Copenhagen's Famous Rooftop Farm May Have to Close Because It Has No Parking

CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter/ Garden and greenhouse

And we think that the city is so progressive, yet they can't seem to figure this out.

ØsterGro is a 6,000 square foot urban farm on the roof of an old structure in Copenhagen. Twenty thousand people climb up the scary little spiral staircase every year to learn about urban farming and forty people get their food from it. According to the google translation of Laura Friis Wang's article in Information,

Stairway up to Stedsans

Lloyd Alter/ Stairway to heaven/CC BY 2.0

"It is a place that has the task of communicating sustainability and ecology. It provides grounding in this town and paves the way for us to make some better choices as consumers, "said Livia Urban Swart Haaland, who is one of the initiators of ØsterGro.

And now it might have to close, because it doesn't have required parking. In Copenhagen.

We tend to think of Copenhagen as being so progressive when it comes to transportation, but in many ways it is like every other city, with crazy and contradictory rules. Mikael Colville-Andersen has complained about this, that we shouldn't be romanticizing the city as being so perfect.

In this case, it appears that the farm was opened in 2014 with a temporary permit. However, when the application was made to become permanent, the municipality decided it needed 23 parking spaces for the customers and visitors. The building owner, Jac Nellemann, says this is ridiculous, that nobody needs the parking.

"It's bad when the municipality itself has helped set up the farm, so they come four years later saying that we have to put cars on it. It's more than sad because it's become a bit of a piece of things what they've done up there," he says.
looiking to elevator

Lloyd Alter/ looking toward elevator/CC BY 2.0

I was lucky enough to visit in 2015 when there was a restaurant up there, as a guest of the INDEX: Design to improve Life people. We all cycled there and had a marvellous meal. The restaurant is apparently gone, but the farm continues. One member says:

My children can help see things grow all the way from land to table. And it gives a really good sense of food and renewed respect for it. I've found out how extensive it is to grow a cabbage head.

But hey, rulz are rulz, and the Environmental Mayor of Copenhagen, Ninna Hedeager Olsen says:

All our politicians in the committee have asked the administration in 27 different ways, if there is anything to do. And the answer is that it does not allow legislation. I think if there was an opportunity, the administration would have found it.

Olsen concludes: "I'm afraid and it will be insanely sad. And I hope, finally, that there is a solution. But I'm just afraid it's not possible."

In wonderful, progressive Copenhagen, because of parking.