Following a number of attacks by terrorists using vehicles as a weapon, more and more cities are placing solid concrete blocks in popular city centre areas to prevent further attacks of these kinds. After the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin last year, the authorities in Copenhagen were rightly quick to place protective blocks in the city in places which may be considered targets. Whilst these blocks serve as very practical purpose, the look of them is not very pleasing and can create a feeling of fear. Cities still need to be functional and useful for everyone especially those people on foot or using bikes.
TagTomat, an organisation behind a number of urban gardening projects which has been in operation since 2011, has worked with Sharing Copenhagen to develop a prototype concept to make the barriers more attractive and useful in everyday life. The idea is to take a wooden framework which is placed over the functional concrete blocks. The framework can then have benches, bike racks and planters added to it. The idea also offers value for money as the barriers then become multi use and it makes spaces greener and more friendly but also safe.
TagTomat has chosen a variety of robust plants with long flowering times. The project was covered by DR’s P4 programme and the presenter, Kamilla Mærsk, summed the barriers up perfectly:
“If I just walked past them I would not think of terrorism immediately but rather a new initiative from the City of Copenhagen to make the city a little nicer.”
There are two locations currently in the city where the prototypes can be seen: the Rådhuspladsen and Nyhavn.
You can read more (in Danish) about the project and watch some videos here
Photo credit: Tag Tomat