Much of the densely populated Vesterbro seems far removed from any green areas. However, sandwiched between tenements and backyards, nature continues to thrive, not only in large, private gardens, but also in small public parks like Saxo Park, which is also home to the district’s nature and environment workshop, the Tree Stump.
The long, narrow park was established as part of the many urban-regeneration programmes in Vesterbro. The clearing out and cleaning up of backyards and vacant lots created green opportunities for the local population – something that was particularly badly needed in Vesterbro. The few existing green areas were also revamped at the same time.
Today, in the heart of the concrete jungle, Saxo Park is an example of how to live sustainably alongside nature, and hosts events for youngsters and their parents throughout the year.
With the help of the nature workshop, Saxo Park has been transformed, not into a manicured park but into a wild urban garden with bees, an insect hotel, herbs, shrubs and lots of activities that let children get their hands dirty, as well as giving them food for thought. This is why the Tree Stump was awarded the City of Copenhagen Environment Prize.
True to the spirit of the place, it is housed in what used to be a public toilet. Before it became a nature centre, it had been closed for more than a decade and was a complete mess, covered with graffiti and ripe for demolition.
Today, you’ll find kids baking bread over a fire here, grinding flour or conducting experiments with earthworms and compost. Or you might encounter adults looking for inspiration to make their own backyards greener and more attractive to animals and plants.
Photo: Rikke Milling