We are happy to announce the results of the Neighbourhoods for Generations competition. Congratulations to the four winners and the ten honourable mentions!
In December 2022 we launched the ideas competition with great anticipation. The competition invited everyone from architects to interaction designers to anthropologists to explore how different generations will live amongst each other in the future.
We are proud that 78 teams and individuals submitted their creative ideas, and we would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to their entries.
It is with great pleasure that we through this jury statement can reveal the winners.
The National Building Fund is looking forward to collaborating with the winners, Høje Gladsaxe and Axelborg, and to support the further development and exhibit the winning ideas in Copenhagen.
Chief Operating Officer, The National Building Fund
Meet the Nordic jury
All the 78 entries, from small interventions to large-scale strategies, were reviewed by the jury. With eight members from the Nordic countries, the jury brings interdisciplinary perspectives within urban planning, design thinking, social sustainability, citizen engagement, affordable housing, collaboration and partnerships, community building, and more.
Advisors to the jury
- Jesper Loose - Director, Arbejdernes Boligselskab i Gladsaxe
- Steen Rosvang Andersen - Construction Consultant, ALBO
- Anita Pedersen - Urban Strategist, Team Manager at The National Building Fund
- Liselott Stenfeldt - Director, Gehl
- Astrid Marie Astrupgaard - Urban Sociologist, Gehl
- Anne-Mette Bølling - Architect Maa, Owner Arkitektkonkurrencerdk ApS
The concept of neighbourhoods, with its intuitive mix of physical and social aspirations, has had a revival being the scale and horizon for addressing urgent societal issues. For anybody interested in the future of neighbourhoods, the competition entries for Neighbourhoods for Generations offer a rich source for inspiration and reflection. The focus of intergenerational meetings only underscores the vast potential for improving the social and physical infrastructures in our built environment.
Generally speaking we see an interest in both the tangible (hardware) and more intangible (software) aspects that make up neighbourhoods. Many entries explore large-scale replanning of the residential areas, proposing a variety of approaches and interventions. On the medium scale, we see many transformations, reprogramming, and add-ons to existing buildings. Other ideas address urgent issues like food production, circularity, and sharing at a neighbourhood scale - working both bottom up and top down. The most interesting entries and ideas are the ones bridging these categories.
Looking at the totality of the entries, the following selection of themes comes to the fore:
Strategies for densification and diversification
A series of strategies for densification and diversification introduce new building volumes and programmes in the relatively monofunctional neighbourhoods. Some ideas (such as 29847 and 70677) offer elaborated urban analysis and conceptual thinking, including interesting residential concepts, and ownership models. Other entries (including 13365, 14433, 25662, 35597, 36162, 49011, 59587, 60702, 79968, and 80039) promote densification in different scales. While some demonstrate an understanding of urban form, connections, and spatial hierarchies, others focus more on the social fabric and programme interventions. Though not all equally precise, the entries demonstrate an urge to rethink both the forms and functions of the modernist housing schemes. This also underscores the importance of fundamental urban planning quality for supporting intergenerational communities.
Repurposing and transformation
Repurposing and transformation plays the key role in a series of projects (including 10029, 61992, 62971, and 95181). Offering new spaces for local businesses, playing, informal meetings, workshops, etcetera plays an important role in these ideas. Repurposing and transformation is an important but also challenging theme. Many of the ideas would benefit from exploring questions of organisation, business models, and operation on a conceptual level. The question: Who will breathe life into - and maintain - the new functions is essential for making the ideas last over time.
Excuses to meet and socialise
A recurring theme in many entries is excuses to meet and socialise (including entry 22272), Theatre of excuses, that directly puts the excuse to the front (but also entries 37531, 43171, 44151, 45214, 79899, and 98532). While some ideas appear more symbolic, others convince in mapping and proposing interventions that indeed make it more likely that people will meet across generations.
Cooking and eating together
The most compelling ideas relate to everyday activities and needs, including cooking and eating together. The project Feed-back (35337) shows a convincing model for testing and developing food activities and sharing of culture around food, (as do 61342 and 40349). Contemporary food production, consumption, and waste is a major societal challenge, and it is good to see ideas that take this seriously.
Recycling and repairing
Some ideas (including 20348, 43171, 61734, and 93148) revolve around the potential in recycling and repairing on a neighbourhood scale. We appreciate the general idea and the potential in more local practices supporting reuse, recycling, and repairing. However, to build capacity and scale, we believe it is necessary to include collaborations with municipalities, companies, and organisations.
Ground floor programs and indoor/outdoor connections
The importance of ground floor programs and indoor/outdoor connections is being explored by several projects (including 37531, 81062, 90021, and 91714) and is generally present in many projects. What happens on the ground floor simply matters a great deal to our perception of a place, because this is where people are and most easily can come together – especially across generations. This is done most convincingly where more resources than just the residents are put into play - as for example in entry 81062 and 91714 that explore how mixing institutions into the neighbourhood can add value for all parties involved.
Green connections and biodiversity
Ideas about green connections and biodiversity are being explored by some projects (including 21765, 42709, and 98532). The ideas touch upon the link between nature and the intergenerational neighbourhood. We hope that this very urgent theme will be further pursued by more, as the integration of nature in urban communities can play a central role in creating sustainable and intergenerational neighbourhoods for the future.
It’s all about the mix
Many of the ideas are generally based on mobilising bottom up resources - in organising shared food production, dinners, recycling stations, sports activities, etcetera. While we have great sympathy for these ambitions and believe that it is indeed possible to build engagement and capabilities in a community, we are sceptical towards the sustainability of putting all the neighbourhood eggs in the basket of volunteers. We welcome more systems-oriented perspectives, that include institutional actors, the municipality, private businesses as well as civil society in the mix. From our perspective, this broader approach is essential to ensure better intergenerational neighbourhoods.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the point is that we need both: the engagement and resources that come from the communities as well as the resources found in public and private organisations. Without investment in - and creative development of - public transport, social infrastructure, workplaces, and healthcare, chances are that neighbourhoods will wither rather than blossom. It takes many actors to do a good neighbourhood tango - and notably the ability to knit people and resources together. This is what the four winners of the Neighbourhoods for Generations competition do, each in their own way.
27412 Thinking Outside the B(l)ox
Thinking Outside the B(l)ox is an experiment-driven process model that aims to make the development of neighbourhoods more engaging and empowering for both residents and businesses. At the heart of the idea is a strategy for unlocking the regulatory constraints on community-led enterprise and a method that involves citizens and local actors through temporary test projects. Thinking Outside the B(l)ox thus connects participatory models for matchmaking across interests and generations with explorations of governance issues. It also offers a convincing process design for much needed social and physical experiments in the non-profit housing sector. This is key to allowing housing associations to add more diverse functions, notably community-led commercial programs, that can help move a neighbourhood for generations forward.
Thinking Outside the B(l)ox also includes an idea for a pilot project around local food production and an urban farming restaurant. Though a good case, the jury is less convinced by the placement on a rooftop. It seems more sound to locate such a social food function closer to the everyday flow of people - on the ground, where other activities have wisely been placed. Nonetheless the framework of the idea is strong and the jury is happy to announce it as one of the four winners.
29847 The #ABC Strategy
The #ABC Strategy combines a variety of approaches and tools aimed at ensuring a genuinely intergenerational neighbourhood with Høje Gladsaxe as a case inspiration. The idea includes A) an urbanistic analysis and series of urban intervention that opens up the neighbourhood and connects it to the surroundings. B) a densification strategy offering a range of new housing typologies and a model for allowing for more diverse people to stay in the area. This concept is presented as a convincing 'housing career' where new housing can help free up larger apartments for families. Finally, the project includes C) an idea of gathering associations and functions across generations around the local commercial centre.
We find the overall analysis and conceptual approach very precise and convincing, not least the framework for a housing career which is very needed in the non-profit housing sector. We are less convinced about the suggested urban form, situation plan, and architectural expression in relation to the existing buildings, but trust that specific designs will be explored at a later development stage. All in all The #ABC strategy shows the substantial potential in remixing our urban fabric, and notably, making it easier to live together across generations. This is why the jury has chosen the entry as one of the four winners.
Feed-Back proposes to consider urban development and food production as integral practices. The entry presents a series of interventions aiming at activating communities to produce their own food, upcycle their waste, and generally orchestrate community activities around food. To get the process going, the entry proposes a start-up team that helps residents understand, analyse, and modify their food systems. This is to take place at a “feedback circus” - a space to meet, plan, collaborate, and dine across generations.
The wordplay suggested in the title Feed-Back, pointing to both how humans feed and the importance of feedback in such an ambitious transformation process, is neatly intertwined in the idea. The core of the idea is the mapping of local resources and engagement of citizens. While this is sympathetic, we believe more partners must be included to lift the project to its full potential. The holistic and hands-on approach to the urgent societal challenges of food production, and mental and physical health deserves to be pursued on both a local and more systemic level. The jury has therefore chosen this proposal as one of the four winners.
81062 Nursing the Care
Nursing the Care places the ecology of health at the heart of neighbourhoods as it aims to adapt our urban environments to our ageing society. The proposal shows how we can interweave residential neighbourhoods and care functions that too often are isolated far from public life. By relocating key health programs, including services for the elderly, in the everyday built environment, the aspiration is to reconnect care and community. The entry proposes intergenerational, shared living with active ground floor, meeting places, and activities. The entry also includes easier access to located affordable housing for nurses and other care-takers, hoping to minimise commuting and maximise community quality.
There are many good reasons to integrate institutions and practices of care better in the neighbourhood - to the benefit of public health, community resources, and quality of life for seniors and beyond. Connecting the political and institutional questions regarding health care with qualified urbanism, Nursing the Care is an inspiration to radically rethink the spatial organisation of our institutions, and the social organisation of our neighbourhoods - both equally interesting and urgent! But radical in its scope, the entry is convincing in both its conceptual and practical framework. The jury has therefore chosen this entry as one of the four winners.
13365 Høje GLADE!saxe – A Neighbourhood in Balance
Høje GLADE!saxe aims to intensify and diversify the spaces between the large-scale blocks in Høje Gladsaxe. The idea is to offer various housing typologies that can attract people of different ages, incomes and family structures as well as occasions for residents to meet and share their knowledge in new community kitchens, workshops, workspaces, indoor playgrounds, and communal greenhouses.
The jury appreciated the densification ambitions of the entry as well as the sketched scenario for additional housing and shared activity spaces between and around the blocks of Høje Gladsaxe. The human scale, diverse activities, and warm materiality in the design is generally convincing. Should the entry be pushed further, it would be relevant to see how the shared functions could be developed together with the community and to explore the relation to the urban context more in depth.
14433 The Frontyards of Høje Gladsaxe
To create space for more interactions between residents, The Frontyards of Høje Gladsaxe propose to transform existing parking garages into active courtyards. In the new front yards, redesigned public and semi-public spaces are meant to provide places for informal gatherings, and retrofitted garages should be rented out to local businesses, workshops, hobbies, clubs, or community activities.
The idea of adding human-scale buildings to the area, re-using the garages and rethinking the use of parking and streetscapes is appealing to the jury. Furthermore, the idea is richly narrated and illustrated. To make the idea rooted in the neighbourhood of Høje Gladsaxe however, it would be necessary to understand how the existing garages are currently used - and carve out a process to turn their transformation into reality together with the community.
22272 Neighbourhood of Excuses
Neighbourhood of Excuses explores the fundamental catalyst for social interactions in a neighbourhood. The entry literally provides excuses for residents to connect around what they call the "Theatre of Excuses” - an urban installation of opportunities and excuses to meet. The idea is to develop an ongoing programme with activities in the theatre and have a host - ‘Mr. Excuse-me’ - to give information and enable connections.
The entry precisely corners what is crucial to meetings across boundaries - generational or otherwise: good excuses. Being well narrated and visualised, the entry makes you think about what makes a good excuse in the neighbourhood to come together. The Theatre of Excuses could be a good beginning in a neighbourhood transformation. To move forward, the jury believes that valid excuses are more likely to be found in everyday activities and needs in people’s lives. But both the theatre’s conceptual and concrete manifestation testify to genuine social ambition and capability in the design.
40607 Untold Stories – Creating Room for Conversation
Untold Stories is based on the insight that informal meetings often take place on the way to or from the parking lot, by the mailbox, by the entrance, or in the stairwells. What is missing are attractive meeting points for the micro-community. The entry wants to add places for talking and listening to your neighbours such as an archway and a pavilion for storytelling events, neighbourhood choirs, or concerts.
Understanding physical space through sounds is a relevant and perhaps undervalued dimension of a good neighbourhood for all generations. As the entry points out, it is especially important for the older people that might suffer from hearing loss or dementia. Though pointing out an important dimension of the neighbourhood, the entry needs further development about how to engage and maintain engagement in the project over time. It would be great to see more projects that can address the barriers for conversations and story telling between neighbours and generations.
43171 The Circular Play Station
The Circular Play Station sets out to provide children a free space to create, imagine, and socialise through play under the supervision of senior citizens from the community. The goal of this bottom-up initiative is to improve community building through creative projects centred around repairing and building. As a place, the Play Station can take various forms - a shed in a garden, a pavilion, or an empty ground floor space. It can be used for a wide range of activities such as crafts, carpentry, or electronics repair. Inspired by the grandfather of experimental playgrounds of the 60ies and 70ies, C.Th. Sørensen, the project puts playful co-creation at the heart of the community.
The jury appreciates the idea’s knitting together of play and repair culture as well as the core narrative of the idea. It would be great to see this type of circular play stations popping up in residential areas around the world! To realise the admirable ambitions in the idea, the jury recommends connecting with actors such as the municipality, schools, and recycling stations.
49011 5g. Gladsaxe for Generations
Gladsaxe for Generations proposes to add new flexible spaces to the existing buildings to invite people of all generations to meet, share, and interact. The concept centres around selected interventions in the physical environment: Garages, gables, gardens, and gazebos. Existing garages are turned into rooms for economical, collective, and collaborative activities. New gables add flexible space to the residential function and vertical connections. Gardens transform parking lots into green public spaces, and rooftop gardens offer new semi-public spaces.
The add-on idea is fundamentally sound and the visual material provided suggests elegant, simple types of interventions that demonstrate a respect for the existing architecture of Høje Gladsaxe. To blossom as an idea, the entry would benefit from more precision on which interventions are the most important, as well as a model for how to orchestrate the activities in the new functions.
61342 Look Who's Coming to Dinner
Look Who’s Coming To Dinner aspires to strengthen the intergenerational neighbourhood through shared experiences around food and dining. The idea of the communal table, pantry, and kitchen are introduced as elements around which the community can orchestrate social events, share food, knowledge, and come together. These elements are meant to extend the act of making and sharing food with family, guests, or strangers to support community hospitality. The elements are to be designed in dialogue with the residents.
The jury appreciates how the idea explores how food and food culture can support awareness and healthier eating and living habits. Sharing (the making of) dinners and food via pantries can also help reduce both food waste and costs for residents. To boost the idea, it would be interesting to explore how neighbourhood residents could collaborate with other players such as grocery stores, local farmers, schools, and others.
Imagine… sees non-profit housing as a key to the green transition of our neighbourhoods and cities, and offers a rich catalogue of physical, organisational and social interventions. The proposal is both visionary and specific, strategic, and physical. It aspires nothing less than to form the attractive future of neighbourhoods based on ideas on mixed housing, life between the blocks, residents' democracy, an urban strategic outlook and, finally, a strategic development plan for The National Building Fund.
An impressively comprehensive proposal, Imagine… offers much food for thought. It is both an ambitious mindset for social and environmental change in our built environment and a toolbox that can be used as a palette of possible actions when a neighbourhood is developed. Most interventions - including the sketched densification concept in Høje Gladsaxe - are inspiring, and convincing. To move forward, the entry would benefit from prioritising amongst the interventions and tools. The jury would be excited to see this work focused and unfolded.
78612 Stomping Ground
Stomping Ground is an urban programming strategy meant to strengthen social infrastructure using existing physical environments. It is essentially a concept for outdoor physical exercise classes that engage local residents to run classes for other residents. The proposal aspires to support interaction by providing a platform for mutual interests within and beyond exercise.
The jury appreciates the idea of activating existing infrastructure and the focus on shared physical and social activity across generations. There is substantial potential in doing more social and physical activity using what we have, where we are. To scale the potential impact of the idea, the jury recommends to include other stakeholders such as public and private health services, local sports associations, workplaces, and the like.
Sustainabank is an idea for an alternative bank concept based on ’community credit’ between citizens in a neighbourhood. As a value-exchange platform for urban communities it is meant to enable members to contribute and receive resources from others. The goal is to make local resources more visible and accessible to people and thus contribute to lifting the community at large.
The idea of introducing alternative currencies - sometimes referred to as timebanks - is not necessarily new, but it is both relevant and interesting to explore as a way of connecting and boosting community resources. The jury appreciates the conceptual framework and the empathetic storytelling in the project and believes that the mobilisation of local resources is urgent to lift neighbourhoods for generations.
29 Jun 2023 - 31 Oct 2023
Open 24 hours a day
Otto Busses Vej 29A