Here is my submission for a competition over at Innosite, called Into the wild. It focuses on how to link the large area of wild nature, called Amager Common, to the urban side of Ørestad.
My text to accompany the map is as follows:
infringe: to encroach or trespass
“The character of a neighborhood has a significant affect on residents’ physical activity. People in communities with abundant greenspace generally enjoy better health.” *
This proposal suggests allowing the wild nature of Amager Common to encroach on the urban framework and at the same time, the urban environment to trespass a little on the wild nature by providing urban interventions, thereby easing the transition between the two spaces.
Retrofitting the utilitarian aspects of the public realm to introduce nature, through the use of green corridors and the rewilding of derelict and underused spaces, promotes connectivity, activity and a sense of community.
By making local community centres, such as the school, the kindergarten, the library and the care home the nucleii of the local community, one can then identify opportunities to link these to Amager Common through the use of green routes. A green route can lead elderly care home residents to the edge of the Common, where restrooms and seating areas are located. Another can lead to a nature-based play area, perfect for a visit by the kindergarten or a local family. Green routes will include signage and maps to inform about the types of plants and trees en route that also double as pollinator pathways, wildlife corridors and stormwater management systems.
Using urban interventions in and around the periphery of Amager Common, will encourage a broader spectrum of the community to make use of the space. Restroom facilities, seating areas and play opportunities will be a starting point to explore the Common further. Healthy, sustainable communities need active green space and a formal system of connectivity to large areas of wild nature. The green routes will improve the connectivity to Amager Common and this will also encourage freedom and activity, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of the community.
Benefits of the natural interventions/green routes: stormwater management through the use of bioswales and street trees, native wildflowers create pollinator pathways and wildlife corridors, soil and carbon sequestration, community and cross generational involvement, education.
Benefits of the urban interventions: encourage activity and play, facilities make it possible for all sectors of the community to connect to and enjoy the natural space, opportunities for digital play: GPS orientering, nature apps, nature-based digital learning, “third places” promote social equality, encourage gathering, are central to community vitality.
“Most needed are those “third places” which lend a public balance to the increased privatization of home life. Third places are nothing more than informal public gathering places. The phrase “third place” derives from considering our homes to be the “first” place in our lives and our work places the “second”. Ray Oldenburg, sociologist.
* http://www.depts.washington.edu/hhwb/Thm_ActiveLiving: Maas, J., R.A. Verheij, P.P. Groenewegen, S. de Vries, and P. Spreeuwenberg. 2006. Green Space, Urbanity, and Health: How Strong is the Relation? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60:587–592.