I first visited Christiania in 2012 whilst I was exploring autonomous living and communities throughout Europe. It was fantastic for a fortnight in October 2018 to spend time working with the residents to map the ecology of the area. I feel very much the same way about Christiania today as I did back then. Christiania is a remarkable example of resistance against the homogenized and deeply restricted spatial planning and social engineering in contemporary Neoliberal Societies.
Christiania has been a site of tension in Danish Society since it was founded in the ruins of an abandoned military barracks in 1971. Activists, academics and dropouts moved into the freezing ruins with the spirit of 1968 heavy in the air and imagined an alternative to the prescribed or conventional ways of living in society.
Today, over 900 people live in Christiania, and it continues to lead in examples of autonomous society, ecological design. Unfortunately, it is constantly under threat by internal pressures (an ageing population and conflicts in community consensus) and external pressures (Police and Governmental Pressures). I will be living in the house for the month of October to interview residents and conduct a couple of collective mapping exercises of the community resources and trying to envision the past, present and future of this fantastic place.
On the residency – I went on a number of walks with Jorgen – a long established resident and interviewed many other Christianians.