The Red Square -Revisited

Only about a year after the prestige project named The Super Wedge (Superkilen) and specifically the plaza dubbed the Red Square, isn´t that Super. The super wedge is situated on the Green Route, and most of the investment paid by the city, is allocated as bike infrastructure in the annual account and public consumption statistics.

The Project was the crown jewel of a local neighborhood modernization, run by a local project organisation in close cooperation with the local community council. Most of whom felt overrun by the city council, the all powerful architecture and urban planning foundation RealDania and Danish star architect Bjarke Ingels (BIG), as reported by Newspaper Politiken (in danish). Many of the locals had preferred a more traditional and green park or plaza

First lets have a look at how the plan “sold” to the stakeholders, more pictures can be found on the Facebook page:

Now while these illustrations are always a cross between great intentions and what is actually possible, non of the pictures indicate that 30% of the Plaza is actually a parking lot. Trees tops are also quite dominant
This is how it looked all wibrant in colors shortly before the plaza opened to the public. The grey area along the former tram garages is the new parking lot.
The Square is it looked around the opening; Picture: Københavns Kommune
A half non-lined basket court, with the basket imported from Compton, South LA. In true LA style, this is actually a parking lot, though it was never mentioned in any of the PR for the square. 
Picture: Københavns Kommune
Half of the trees has died and have been cut down, including the two big old trees, the city explains the trees can not absorb all the water they receive from the square and the salt during the winter. A foreseeable challenge, and hardly the explanation, as the two old trees which has grown in the same place for decades had have a half meter wall around the tree bed. Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
Many of the remaining trees are dying as well. Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
A fragile and humble replacement for one of the old trees, the ramp behind has not yet openend, explanations as to what it is, differes over time, some say it was meant to be a audience ramp others for skating. The unfinished nature of it for a year sends a message that no one really cares. 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
The Basket court/parking lot. The good news is nobody parks here, as there is no need for parking. The buildings in the picture Nørrebro Hallen, a sports arena for badminton, squash, football, volley etc. Facilities in heavy demand, as Nørrebro is the area in Denmark with the lowest sports opportunities per capita. It serves only local needs of people who lives within a 2-3 km radius, and it should not be accessible to anybody else. Further it is situated close to metro station, and a new mini-metro station openeing in 2018. Right outside the most used busline in Northern Europe, Bus 5A stops.The most used train station in Denmark is 2,5 km away.
The bad news is the painted concrete slab is great to use to practise your get -way car driving skills in terms of high speed hand break turns. I complained about the problem to the City Parks Department (Center for Anlæg), who replied (in writing). If I felt the square was unsafe for my child, I could find somewhere else for her to play. They might as well have written in plain english; FUCK YOU!
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
Placing garbage containers in the center of the square, and the temporary (I guess now permanent) concrete road blocks, a great way to show you don´t care! 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk

 

The crossing between the red Square and next part of the Super Wedge, the Black square, a former pedestrian crossing can still be seen, according to the Parks Dept.  project manager, they removed the crossing, because it made bicyclists not look for cars in other non-decript parts of the city. I am sure a lot of pedestrians will be really sorry, if the city continues to remove pedestrian crossings, because bicyclists think the crossings are armour protecting bikes from cars. I am too, sure, that any bicyclist will be flabbergasted at the rediculous assumption.
There is no evidence for this arbitrary assesment. Asked why alternatively an elevated crossing, forcing slow speeds for car traffic, was not installed, the city manager replied, that the busservice is too discomforted by a bump. 
However there is NO BUSSERVICE in the street, there has not been in the period, the square has been finished due to nearby construction work of a mini-metro circle line. There are no actuial plans to reopen busservice in the street ever, as all buslines are to be realligned in 2018, when the mini-metro circle line opens. 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
 

 

If there will be bus-service sometime in the future, beyond 2018, it will benefit from the most significant busshelter in the city.
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
A street sign is placed right in the middle of one of the bike lanes. The City Parks Project Manager claims a right full line is missing, as they had problems making white paint stick on asphalt. I really doubt that, for fairly obvious reasons. 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
More missing and/or broken equipment. 

Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
Two poles, for strippers? Seriously I have no clue about their supposed function. 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk

 

Empty!

Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
 

 

The pictures are taken in the afternoon, after hours, the sun is shining and the temperature is in the low/mid twenties, the Square should be packed, its almost empty. Maybe because the most of the square has no function and programming, its just a red concrete slab. in the entire Super Wedge hundreds of street equpiment was imported to make the park/square a richly programmed urban space, but it is not really working. 
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
This sign, and there are two of them is completely redundant and ugly. Painted concrete is somewhat slippery when wet, it was made into a huge issue at first, as a bike path is not supposed to be slippery when wet in a country with a climate like the danish. that was a year ago, and the problem was fixed.
Now bikes are not allowed to be driven outside the bike path, warning that its slippery when wet for bicycles is really misunderstood, and is just a really lousy way to welcome new visitors, also it indicates, you are allowed to bike there, which you are not.  
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
According to the Project manager for the square, the Road blocks are put here to show the red square where you are not allowed to drive your bike is slippery when wet. Asked how she figured anybody would decode that message (there are no hints written on the blocks), she volunteered no answer.  Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
The international sign for slippery when wet? Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
FILTHY, that is the impression you get all over the square, just really nasty surface, that absolutely sends a signal to parents; keep your children away! Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk
Filthy! Filthy, dead trees and nobody cares!
Picture: bikecopenhagen.dk

The Super Wedge facebook page is proud to announce they are nominated by Urban Land Institute for its global Excellence award Notice how they made sure to submit a picture without cars in the 30% of the square which is a parking lot, or as is the practice, a motor sports playground.

The Red square was fun on the grand opening and has spiralled towards a sad and some will say predictable crash, accelerated by an unparalleled lack of cleaning and maintenance in its very first year.

Soon most of the red concrete hopefully will be gone, replaced by grass, living trees and craftmanship stonework.

Speak Your Mind

*