New Exhibition in Copenhagen Explores the City as a Green Ecosystem
Under the title Urban Nature, The Museum of Copenhagen zooms in on the role of nature in Copenhagen’s past and present through two brand new exhibitions and two new museum gardens. With an entire programme of events, free city walks, guided tours and educational activities, the museum aims to make an active contribution to debates on how we can use nature in the city.
“Today more than ever, we need to learn how to use nature without destroying it, something that can’t happen as long as we keep thinking of nature and culture as opposites. With Urban Nature, The Museum of Copenhagen wants to contribute to the understanding of the city as a large ecosystem, and to our shared respect for the diversity, vulnerability and power of nature. With its new exhibitions and gardens, the museum explores the significance of strengthening, protecting and integrating nature in city development, life and identity, and emphasises the importance of each individual city dweller’s personal and pleasurable interaction with urban nature,” says museum director Jette Sandahl.
Urban nature exhibitions, gardens and events
Copenhagen is full of parks, green backyards and city gardens that we all use in different ways to relax and grow things, or as building blocks in city infrastructure. All of this is in focus in the exhibition Urban Nature, which takes visitors through the past and present of the city. The exhibition gathers exhibits from the museum’s collections, and presents images and stories from Copenhagen alongside examples from other cities in the world.
The exhibition explores urban nature from three perspectives, all of which emphasise the value nature adds to city life in different ways. The first section of the exhibition focuses on allotments and urban gardens in Copenhagen, and the supply of fresh produce to the city. Culture, recreation and an active outdoor life form the core of the second perspective, which also explores the influence of nature on health and quality of city life. The last part of the exhibition zooms in on the social and environmental challenges city development has faced, and how nature can be used as a solution and source of inspiration.
The exhibition has been developed in dialogue with Kasper Guldager (GXN), Jonas Maria Schul (Schul Landscape Architects) and the urban farmer Signe Voltelen. The exhibition is designed by GXN and produced by Kuubo.
The Dream of a City
The Dream of a City is an exhibition created by the Danish TV presenter Shane Brox, who invites children and adults to shape the city of the future using their dreams and imagination. In the exhibition, visitors can build the houses of the future, environmentally friendly skyscrapers, city kitchen gardens, and much more using thousands of pieces of Lego. Buildings from the museum’s model city, archaeological finds and toys from the museum’s collections connect the past and the present in Shane Brox’s unique universe.
Two New Museum Gardens
New gardens are now growing in front of and behind the museum. The garden in the museum forecourt is made up of classical elements of Copenhagen, with pedestrian crossings and granite paving combined with trees, lawns and raised garden beds. The garden is being planted and grown by pupils from several local schools, and has been designed by Schul Landscape Architects.
The museum garden continues further up the street, where a telephone box from 1896 on Absalonsgade has been transformed into a greenhouse full of plants. The greenhouse has been developed by the urban farmer Signe Voltelen, and during the summer will be looked after by local schools and day-care centres.
The back garden of the museum is the creation of the Chicago artist Barbara Cooper. She designed the garden after spending two months in Copenhagen, during which she studied the city’s gardens, archaeological finds at the museum, and the cultivated landscape surrounding it – from farming land, to recreational areas and military complexes. The garden, which she has called Intersections, is a sculpture representing the meeting between nature and culture and negotiations between the two. All the gardening has been done by the landscape gardener Anders Matthiessen Aps.
To accompany the exhibition and new gardens, the museum is hosting guided tours, city walks and a whole programme of events throughout 2014. Keeping a strong Museum of Copenhagen tradition alive, there are free summer city walks, and every weekend there are free guided tours of the museum’s exhibitions and gardens. You can also follow the special children’s urban nature trail through the exhibitions.
Urban Nature is part of Sharing Copenhagen, Copenhagen Green Capital 2014.