Spatial Citizenship in Gellerup, Denmark, 2018. © Lasse Mouritzen
Spatial Citizenship in Gellerup, Denmark, 2018. © Lasse Mouritzen

Spatial citizenship in Gellerup, Denmark

Andromeda is a gallery space inviting residents in Gellerup, Denmark, to perform expressions of cultural and spatial citizenship. The space is an inclusive free-space open for art and culture, zine production, and film screenings. On a daily basis it is run by Aysha Amin—a young resident who does not shy away from critically addressing the political agenda of urban development—and with a good reason: Gellerup is a “ghetto,” at least according to the so-called “ghettolist,” established by the Danish government to define high unemployment, percentage of people of color, and striking crime rates. Their definition lacks any considerations of the social, spatial, and cultural values of the neighborhood. Due to this political framing, Gellerup is undergoing a major urban regeneration with the purpose of attracting middle class Danish citizens.

While planners without regrets tear down parts of the modernist housing blocks, and architects build new ones in the aesthetics of “inclusive architecture,” Andromeda gives space to the expressions of the inhabitants. Through this free-space, citizens of Gellerup can reclaim their neighborhood. They can revitalize the original social housing vision of Gellerup and the ideals of social inclusion articulated in the Danish welfare planning of the 1960s and 1970s.

Kristine Samson and Aysha Amin

Aysha Amin runs Andromeda as a gallerist and curator. She is 22 years old and works within the field of architecture, documenting the architectural changes of Gellerup with collaborative communication designs and SoMe strategies. She initiated Andromeda in 2017 with former member Nushan Roshani as a reaction against the representation of the Gellerup neighborhood in art, architecture, and urban planning.

Kristine Samson is an urbanist and associate professor at Performance Design at Roskilde University Denmark. She has written on DIY urbanism, activism, architecture, and spatially performed citizenship. She has a strong interest the city as a force-field of passions and looks into diverse articulations of “the right to the city.” @Perform_city