Denmark’s Utopian Garden City Built Entirely in Circles: See Astounding Aerial Views of Brøndby Haveby

For decades, urban plan­ners around the world have looked to the Dan­ish cap­i­tal of Copen­hagen, with its low-rise high den­si­ty and unpar­al­leled cul­ture of every­day cycling, as an exam­ple of how to design a city. But what of the Dan­ish track record in design­ing sub­urbs? Recent­ly, a pho­tog­ra­ph­er by the name of Hen­ry Do brought the world’s atten­tion to one such set­tle­ment, Brønd­by Have­by or Gar­den City, with a series of aer­i­al pho­tographs post­ed to Insta­gram. “Unre­al how my recent images from here went crazy viral,” Do writes in the cap­tion of a fol­low-up drone video — “unre­al” being just the word some have used to describe the place itself, com­posed as it is entire­ly out of cir­cles.

Built in 1964 to the design of “genius land­scape archi­tect Erik Mygind,” Brønd­by Have­by mim­ics “the tra­di­tion­al pat­terns of the 18th cen­tu­ry Dan­ish vil­lages, where peo­ple would use the mid­dle as a focal point for hang­ing out, min­gle and social inter­change between neigh­bors.”

This unusu­al form, more of which you can see in Do’s drone pho­tos at Lone­ly Plan­et, suits the long-estab­lished Dan­ish cab­in cul­ture, accord­ing to which every city-dwelling Dane with the means buys a small­er sec­ond home in the coun­try­side as a retreat. (Though the hous­es in Brønd­by Have­by are owned, the gar­dens are rent­ed, and local zon­ing laws pre­vent any­one from occu­py­ing their prop­er­ties for more than six months out of the year.)

Wher­ev­er it is, this cab­in must be made hyggelige, an adjec­tive often trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish as “cozy” and that, in recent years, has become a byword for the love of small-scale con­tent­ment that sets Den­mark apart. (Not every­body is sold on the con­cept: “With its relent­less dri­ve towards the mid­dle ground and its depen­dence on keep­ing things light and breezy,” writes British Den­mark expat Michael Booth, “hygge does get a bit bor­ing some­times.”) As Lenni Mad­sen, a Dan­ish Quo­ra user with a Brønd­by Have­by house in the fam­i­ly, puts it, “Imag­ine your aver­age small-time com­mu­ni­ty, where every­one knows every­one else, you see each oth­er across the hedge, per­haps shar­ing a beer or hav­ing cof­fee at each oth­ers’ hous­es.”

This seems a far cry from the alien­ation and deprav­i­ty of the stan­dard sub­ur­ban cul-de-sac, at least as por­trayed in Amer­i­can pop­u­lar myth. And it isn’t hard to see the appeal for aver­age urban­ites, espe­cial­ly those look­ing to spend their gen­er­ous vaca­tion time in as dif­fer­ent an envi­ron­ment as pos­si­ble with­out hav­ing to go far. (Home­own­ers must already have a pri­ma­ry res­i­dence with­in 20 kilo­me­ters, which includes the city of Copen­hagen.) The aston­ished reac­tions on social media would sug­gest that most of us have nev­er seen a place like this before. But for the Danes, it’s just anoth­er chap­ter in their civ­i­liza­tion­al pur­suit of all that is hyggelige.

via Messy Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Frank Lloyd Wright Designs an Urban Utopia: See His Hand-Drawn Sketch­es of Broad­acre City (1932)

The Medieval City Plan Gen­er­a­tor: A Fun Way to Cre­ate Your Own Imag­i­nary Medieval Cities

Japan­ese Design­er Cre­ates Incred­i­bly Detailed & Real­is­tic Maps of a City That Doesn’t Exist

IKEA Dig­i­tizes & Puts Online 70 Years of Its Cat­a­logs: Explore the Designs of the Swedish Fur­ni­ture Giant

In Search of Lud­wig Wittgenstein’s Seclud­ed Hut in Nor­way: A Short Trav­el Film

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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