When Brumleby was first built, 150 years ago, the development was far outside the city, on the Eastern Common. It was built after the great cholera epidemic of 1853, which killed 4,800 people in the city. The idea was that the residents should have light and air and greenery – and they still do, in this peaceful enclave in the middle of Østerbro.

Walking along the public roads and paths between the four rows of yellow-and-white, two-storey apartment buildings, you sense that the inspiration for them came from the houses of Italian farmworkers. With a little imagination, these houses, with their tall, pruned lime trees and green lawns, could almost be from an estate in the Po Valley.

The many green, open spaces between the houses represented a completely new way of planning residential buildings in the 1850s, and in the 1960s the intimate atmosphere attracted many young students.

It was partly thanks to them that plans to demolish the listed, historic area and replace it with more ‘modern’ social housing were thwarted. Instead, the whole area was renovated and refurbished, and some of the apartments were combined and made larger.

As a result, the area still exudes peace and quiet and has the ambience of idyllic countryside, except when there is a concert or big football match in Parken, Brumleby’s nearest neighbour. In front of some of the houses are small, green, private gardens.

At one end of the development is a playground designed to reflect the area’s unconventional character. Described as the ‘dizzy playground’, it is full of quirky fixtures that seem to turn the world upside down.

Photo: Søren Rud

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