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The Common 

© Emil Ryge

Amager Fælled (Amager Common) is a wilderness preserve, roughly 266 acres in size. Once on the outskirts of town, it is now surrounded by the city of Copenhagen.

Part of The Common used to be salt marshes and the coastline dashed across the area. Years of dumping waste from construction in Copenhagen has expanded the area.

In recent decades construction of an entirely new neighbourhood, a university, a six-lane highway (just to mention a few things) has chipped away at Amager Fælled.

As I write these words construction is ongoing and a neighbourhood for roughly 5.000 people is in its early stages.To prevent this, a local NGO (Amager Fælleds Venner, or Friends of the Common) has sprung up and has been fighting further construction since 2015, utilising social media, protests, lawsuits and civil disobedience direct actions. The main star in the legal battle for Amager Fælled is the Great Crested Newt, an amphibian protected by the EU. This fight turned into the main theme in the last local elections in Copenhagen.

In many ways, Amager Fælled is an example of many of the discussions to be had about the role of nature and its place in modern society. How do we keep our cities expanding without diminishing the natural environment around us? And what is ‘good’ nature vs. ‘bad’ nature? Here nature deemed of ‘low’ quality is being cleared for construction, as invasive species are being removed at great cost, while efforts are being put into improving the conditions for various rare and endangered species.

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