URBAN RIGGER gets a visit from the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen
On Monday, the 15th of June, URBAN RIGGER had the pleasure of hosting a visit from the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Mr. Frank Jensen. The Mayor was joined by the founder of BIG Architects Mr. Bjarke Ingels, and the Managing Director of BIG, Ms. Sheela Søgård. Bjarke Ingels explained the ideas and visions behind URBAN RIGGER’s floating sustainable village.
The delegation paid a visit to some of the residents to learn what it is like to live in the URBAN RIGGER community, and to see how creatively they had organized themselves in their apartments, in the beautiful surroundings at Refshaleøen; the former B&W shipyard in Copenhagen.
The meeting was concluded in the TV room in the common area of one of the Riggers, where the Executive Chairman of URBAN RIGGER, Mr. Lars Funding, presented our ambitions and plans for creating floating sustainable villages in Denmark and around the world, thereby assisting in solving a global need for affordable housing.
Many cities around the world need to find sustainable ways to utilize former industrial harbour areas. The fact that URBAN RIGGER is mobile and only takes a couple of years to produce provides a unique opportunity to use the cities’ unused locations, and even to do so during the long transitional periods, from when industry moves out and before infrastructure and land based architecture is ready to receive new residents. URBAN RIGGER offers a great potential for cities, creating life, identity, and culture and has the opportunity to move on to a new location later.
Community in the time of corona
Denmark is opening up the society after months of corona lockdown. For some it might seem like finally waking from a nightmare, others might almost feel a bit guilty about having appreciated the strange times and the break from normal routines. Regardless of how the global pandemic has affected our own everyday life and economy so far, there is no doubt that corona has and will continue to affect our lives for time to come.
At URBAN RIGGER we had just welcomed our newest residents when the pandemic closed borders, cancelled classes or moved them online and forced people to stay at home. Some tenants left with short notice before their countries closed and flights were cancelled. Others had just arrived in Denmark without knowing anybody and had to stay home and follow classes online with little possibility of socialising.
The events and social activities we had prepared in order to bring people together and encourage a vibrant and welcoming URBAN RIGGER community had to be cancelled or postponed in order to comply with health authorities’ recommendations.
Luckily we have a closed online community where we could reach our tenants with recent updates on the situation, invite them to reach out, encourage them to present themselves, greet each other welcome or goodbye, and help each other out with practical questions and needs.
While we started out worrying about our tenants, their well-being and how they would overcome the experience of being isolated at home – for many of them in a country far away from family and friends, we soon realized that the communities of our floating islands thrived and developed. With everybody spending all their time at home on their rigger or in the immediate surroundings, jogging, fishing, studying in the common room, building furniture for the rooftop in the courtyard, painting in the basement, cooking, looking out of the windows or enjoying sunsets from the different rooftops, new connections were made and people had plenty of time to discover who were their neighbours.
”I just feel so lucky that I spend these strange weeks here on the water. When you feel fed up with online classes and zoom meetings and you can’t really tell Saturdays from Mondays anymore, jumping in the harbour or just looking
at the ships and swans and the water gives you a feeling of freedom and energy which is rare these days.”
”I lived in Denmark for three years before moving to the URBAN RIGGERs.
I moved here in the autumn, and it is like a different Denmark. People here are really friendly and helpful.
These days where we all have to stay at home, it is so nice to be surrounded by kind neighbours.”
After the first weeks, when it seemed certain that people who had stayed in quarantine for weeks would not carry the virus, the tenants started socialising in the safe small Rigger-families. There were birthday celebrations, shared dinners, sunset drinks, painting and carpentry workshops.
When society allowed people to start moving around and meeting other people again, the URBAN RIGGER community and the family feeling had grown strong, solid, warm and welcoming. Even if there is absolutely nothing positive about a global pandemic, its consequences for our floating village community have proven the value of local communities and even strengthened them.
We never doubted the value of URBAN RIGGER LIFE, but the recent events and current situation have made it even clearer to us what is unique and valuable about living on an URBAN RIGGER.
– Natural light, fresh air and sea view is calming and reduces stress.
– Privacy is important – especially when you need to stay at home 24/7, you need to have a room of your own.
– A strong local community is equally important for well-being. When you stay at home and need to maintain a physical distance, knowing and trusting your neighbours reduces loneliness and anxiety.
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