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Copenhagen’s development is just old wine in new bottles

This is a time and an age where we are thinking differently about our cities for the first time in a century. Copenhagen is often revered as a benchmark city but hapless politicians with a shocking lack of modern vision merely dazzle with smoke and mirrors. City Hall continues to dust off urban development ideas that date from the 1950’s and 1960’s. It’s all just old car-centric wine in new bottles and none of it tastes good. Don’t believe the hype.

The political party that has controlled Copenhagen for well over a century — the Social-Democrats — have an dark, awkward history of urban development visions and the current Lord Mayor Frank Jensen is seemingly intent on continuing that tradition. …

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So there you stand. The Gatekeeper. Tasked with defending the great bastion of Motordom and upholding a last-century codex about city planning and engineering. Your job is important. Keeping the streets clear of irritating, squishy obstacles so that Motordom’s armada can continue flowing freely. Don’t worry about Ignoring the Bull. You ARE the bull and don’t you forget it.

What tools are at your disposal? What are the most effective ways to reverse 7000 years of city life and keep pedestrians out of the way, under control, under your greasy thumb, Gatekeeper? We’ve compiled a list for you.

Adopt one or more of the following ideas in your city and declare proudly to the world that you are:
A: Completely unwilling to take traffic safety seriously
B: Ignorant of the existing Best Practice regarding traffic calming and lowering speed limits
C: A slave to an archaic, last century mentality
D. Immune to the death and injury of millions

First Day of School for Felix — now eighteen years old

My oldest kid turned eighteen this year and here in late summer 2020, he just started his third year of high school. In Denmark, kids start school a year later than most other places. The thing is, now that he is eighteen, the government just starts paying him to go to school. It’s like they place some sort of societal value on our citizens educating themselves or some crazy thing like that.

Every month, the government deposits 2700 Danish kroner in his bank account. That’s

€363 / $432 USD. All he had to do was apply for it online, which took a few minutes, and it happens. The payment is a supplement and it’s certainly not enough to live off of. It’s merely a helping hand while you’re educating yourself. You can get a job to further support yourself but there are rules about how much you can make — if you make too much one year, then you have to pay some of your educational support back. …


Mikael Colville-Andersen

Urban playmaker, designer, host of The Life-Sized City tv series about urbanism. Author of “Copenhagenize”. Impatient Idealist.

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