One of the best parts of having class in the middle of a vibrant, bustling city like Copenhagen is the ability to use it spontaneously as a real-life classroom. While yesterday I went to my Strategies for Urban Livability Class expecting a lecture, our Professor Bianca decided to take advantage of the amazing weather we were having to take us on a spontaneous field study. As we walked to Norreport Station to catch a bus, we were all unsure of where we were heading. I decided to try asking Bianca and she responsded that we were going to the “Potato Rows.” While there was certainly a possibility that we were going to an urban farm or rooftop garden, I had a feeling that Potato Rows referred to some sort of housing or neighborhood. A short ride later to Osterport, we got off the bus and my suspiciouns were confirmed. The “Potato Rows” is the nickname for this neighborhood, based off the fact that when viewed from above, the row houses look similar to how potatos are planted.
What is special about the Potato Rows is that they were named the Most Livable Neighborhood in the World by multiple planning organizations. While the townhouses were originally built in the 19th century to house working-class families, 2 to a house, the houses are now some of the most expensive and sought after real-estate in the city, thanks to their central location, safe streets, and the perfect size homes that allows enough private space but are small enough to force the residents to interact with their neighbors and surrounding. After a quick introduction, Bianca set us loose to find out what exactly made the Potato Rows so livable. While we were milling around I noticed an older man lighting a pipe and watching us. He gave me a friendly nod as I walked by so I decided to try talking to him to get a local perspective. He was a friendly guy and I could tell he loved his neighborhood and loved telling others about it. I found out he had lived there for 10 years and inherited the house from his Mother-in-Law. His sons are probably next in line to get the house but he is in no rush to move out, like most residents . Fortunately, most houses in this neighborhood are passed down family lines, but if one of the houses were to enter the market today, it would be listed for around $6 million DKK!
Here are some pictures of my dream neighborhood: