A woman stands on the terrace of an apartment in Mjølnerparken, Denmark’s oldest ghetto, located in the inner north of Copenhagen. The rows of satellite dishes are synonymous with the area.
Guests at an engagement party sit in a yard in a community house within Mjølnerparken. A large number of the residents are of North African descent.
Amnah Hamad (L), who is from Palestine and has lived in Denmark for 30 years, learns to speak Danish from teacher Anni Olsen. Anni is part of a group of seniors who volunteer to teach immigrants to Denmark how to speak Danish.
Hijabs sit on a shelf for sale in a store located in Nørrebro, the district that Mjølnerparken is located in. Nørrebro is known in Denmark for its ethnic diversity and is sometimes referred to as Little Arabia amongst locals.
Police patrol the area routinely. A spate of gang violence arose in Mjølnerparken in the end of 2017, resulting in the death of a gang member. Much of Mjølnerparken’s current reputation is now associated with gang activity, further damaging the area’s already poor reputation amongst the Danish population.
John Khan, a resident of Mjolnerparken since 2015, takes a phone call in the bicycle store he owns and operates. Born in Pakistan, Mr. Khan has a masters in human rights law but has been unable to find work in his field. Mr Khan opened the bike store in 2017, he works there six days a week.
Sara and Tounes participate in a zumba class. The class is taught by volunteers and is taught in a women’s only environment.
Children play in a recently redeveloped park that borders Mjolnerparken’s north side. The area was formerly a train yard, one of two that bordered the area, resulting in an isolation from surrounding neighborhoods. An aim of the redevelopment was to promote interaction between residents of Mjolnerparken, it’s neighbors and their children.
Hussein, from Pakistan, studies his PhD in teaching and learning in his apartment in Mjolnerparken. He explained his love for living in the area but like many, once he completes his studies has contemplated moving. There is a belief amongst many residents that having a Mjolnerparken address on job applications will negatively affect your chances of success.
Women sit together in Cafe Nora, an initiative created by Mjolnerparken’s governing body, which encouraged a social scene amongst women in the ghetto area. The group has access to lunches, coffee, Danish lessons and exercise classes.
A person walks through Superkilen, a park that runs along Mjolnerparken’s south side. Also a redevelopment, the park was created by a group of architects from Denmark and Germany and was internationally recognized for its features and design.
Senior residents of Mjolnerparken sit in a common dining area and sing Danish folk songs before their evening meal. Despite the bad reputation of the area, they all throughly enjoy living in the neighborhood and say they have never felt in danger. They host parties for children of residents that graduate from university.
Raouf Al-Hilw awaits instruction from his coach, Hamed Jabur. The two men are part of a local soccer team called F.C. Babylon. The team is comprised of mostly immigrants from Iraq and features many Mjolnerparken residents.
Mohammed Aslam, the chairperson of the Mjolnerparken’s residents association, stands in the courtyard by his apartment. Mr. Aslam is deeply concerned by the government labeling his neighborhood as a ghetto, feeling that it achieves only negative outcomes for Mjolnerparken’s residents.
Men pray during Friday prayers at the Hamad Bin Khalifa mosque. The mosque, which caters to Sunni Muslims, is one of the biggest in Copenhagen. It is a short walk from Mjolnerparken and frequented by many of the area’s residents.
After school tutoring sessions are hosted in the main administrative office of the neighborhood. Tutors are provided free of charge.
Sabrina, Ibtisam and Mumtas, all 12 and residents of Mjolnerparken,, throw rocks on a visit to the beach. The visit was organized by an organization called Sjakket, which rewards children of underprivileged areas for their academic achievement.
A worker stands beside a Danish flag at a dedication ceremony for a new building development beside Mjolnerparken. Recently, the area around Mjolnerparken has been a scene of rapid gentrification. Many residents of Mjolnerparken feel that this may be the beginning of the end for the area, realizing that their neighborhood is now desirable to developers.