By Richard Ammon
January 10, 2011

Copenhagen, Denmark
The first thing I notice are the tall stacks of apartments–dozens of buildings similar in design, height, facade, graffiti-scarred exterior doors–thousands of apartments neatly built on top of one another. Some have views of the local park, most look out onto windows of other apartments, row upon row.

It feels like cage living even though there is freedom to move; few do because living here in this working-class neighborhood is what they can afford and convenient to the city center.

Here there are also small neighborhood stores, cafes, a butcher shop, an ethnic restaurant, food markets to supply the locals with daily bread and veggies, places to park bikes and bus lines streaming to work in the city. The daily routine for the employed or home-maker is waking up, breakfast, out to work or food shop, walk the baby in a carriage, take the dog for a walk on a leash, clean house, work at the business office, back home for dinner (when people can see into many windows at others’ domestic order).

As generally organized and tidy, quiet and friendly as things appear I also notice how diverse is the neighborhood with a mix of younger scraggly unemployed males, Middle Eastern women under headscarves, middle class Danes with kids and big strollers, wobbly oldsters with walkers, trendy twenty-somethings in black, some LGBT couples, Muslim-owned small-variety-shop keepers, white Lutherans and a Danish Thai soup place near a Vietnamese eatery.

A person acclimates to his or her own life, circumscribed by work, relationships, dwelling, neighborhood, money, political/social system. We go to school, or not, get a job that suits us, more or less, have kids, ready or not, and develop a daily routine, for the most part, that provides us with an acceptable level of comfort or ennui.