Fantoft: a case study


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Fantoft: a case study

  1. 1. A case study Field notes from the ghetto
  2. 2. Vertical relationships Horizontal relationships They are rooted in a sense of belonging and uniqueness: they They involve a sense of equality and commonality: they are in- emphasize relation to certain exclusive (rather than inclusive clusive. In this context, people feel free and invited to make groups) such as religions, nationalities or social hierarchies. new friends and come closer to strangers. They tend to be more common in (but certainly not restricted More often found in European Erasmus students, young foreign to) adults and families, especially of non-Western extraction. students with scholarships, and children. However, in any case, a certain amount of effort is necessary to integrate anyways. Examples: religious related activities (including proselitism, whose aim is usually to get new people to join), certain holi- Examples: parties, food tastings, photographic exhibitions, days (such as independence days or new year celebrations), etc. quiz nights, flunkyball, organized hikes, some sports. It is worth noting that Fantoft, just like Rosengård, is home to a very low amount of locals (Norwegians in this case). Official sources (such as SiB) quote the percentage of Norwegians in Fantoft at around 30% of the total population but a simple walk around the buildings will show how little information is actually contained in the “official” statistics. Of content and form 2 ways to relate
  3. 3. Common grounds The observation Seemingly useless corners can function as social hotspots in Fantoft. The underground becomes the arena for Flunkyball, a drinking game first brought by German students. The analysis Partakers gather in the machinery level to avoid disturbing other residents, as well as to avoid public scrutiny. It is also cheaper and more casual (there is no dress code, you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to, etc.) than established places such as bars. The conclusion As much as public spaces are free to all (at least in principle), they should offer the chance for anonimacy and flexible use terms. Herrgården in Rosengård is a prime example of this: it has plenty of public space, but it is all directly connected (one can say “attached”) to the windows of the apart- ments, vanishing the theoretical indepen- dence of public life (when compared to fam- ily life, where one is subject to the house and parents’ rules). The laundry The underground Fantoft Klubb
  4. 4. Technology: a fashion victim Technology can be misleading. When new inventions come out, people can overestimate their real importance or consequences. Over-reliance on technology, therefore, is a dangerous issue. Now more than ever, new products flood the market permanently in a process that constantly reduces its own validity: the more gizmos come out, the less time they are good for anything. The public pay-phones (pictured) and phone booths in Fantoft show a possible end for past technological wonders: nowadays they are used very seldom, or not at all (for example, this phone was isolated by snow the whole winter, probably because it is all but useless anyways). The lesson To be flexible and not overly optimistic when it comes to technology. Some things will probably always be done by hand.
  5. 5. 1 2 1 - Childhood’s End In Fantoft as in Rosengård, it’s great to be a child. One day you become a teenager and the lack of functional adaptability in the neighborhood shows you the way out of your own community. 2 - Bäst i test Like in many other European communities, there will always be place (and need) for a kebab guy. Can other similarly small businesses follow? 3 - The Monopoly Fantoft’s commercial spectrum is very narrow. If you don’t like Safari’s products, you’re free to walk the 2km road to the next closest business. This reduces competition and availability for the residents. Rosengård, with its 22.000 inhabitants, experiences a similar phenomenon: a major shopping spot swallowed most of the other shops. Is there a market for more commerce? 3
  6. 6. Though costly, wasteful and potentially dangerous, prank fire alarms are great chances to meet neighbours. Undertaking activi- ties as part of a larger community can prove an effective method of establishing and reinforcing social networks.
  7. 7. A makeshift message board Empty walls are often used as 2-way communication channels. On them, one can find love messages, rooms to rent during the summer, inside jokes, cheap cigarettes, hair stylists, African braid-making services, train tickets to Oslo (or Bodø, as I once saw), bicycles and ovens for sale, and a myriad of other things. In lack of formal communication channels, people will often trade services or take advertising campaigns in their own hands, and yes, it’s uncensored.
  8. 8. Fantoft is a machine to sleep in: many years ago, someone sat down at the drawing board, ruler in hand, and decided that we would have to live in blocks and follow these behaviours. It is like living in a diagram. It can be a very happy place to be, or a desert to wander in. When I am in Fantoft, I see mountains and trees everywhere... I must be in Norway! But there are no Norwegians in sight... This is place is a limbo: it is Scandinavia, but it isn’t. It’s never a nice feeling when people give you a pity look for living there. Og jeg kan ikke prøve å snakke norsk her!