December 31, 2018

The year in trees 2018

It didn't get any easier to be a Copenhagen tree in 2018, either. Carlsberg are unstoppable, Greater Copenhagen Utility (HOFOR) have zero regard for the trees in their projects and there are still no count of, rules for or supervision of our trees. On Blegdamsvej we stood helplessly by as we watched the city dig up vital roots and leave the rest uncovered, to dry out. In the De Gamles By, majestic old trees are endangered by incompetent design, the lake chestnuts have still not received the life extending care plan and on Islands Brygge, the administration planned to have the entire avenue of cherry trees felled.

Then something happened.

The citizens came together and let their voices be heard, and the cherry avenue became a subject for discussion. At a citizen's meeting attended by administration, planting developer and politicians (SF and Radikale), the trees finally became a subject of conversation. The green part of the administration are delighted to find the citizens so engaged in their work (the grey part: not so much). The important thing is that we finally are talking about *why* our street trees are suffering. And find ways to avoid it in the future. This entails among other things that we must hold back on the plant poison that is salt.

It also turns out that the administration are keeping an eye on Facebook. They listen when we voice our concern and take note when a lot of us are expressing strong feelings about our urban nature. So stay in the fight. Together we can move this giant mountain. And next year we will save as much of De Gamles By, as humanly possible. <3

Happy New Year!

September 6, 2018

De Gamles By, oasis or building site?

Our politicians are these days planning to develop in De Gamles By (City of the Elderly), building parking lots, a school, businesses and a diabetes center. The latter on Nordpolen (The North Pole), the last remaining part of the old commons and home to the magical old hawthorn, older than Nørrebro itself. The wildest thing we've got. The political majority are either oblivious to the importance of history and nature, or they just don't care.

Nørrebro is the most densely populated part of Copenhagen (times three the average!) and at the same time has the lowest amount of m2 green pr citizen. Now it makes sense why they felled so many trees along the years, for no apparent reason, "opening up" from all sides. An effective way to minimize the resistance, come building time.

The big decisions are made in city hall these days. Save the Urban Trees will work closely together with the green forces to keep the North Pole safe from developing, and have it protected as a park. The citizen's movement Forsvar De Gamles By (Defend the City of the Elderly) are keeping us updated on the development, and it is all happening at warp speed right now.

A look at the father of Nørrebro, the old hawthorn complete with arms, legs a face and a powerful personality.

July 25, 2018

Trees cool down the city

A reminder just how important the tree canopy is, in the city. In addition to all the other benefits, trees help cool the city, when it is aboil. This is the temperature difference between a street without trees and with trees.

Picture borrowed from the tree loving, Canadian architect Brent Bellamy.

June 9, 2018


In May the citizens alert sounded: the City had in one swoop felled the entire row of wild (self-seeded) trees along Amagerbanen, the old rail track on Amager. The reason was a new pedestrian- and bike path, and along that grass clad concrete slides as part of the climate protection plan. Meaning: they felled big and healthy trees to better the climate. In what world does that make sense?

And now the turn has come for Enghaveparken. On Monday the last of the total 69 trees (of 281), will be felled for the big climate protection plan in the park. They have promised to take good care of the remaining trees during construction and will also replant trees when they are done. As a citizen it is just so hard to understand how it is not possible to incorporate existing nature in these plans. Among other things, big trees can absorb and retain hundreds of liters of water daily. Why not take advantage of that, instead of focusing on the sole solution of concrete slides and tubs? A climate protection plan should also be defined as the protection of a climate, fit for humans?
Let the past weeks dry heat serve as a reminder of how vital trees are for the city. We cannot do without them, simple as that.

Citizens shots of the damages along Amagerbanen. Beautiful before and atrocious after, shot by Anders Adamsen and the over and out by Felix Becker.

March 21, 2018

Jubilee on Blegdamsvej

Today we celebrate a jubilee of the three first street trees in the city's road work on Blegdamsvej.  It has been exactly one month since they had their vital roots cut, and they have since been left exposed under a layer of plastic. This is the equivalent of killing the trees. Roots so close to the tree must not be cut. And exposed roots need to stay moist, if you can't provide soil immediately. This is common knowledge by anyone who works with trees.

There are plenty of strong and dedicated people in the city, who know about trees. But they are obviously not consulted during planning and coordination, and they are not present during roadwork near trees. It is an administrative disaster! If the city administration don't see a problem here, they are a part of it.

Dressed for the occasion, ready for execution. Same tree in 2013, mentioned here.

This is the tree that was hit by a truck in 2016. Left unattended for six weeks and plenty of desperate pleas for help, before they cut the wound clean. By that time someone pulled the branch from below, increasing the damage.

Same project in the opposite end of Blegdamsvej. The area below the crown of the tree cannot under any circumstances be used for storing heavy concrete and equipment. The soil suffers compression, the roots are deprived of oxygen and the branches die.

On the bright side they seem to have found a gentler way to remove the stone, with minimal disturbance to the roots in the too small plant beds. Maybe making noise really does make a difference?

The jubilarians. I asked one of the bricklayers when they planned to give the trees soil? "I don't know... when we are done?"

March 5, 2018

Amber alert on Islands Brygge

Tomorrow TMU decides if funds will be granted to fell the ENTIRE cherry avenue on Islands Brygge. A mad plan from the administration, who have offered the trees living conditions so poor that 14 of them over time have died and been felled. They now wish to fell the remaining 131 trees: 122 cherry trees (about 20 years old), 4 rowans, 4 poplar trees and the big chestnut on the corner.

None of the trees are sick, but they have been subjected to poor living conditions which is reflected in their growth. Last year the city added another layer of compacted gravel, all the way up to the trunks, which among other things robs the trees of water. And recently the city itself increased heavy traffic on the roots, which makes it even harder for the young trees to thrive.

Rather than improving the living conditions and adjust their own behavior, the administration prefers to fell all and start from scratch with a new avenue. This goes against the new Tree Policy stating that trees "only be felled where absolutely necessary" and that "ensures good living conditions for existing trees".

The proposal hides in a bigger plan to renovate and improve the Harbour Park. Miraculously, the local council Islands Brygges Lokalråd discovered it in the nick of time, and this buys the citizens exactly one day to stop it. The decision is made tomorrow.

Links (Danish):

February 9, 2018

Another dispensation for Carlsberg

Copenhagen got a new board of Technical and Environmental Affairs. Venstre, consistently voting against the trees, are no longer in, but we got two new parties: DF and Alternativet. In the latest meeting they voted about trees. And as promised we are keeping an eye on how they vote, like on Monday where Carlsberg applied for another dispensation to fell trees in the category "worth preserving". This time asking for seven of them.

In favor:
Socialdemokratiet, Konservative, Liberal Alliance, SF og Alternativet.

Radikale, Dansk Folkeparti og Enhedslisten.

This means the request was granted. Costing Copenhagen another 7 trees in the special category "worth preserving", one of which can be saved if, and only if, the neighbors fight for it during the neighbor orientation. We will keep an eager eye on that

Asked why, the party Alternativet justified its approval by the assessment that it would be no major loss of biodiversity. To which we can only say that urban trees, and especially street trees as these, contribute with so much more than biodiversity. We will have to talk a lot more about this.

The Technical- and Environmental Board of Copenhagen, as of January 1st 2018:

Latest satellite view of Carlsberg. And this was before they felled the Climbing Forest.

January 26, 2018

Status of Carlsberg Byen destruction

The City of Copenhagen just publicized a status of the felled trees in Carlsberg Byen. If it feels like there has been a lot of talk about the Carlsberg trees, it is because the damages are beyond comprehension.

Felled trees on Carlsberg: 313
Felled trees in the special category "worth preserving" on Carlsberg as of May 2016: 130
Felled trees in the special category "worth preserving" on Carlsberg *without* permission: 25
The department have in addition changed 3 to not-worth-preserving. (???)

Link to the status: here. (Danish) 

January 17, 2018

Copenhagen vs. Frederiksberg

In the printed newsletter by the city of Copenhagen, distributed to all households, citizens are this time reminded to salt (!) the sidewalks in the winter season. They go as far as to suggest the alternative of gravel, but that's it.

Whereas on Frederiksberg they made a small animated movie, telling the citizen: never ever use salt on the sidewalks. And they proceed to tell you why, suggesting alternatives and where to find them. For the sake of trees, groundwater, pavement, cars, bikes, dog paws and the future.

"Although it can seem harmless, it is so much more harmful that one would think". This is how Frederiksberg describes salt. The same can be said about lacking information. This is just not green enough, Copenhagen! We absolutely must do better next winter. Ugh!

Copenhagen vs. Frederiksberg:

From the most recent printed newsletter of Copenhagen: Repeated reminders to use salt.

Watch the full animated movie from Frederiksberg to the citizens here (link).

And remember you can still sign to help the tormented lake chestnuts, to grant them the life prolonging care plan and spare them salting. Sign here (link).