Bridging Social Gaps: Transforming Disadvantaged Areas by Linking them to the City

Marie Stender, Claus Bech-Danielsen


Several Danish disadvantaged housing areas are currently subject to more thorough physical transformations and refurbishments. The efforts take place at an urban-strategic level, aiming to overcome the isolated character of the housing estates and to link them to neighbouring housing areas. The overall objective of the transformations and refurbishments is thus to overcome the physical isolation in order to break down the social isolation which often characterize the areas. In this paper the social impact of such thorough physical transformations and refurbishments are analysed and discussed based on case studies in three Danish social housing areas: Gyldenrisparken, Finlandsparken and Mj°lnerparken/Superkilen. The analysis shows that especially everyday-route strategies adding new public functions within the area can pave the way for integration with the surroundings. The applicability of such strategies is however highly dependent on context, location and existing image. Social distance may sustain though physical borders are removed, yet, the negative image of the areas can in itself call for attempts to open up and attract new users and residents.

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