Together with Fri Klasse [Free Class] we went for a walk in Allotment Association Frederikshøj. This is a historic moment because a local plan is at present being adopted for the area, which has existed in a legal limbo since the first residents occupied the area at the beginning of the 1920s.
We met Birthe and Jens, who both live there, and heard from Jens, among others, how the first residents had built houses of wooden crates from Ford and Citroen nearby. The cars were sent to Sydhavn in big crates of first-class wood. An almost symbolic mix of the things that have created the basis for the city we know today: motor traffic, industrialisation and a housing shortage.
Birthe told us how the low rent meant that there was a high level of service in the association, for instance a scheme in which the residents cooked for new parents in the first weeks after the arrival of their baby. However, legalisation is threatening the special qualities of the association, and there is a risk that it will be impossible to protect the area from speculation, something that has been avoided so far by having an internal price system based on the value of the materials used. At the same time, as often happens in such areas, it is now impossible for outsiders to move in, as the external waiting lists have been closed.
Where Garden Association Frederikshøj is extremely well organised with a lot of committed and politically conscious residents who have virtually created their own community, the situation is somewhat different in what is popularly called Shitditch and the Gold Coast nearby. One can’t actually see whether the area is in a state of dissolution or is being built up – probably it’s all happening at the same time.
Today when everything seems to be a matter of positive equity and speculation to such a degree that every landscape or urban scene is seen through ”a predator’s eyes” with a view to speculation and financial possibilities or lack of them, it is important to find geographies that form holes in the capitalist market’s normalisation and standardization. In many ways the walk highlighted a number of very relevant aspects of exclusion, social rights and forms of organisation, and of how the shaping and organisation of the city play an important role for these factors.