Several Copenhageners have opened their eyes to life on Vestegnen. Last year, 5,183 chose to move the address to Høje-Taastrup Municipality, where new neighborhoods entice with community, modern architecture and different urban spaces at prices that are well below the Copenhagen housing market.
Høje Taastrup C is one of the districts that have been under planning for some years, and which are ready for occupancy in 2022. The master plan has been drawn up, which has also devised the main lines to Papirøen and the new Nordhavn.
»On our interest list, we largely see families who come from inside Copenhagen, but we also see some from the rest of Zealand. They want to be closer to the city, but can not afford to settle there, «says Lars Bloch, CEO of the area development company Høje Taastrup C, which is owned by Høje-Taastrup Municipality, ATP / PFA and Danske Shoppingcentre.
The area corresponds in size to 40 football pitches and will house 4,000 inhabitants in row, point houses or squares, respectively, and approximately the same number of employees in companies that will be located on the outskirts of the district. The total of 1,450 homes are divided into ownership, rent and share – and if you want to share everyday life with others, there are also two housing associations, one of which is for seniors.
“We have taken the qualities from the dense city with low construction and activity between the houses,” adds Lars Bloch.
The world’s longest skating rink
One of the attractions that the district looks up to is a park street with what is supposed to be the world’s longest skate track at almost 700 meters. It was conceived by Rune Glifberg and Ebbe Lykke. Together they have the company Glifberg – Lykke, which designs skate parks both in Denmark and abroad. In Høje Taastrup C, they are employed by Cobe as sub-advisors.
The course consists of a number of gutters and is part of a larger drainage project.
“The district is designed for the water to run out into the gutters when we have these very heavy rain showers, where the sewers cannot carry the rainwater and the water starts to run out into the streets. So in reality, the park has rainwater management in extreme situations as its main theme, while the skating rink can be used under normal circumstances, “says Rune Glifberg, who himself has a career as a professional skater.
“Our idea is that you can go down to a park, where you can sit in a cherry grove, and where there is also something for the young people. One half of the skating culture consists of riding a board and the other half of being with friends. The city park must help to make the area attractive, because there is some movement and some life for many different generations. When you create such an urban space, there should just be gathering points for people with different interests – in contrast to much of what you see in previous urban planning, “says Rune Glifberg.
“The Blowing Sign”
The story of Høje Taastrup C begins in the 1960s, when politicians got the idea to move the country’s agencies to Høje Taastrup, while the departments were to be located on Slotsholmen, says Lars Bloch.
“It was the first time there was talk of relocating government jobs. At the same time, they wanted to create a new district where 80,000 people could live and work, “he says of the idea, which was never implemented.
In return, it made plans to open Northern Europe’s largest shopping center. In the mid-1970s, City2 opened its doors to customers. In this connection, it was anticipated that a lot of cars would come to the district, and large roads with up to 12 road tracks were therefore planned. However, that part of the project was shelved.
»So now they had these very large areas lying as a kind of barriers between the station and City2. It had been natural to develop the areas earlier, now that the plans went in the sink, but only at the last municipal reform were they handed over to Høje-Taastrup Municipality, which will now create coherence in the city, “says Lars Bloch, who believes that far too many have a one-sided narrative about Vestegnen. Or Blæstegnen, as Tessa and Orgi-E call their new single and music video, where City2 plays a prominent role.
The shopping center is about to get a facelift in connection with the new housing project, where there will be shops facing the street.
»Many people associate Vestegnen with concrete buildings from the 70s and 80s. It’s about being told that there is another side to the story as well. That there is plenty of nature and a well-functioning city. Simultaneously . We try to support that there is life between the homes, and we make great demands on the architecture and the choice of materials. We have also prepared a design guide for everything that is to happen in the district – in collaboration with the architects, “says Lars Bloch.
Mere end sit image
Ebbe Lykke, who is a trained designer specializing in urban spaces and skate parks, hopes that the project can help to provide a more nuanced view of Vestegnen.
»Høje Taastrup can perhaps lift itself from being the cliché of a Vestegn municipality to just being an ordinary municipality in Denmark. This whole urban development is precisely helping to brand Høje Taastrup, just as City2 will have the opportunity to redefine itself, «says Ebbe Lykke, who hopes that curious people will make their way past the new park.
»Is Høje Taastrup just a place you drive to when you go to IKEA? Or is it actually a place where one can meet across many ages in an interesting park? Of course, we believe that this will be the last thing that comes to mind. We hope that this is interesting for many Copenhageners who live in smaller apartments and who want more space and nature – and at the same time have some cultural hubs, “says Ebbe Lykke.
“Vestegnen’s image is neither nice nor well-deserved, because it is much more than what we hear about,” he adds.
From inconsolable to close
Høje Taastrup C is just one of several projects that entice with modern urban spaces and several square meters for the money on these edges. Most recently, the residents have started moving into Nærheden – a completely new district, which is located in Hedehusene, and which in the long run will house 7,000 people. A new school is to be built here, just like one shared outdoor kitchen, a city garden, living quarters and shared cars emphasize that this is not the classic suburban life in the detached house. On the other hand, as in Høje Taastrup C, there is a focus on community.
The interest here has been great, which does not surprise Ellen Højgaard Jensen, director of the Danish Urban Planning Laboratory.
“In recent years, we have seen that there have been a number of new hubs where many are beginning to see potential. You can live cheaper than in Copenhagen and at the same time get access to some nature, «says Ellen Højgaard Jensen about, among others, Høje Taastrup, who is now focusing on attracting other Copenhageners with new forms of housing.
»When the large buildings on Vestegnen arose in the 60s and 70s, they were very modern. There was light and air, and you came from the Inner City, where conditions had been really bad. But eventually, healthy housing was not enough. The planning rationale that prevailed at Vestegnen was about separating functions. Housing separately, industry separately and leisure time separately. It has been built too scattered and too high in the past, so some areas have become inconsolably impersonal. Therefore, many sought back to some identity and some close city, “says Ellen Højgaard Jensen.
She believes that it is right to build closer and focus on good urban spaces.
“Today, urban space plays a bigger role. They are something that people orient themselves to, so it is important that they are given priority. It is also generally good to densify, because it is sustainable. But you also have to make sure that you do not build so close that it is reminiscent of the Inner City. People are also looking out for air, freedom and the opportunity to get out into nature. So it is important that the development takes place on the premises of the place, «says Ellen Højgaard Jensen and emphasizes that it will hardly be crowded with small shops in the new areas.
»It is probably not realistic that there will be charming shopping streets with small specialty shops – which are having a hard time all over the country. There have also been attempts at shops around the station, but they have had a hard time. On the other hand, there is growth in restaurants and cafes throughout Denmark when we do not have corona, so I think it can be established, and it also creates some life, “she says.
Parkstrøget through the district connects the station, City2 and Høje Taastrup’s new town hall, which has not yet been built. The fact that there is already an existing city makes it easier to create a new neighborhood, says Lars Bloch.
»This is not a bare field project, as we have seen in Ørestad, for example, where everything has to be built from scratch. Here is a well-functioning infrastructure and a well-functioning city that one connects to. And at the same time you can be at the Central Station within 20 minutes, “he says.
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