a neighborhood’s dynamic. It can invite people to mix who otherwise would go elsewhere or be excluded from core social groups. If a Danish school gets to a “tipping point” where the “Nonwestern population” gets to a certain percentage (did he say 4-5%, or 40-50%? – I really hope it’s the latter), white Danish parents take their kids from the school. Wow I guess it’s similar in some neighborhoods of Denver, though, when I think about it.
– My favorite take away quote. Put so simply. “If you do something, you affect something.”
Oh, and cool project name: Sammen Om Byen “Together For The City”
In other news… We all returned our bikes today. I’ll miss mine; we got on quite well all things considered. After that it was off to a last supper/birthday dinner (for Michelle, who was rocking her new tattoo!) at a restaurant inside Fisketorvet Shopping center. Even poor Erick (who broke his foot yesterday) limped along with us. My fever is sort of better thanks to Brian continuing to supply me with Ibuprofen. I am so congested now, and when I blow my nose it’s just…ugh…out of control. I don’t know why I’m blogging about this. I need to go to bed. When you’re traveling, studying, and socializing not much sleeping happens. The consequence of that is illness. But I don’t even care – I’m quite literally having the time of my life over here!
I haven’t taken any pictures specifically related to this post, but here are a few that I’ve snapped over the past couple of days…