As members of one of Denmark’s largest housing co-operatives, the occupants of one cobbled Copenhagen thoroughfare are a community in control. We meet the neighbours in Nørrebro.
Jaegersborggade, a street in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, is lined with colourful buildings stretching between two of the area’s main parks. It is home to more than 470 apartments and 50 or so businesses, which together form one of Denmark’s largest housing co-operatives. “It’s like a village within the city,” says Randa Sebelin, the venture’s chair.
Co-operatives arose in the early 1900s to provide urban Danes with affordable housing by letting tenants invest in a share of the association instead of purchasing property. The model keeps community spirit strong and every decision that affects the co-operative, from repainting a façade to fixing loose cobblestones, is discussed at an annual assembly. “We share a sense of ownership,” says Sebelin.
A member for 17 years, Sebelin knows that forging bonds requires more than yearly meetings. This summer she has overseen events including flea markets, street festivals and children’s parties. She plans to introduce a regular day when residents gather to carry out minor renovations. “It’s our street and we should all contribute,” she says.
The community’s strength relies on both residents and businesses. While would-be members must join a waiting list, businesses are chosen by the association for their potential contribution to the street. “They set the mood,” says Sebelin. The current selection involves a Michelin-starred restaurant, milliners and saké specialists, to name a few. “The community has kept families living here for generations,” says Sebelin. “We want people to stick around.”
Helene Christensen, co-founder, Framing People, “Joined Framing People’s journey to help open the shop at Jaegersborggade.”
Hursh Joshi, resident, “He left London behind and is now a convalescent painter and a writer.”
Dave Navndrup Black, resident, “Sound artist, dad and a bit of a coffee snob.”
Stine Balslev, resident, “Waste and resource planner for the city. Occasional dog-sitter.”
Jonas Bach Andersen, c0-founder, Framing People, “He started the company with the vision to make it easier to order and produce picture frames.”
Charlotte Urne, owner, Made in Congo, “A hairdresser and designer who loves mixing African fabrics with Scandinavian style.”
Jakob Emdal, owner, Kita Saké, “First tried excellent saké in New York and has been passionate about it ever since.”
Casper Madsen, founder, Flaco Design, “He handcrafts wooden illuminated sculptures.”
Anniken Sand, co-founder, Istid, “Passionate about making ice cream using liquid nitrogen.”
Maja Samsø Bastian, owner, Plant, “She loves seeing her plants grow.”
Bantu Tshibanda, chef, Ugood, “Cooks and serves Ugandan street food all day long.”
Rujo Mataruse, waitress, Ugood, “She moved here from Zimbabwe.”
Malene Glintborg, jeweller, “Loves to make little shiny things using heavy tools and fire.”
Anna-Katrine Skau Parker, assistant jeweller, “Enjoys practising as a jeweller.”
Silas Skram, hatmaker, Wilgart, “Started by asking himself, ‘Where did all the good hats go?’”
Tomáš Chovan, hatmaker, Wilgart, “Likes to create headwear with computers and scissors.”
Maria Terry, owner, My Favourite Things, “Provides the street with amazing organic beauty products.”
Laetitia Piccirillo, employee, Kolonial, “She’s your number one go-to for organic groceries.”
Maria Capion, resident, “She’s a babywear consultant who’s always giving great advice.”
Michael Brammer, resident, “Full-time artist who loves his pup, Gyda-Fenris.”
Tine Frislund Ipsen, co-owner, Karamelleriet, “Sates the street’s sweet tooth by providing traditional homemade toffee that’s originally from the island of Bornholm.”
Helena Rasmussen, shop assistant, Karamelleriet, “Takes care of the shop, from the customers to the orders and the packaging.”
Inge Vincents, ceramicist, “Specialises in handmade thinware porcelain.”
Anne Marie Stahl, resident, “Enjoys sitting outside on sunny days and meeting the neighbours.”
Rasmus Olsen, chocolatier, Ro Chokolade, “He’s all about the taste – as the products show.”
Thea Holmboe, employee, Gågrøn, “She’s studying philosophy – this is her side job.”
A native Copenhagener and full-time employee at City Hall, Randa Sebelin was elected as Jægersborggade co-operative’s chair last June. She joins a team of 13 fellow volunteers who are passionate about keeping the street an inviting place to live and do business in. “I work during the morning, then look after my kids and this amazing street in the afternoon,” she says.