Written by Bergen Jome and Danielle Baillargeon Photography by Daphne Nietfeld
This is a story in the Mapping the Ghetto in Paradise series.
Our second photo story aims to highlight the outside and inside perspectives of the Danish ghettos. By capturing the initial reactions of fellow classmates upon learning of the Danish Ghetto List and what a typical ghetto neighborhood would look like, we can expand this story further. While also featuring perspectives of Roskilde University students who have experience living in one of Denmark’s ghettos, we are able to demonstrate different insights of what it is like to live in a Danish ghetto or to know of their existence.
The train stops in Høje Taastrup and the walk to Taastrupgaard takes about twenty minutes. Upon entering the neighborhood, you can see a billboard advertisement for a new apartment complex full of amenities coming soon and below a markered sentence translated to “Crush the ghetto law!” with a hammer and sickle drawn. You are entering a seemingly well-kept, clean, quiet ghetto that is ripe for demolition. Long buildings of apartments stretch for a whole city block and balconies are draped with sunflowers, greenery, and the occasional photo tapestry– possibly resembling the residents of the district. For many moments at a time, it is hard to remember where you are when walking about between the buildings. There is no noise from the street and a few giggling children on run bikes come down the sidewalk with parents and school backpacks in tow.
“I know people who talk about these places in such a bad way. It’s weird to see pictures of these places. I’ve never actually been inside one of these neighborhoods. I’m surprised that they look so nice– my friends say that they’re just so awful.”
What does the word ‘ghetto’ mean to you?
“A dirty place that I wouldn’t want to live in. That’s a ghetto to me.”
Does this photo look like a ghetto to you?
“No. This looks nothing like a ghetto. Not the ghettos that I’ve seen before.”
“I grew up in one of these neighborhoods. I used to not talk about it, but now I’ll bring it up. I’m not ashamed. You can find trouble anywhere. It wasn’t a bad place.”
“I think I would be a bit interested [in visiting a Ghetto] because a lot of times they get a negative name, but most of the time they are not that bad… but, I would not feel that comfortable being there.”
– Marise O.
“Ghetto is a place that signifies something to everyone. What it signifies to each person is the bigger question. Me? I’m thinking these photos show a place I wouldn’t mind to live.”
– Carl L.
About the Authors
Bergen Jome is from the United States and holds a bachelors in history and public affairs. She is currently studying a masters in Nordic Urban Planning Studies at Roskilde University.
Danielle Baillargeon is Canadian and recently graduated from her Bachelor’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University. She is currently studying her Nordic Urban Planning Master’s at RUC.