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Christiania's place in the world of travelling ideas: sharing informal liveability

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Helen Jarvis



The self-proclaimed ‘Freetown’ of Christiania has occupied prime real estate in the Danish capital of Copenhagen since 1971. More significantly, since the first squatter activists ‘liberated’ this abandoned military site from the Danish state, an evolving social experiment has occupied the public imagination as a place that inspires intangible attributes of ‘liveability’. This paper draws explicitly on a language and theory of urban informality to challenge neoliberal assumptions about the way ‘influence’ is understood to be ‘relevant’ only as a function of institutional actors and technologies that deliver ‘effective’ urban regeneration. The aim is to explore a nuanced geography of travelling ideas and their impact, drawing on interviews and archives representing a decade of intellectual and creative flows attributed to the Christiania Researcher in Residence (CRIR) programme. The analysis reveals a network space of flows that is co-constitutive with diverse connected communities of practice around the world. Focussing on the case of Christiania raises a wider set of issues that we need to think about when considering interdependent patterns of formal and informal association in urban planning and social policy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jarvis H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nordic Journal of Architectural Research

Year: 2017

Volume: 29

Issue: 2

Pages: 113-136

Online publication date: 10/01/2018

Acceptance date: 29/05/2015

Date deposited: 02/02/2015

ISSN (print): 1893-5281

Publisher: SINTEF Academic Press