In 2015 I wrote a blog about Enghave Minipark and Denmark’s (at that time at least) longest bench. Enghave Minipark was a project to ensure that the local ‘beer drinkers’, a group of people who in different ways experience marginalization, continued to have a space to hang out and be part of the community. Their usual spot had been turned into a building site beacuse of the construction of the metro.
Together with artist Kenneth Balfelt the group of ‘beer drinkers’, designed the space and created a hang out place, to provide shelter in the winter and shade in the summer. Since its opening in 2012 the place has never been empty. When you pass by there is always a bustling vibe with music, sometimes barbecues in the summer, or a bonfire to keep people warm in the winter.
In the fall I had a chat with one of the guys who use the space, and he told me that he had painted the bench, because everything was a bit too grey these days. I pass the minipark everyday from work, and the bench has been a bright highlight on my route during winter, when everything really did get a bit too grey and dark.
The minipark gives the group a place in the community where they belong, next to the children’s skate area and the hipsters hangout spot, a place they maintain and upkeep. This is a group who in many places would be deemed “antisocial”, but here there is no question that they are as much part of the community as the smart cafés, and that they care as much about the area as the rest of the residents.
Emma Nielsen is a sociologist and project coordinator at Carlberg in Copenhagen. Before this she was a reseracher at Social Life.