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Christiania's research relevance
Why is Christiania a relevant and important field of interest for researchers and artists? Here is outlined a few themes we consider as central points of interest.
CA in a cultural/historical context
Christiania is in itself an important area of research as part of Denmark’s cultural history: Further insight into CA is therefore of huge value to Danish society. Christiania poses questions of what Denmark’s cultural memory is and how it should be formed. Such questions could be extended to an international context.
CA as a social experiment
Christiania as a so-called “social experiment” contains a huge undefined potential research area, that needs to be documented, communicated and understood. The evaluations, conclusions, knowledge and learning that have not yet been drawn from this experiment and its 33 years of interaction with surrounding society, can and should be documented. Insights and experience gained from experiments into organisation, housing and living models, democratic processes and structures, normalisation and innovation can – both in Christiania as well as in public and private contexts – become a source for important reflection and innovation.
CA as an extension/interacting agent in society
The problematic relationship between Christiania, the Danish government and the rest of society calls for an improvement in how Christiania is communicated and understood by the rest of society: More in depth research may widen the urban, security and socio-political discussions that CA are part of, and contribute to a wider democratic debate. A more informed documentation, evaluation and communication of Christiania’s ambivalences, such as: ”Can health risks from living in old houses be diminished by the health-bringing ability to avoid social misery in outside society?” ”Is self-government the means to freedom to grow or freedom to self-destruct?” ”Is Christiania an expense or a profitable investment for the Danish state?” – could replace moral mythmaking and “objectification” of government as well as of Christiania.
CA as an alternative urban space
The ability of city administration to understand the importance of the unique and the irrational in the urban environment, is central to Christiania’s problem. Christiania is one of the most unique contemporary examples of an extraordinary city space, and is as such relevant in the greater international context of urban politics. Christiania provides a different kind of city space where new ideas can be tested and explored, where learning can take place in a parallel reality and where it doesn’t hurt so much to fall. As such Christiania creates a feeling of space, social diversity, and the desire to take on responsibility and be part of the community. Christiania fulfils as such the role of waste bucket, simulator – as well as catalyst for the surrounding society (from Supertanker and Planets Christiania Conference).
CA as a community in development
Research may contribute to the internal development of Christiania. CA needs to reflect properly on what can be learnt from previous failures and successes. Christiania is currently facing an as yet unknown future, change of identity and new challenges - and is in need of input, knowledge and critique of the kind that generate clear thinking about progress, self-awareness and quality.
The complexity of CA is impossible to describe – an aspect that makes it particularly interesting from a research perspective. There can and should be asked serious questions to technical, cultural, health related and social conditions in Christiania, and a real understanding and wider communication of Christiania’s unique complexity should be sought.
CA as a research area can offer deeply interesting studies of unique individuals, alternative ways of living, social and cultural processes, creativity, art and technical innovations. The methods of researchers and artists may offer the kinds of tools needed in order to reflect on the best way forward for CA and the surrounding society.