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The Floating Community is a festival-like book about a spontaneously evolved and self-organized community, known as both the Harbor of Peace and the Pirate Harbor, located in the central parts of Copenhagen, next to Christiania. Here, a number of diverse people, who don’t fit into the rigid modern city, have created their own dwellings on the water.
The floating community is constantly evolving as the result of some kind of collective creativity. It embodies a disorder, which the urban sociologist Richard Sennett has said is essential for our development as human beings, and which is what the city is supposed to offer.
The floating community share many characteristics with the sea-nomadic cultures that once existed throughout the world, who attempted to live in harmony with nature, but were eliminated by modern western culture, which attempts to control nature and other cultures.
The struggle with the authorities about the right to live a different life in the city is not only about access to urban resources, but, as the urban theorist David Harvey has pointed out, about the right to change the city – and thereby ourselves.
The book is based on 3 years of action research on site and created in close collaboration with current and former residents. It includes illustrations of the art (art brut) they create and the way they live (off-grid), small permaculture experiments and simple low-tech solutions, the mapping of its development, as well as studies of other nomadic cultures around the world.
The floating community constitutes a case study for the theory of development urbanism.
About the author
Henrik Valeur is an independent architect-urbanist working with environment/climate questions and social issues in cities. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, India: the Urban Transition – a Case Study of Development Urbanism (The Architectural Publisher B, 2014), which was based on several years of research, practice and teaching in India. As the curator of the Danish contribution to the Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2006 he conceived and orchestrated the project CO-EVOLUTION: Danish/Chinese Collaboration on Sustainable Urban Development in China (which was awarded the Golden Lion for “creativity, intelligence, and generosity”), and, as leader of UiD, he was involved in the planning of Musicon, a new urban district in the city of Roskilde (which garnered the Danish Urban Planning Award 2012 for “exceptionally creative planning”).