Can public space support cultural diversity and different races ?

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Can public space support cultural diversity and race and different races? Anh Nguyen

We live in a flat world (Thomas L. Friedman, 2005), where globalization is  everywhere and affects our life and culture in all aspects of life. People are afraid that their cultures will be lost or the places may become non-places (Augé, M ,2008). Thus, place making is important  to enhance a sense of place.  Many architects and urban designers try to intensify the art of making place like Kevin Lynch, Jane Jacobs, De Certeau, Joseph Rykwert, Marc Ague.

Nonetheless, a different view from other architects and urban designers who seek for distinct place-making, BIG, Superflex, and Topotek1 incorporate to design a public space containing street furniture from 60 different nations across a brightly coloured  square in Copenhagen. The design of the Superkilen park, which expanses 750 metres through the Nørrebro neighbourhood in the north of the city. Neon signs from Russia and Qatar, picnic benches from Armenia, exercise equipment from Muscle Beach in L.A., sewage drains from Israel, palms from China, and neon signs from Qatar and Russia, ping-pong tables from Spain, boxing ring from Thailand are just some of the different objects in the park, which are meant to represent the nationalities of every local resident, rather than depicting a image of cultural Denmark.

Screenshot 2014-04-22 02.01.25Figure1: Superkilen perspective  ( source: www.big.dk)

Its artistic approach is relatively artificial rather than pretending to be green. Furthermore, the park represents a new taste of the cultural diversity of contemporary Copenhagen rather than continuing a perception of Danish people. The diverse community of users which emphasize by different colours and public arts in spaces encourage social interaction and engagement. Superkilen shows what can be done with an open-minded, diverse approaches in spite of simple cost restrictions.

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Figure 2: Superkilen masterplan  ( source: www.big.dk)

The project was introduced by the City of Copenhagen and the Realdania Foundation. Work first initiated in 2009 and the park was opened to the public in June 2012. Superkilen has been chosen as one of the winners of the 2013 Institute Honor Awards by The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the highest award of this professional organization for projects that serve as examples of excellence in architecture, interior and urban design.

In the first zone, there are also benches from Brazil, cast iron litter bins from the UK and a Thai boxing ring. There is also a children’s playground, containing a slide from Chernobyl, a climbing frame from India and a set of swings from Iraq.

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Figure 3: Superkilen’s first zone  ( source: author’s own)

In the second zone, teenagers can play board games under the shadows of Japanese cherry trees and Lebanese cedar trees or go down the popular octopus slide from Japan.

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Figure 4: Superkilen ‘s second zone  ( source: author’s own)

A third zone, painted white lines, runs across the ground, warped around the street furniture, which includes Belgian benches, Brazilian bar chairs, a Norwegian bike rack and a Moroccan fountain.This comprises 3 areas, namely, sports, sunbathing and picnics.A Texan pavilion accommodates a room for line-dancing, whereas a sports arena provide s playground of football and basketball.

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Figure 5: Superkilen ‘s third zone  ( source: author’s own )

In short, I think Superkilen is a new striking approach to place-marketing in the sense that they appraise impartiality which contribute to construction of cosmopolitan.  It can be considered as a multicultural venue where diverse races cannot be ignored or advocated one over the other. Therefore this raises question about how to make the concept of good cosmopolitanism includes everyone who defines themselves as a citizen of the city regardless of particular state, religion, family or profession.

References

Friedman, T. L. (2006). The world is flat: The globalized world in the twenty-first century. London: Penguin.

Augé, M. (2008). Non-places. London: verso.

BIG(2014). Superkilen ‘s images [Online images].  Available at www.big.dk (Accessed 22/04/2014)

Detail-online(2014) . Superkilen ‘s images [Online images].  Available at www.detail-online.com/architecture/topics/three-colours-red-black-green-landscape-park-in-copenhagen-020724.html ( Accessed 22/04/2014)

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Can public space support cultural diversity and different races ?

  1. I have also been to the wonderful place during the Europe visit. I have to admit that Superkilen is well designed public space where different social groups are attracted to have different activities. As many literatures have mentioned, one of the most significant role of public space is for social integration. And I think a successful public space could support cultural diversity and different races as you mentioned. The most important feature of public space is accessibility. Superkilen is part of the linear park which connects different neighborhoods. The accessible boundaries of the linear park attract different social activities. At the same time, the linear park is also a cycling route and pedestrian network which promote different social groups and races in different parts of the city meet in the public space.

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