The public spaces of pandemic: a case study of Vesterbro

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Nur Ceren Cakmak
In the beggining of 2020 world was hit with COVID-19 pandemic and metropolitan cities
were hit the hardest. Urban life had to continue under new circumstances. Countries
reacted to this state of emergency differently. Denmark implemented lockdown to contain
the spread of the virus by limiting gatherings to maximum 10 people, closing schools,
universities, daycare, entertainment and public leisure facilities. Life in Denmark was on
hold. People adapted to the new regulations and continued their life with social distance.
The perception of urban life has changed and people started to avoid crowded spaces. As a
result, people claimed the public spaces within their close proximity and turned local public
spaces into their outdoor living rooms. This situation also shed light into vulnerabilities
of dense urban areas like Vesterbro. As a district that already suffers from lack of space
and increasing population, the citizens of Vesterbro felt the pressure even more. The lack
of public space increased the demand on existing public spaces and the increased demand
resulted with reduced the quality those public spaces. The pandemic changed the way
citizens of Vesterbro evaluate their public space and unlocked their desires to have a good
public space. The online survey and structured interviews with the citizens and third
places allowed me to draw a general perception of public space after COVID-19. People
perceived existing public spaces as crowded, dirty, loud, and small. On the other hand
they also perceived it is local, friendly, and lively. Their preferences of public space was
to have more open, green and active public spaces. The existing public spaces offered a
lot of unique qualities that allowed users to internalize themselves with the space but they
weren’t satisfying and needed improvements. Lastly these results allowed me to give my
interpretation of qualities for good public space in the light of COVID-19 which are: safety,
close proximity, space/attraction balance, connection with nature, engagement/comfort
balance and flexible space on top of the classic pre-pandemic good public space approach
from the forefathers of public space studies. This result led me to study the value of public
space and conclude my research with a final remark: In order to create good public spaces
we need to change the way we plan cities towards more human oriented, resilient and
sustainable cities for all.
SpecialisationUrban Planning and Management
Publication date20 Aug 2021
Number of pages97
ID: 437890760