In Randers a close partnership between a public housing organisation, the municipality, Randers Production School and the Danish Nature Agency developed a vulnerable nature area, creating new learning environments and enhancing a nearby residential area. Local residents and voluntary organisations played a key role in the process, which was based on citizen involvement and co-creation.

The common, Nordre Fælled, used to be a military training area.In 2003 the Danish Nature Agency took over the 140 hectares of open landscape to develop it into a recreational area for local residents. Despite several initiatives, the area remained virtually unused and was plagued by vandalism, litter and abandoned mopeds.

In 2013 a local resident who wanted to use Nordre Fælled contacted the Town Office in Randers, which is responsible for social housing measures. The office quickly saw the possibility of a collaboration and entered into a partnership with Randers Production School, Randers Municipality and the Danish Nature Agency. The aim was to develop Nordre Fælled and establish common values by providing new, authentic learning environments for the Production School, establishing recreational areas for area residents, getting better use of the Danish Nature Agency’s area and by generally enhancing social housing measures in Randers Nordby. Initially, more than 500 locals took part in the process leading to the formation of Friends of Nordre Fælled, a voluntary association. Today, the area provides a wealth of attractive facilities, for example, fire pits, a small forest for children, mazes, hammocks and a Tarzan track. There is also a brand-new urban nature space, which serves as an entryway to the city’s nearby natural areas. Volunteer associations are responsible for programming activities and initiatives in the area. Friends of Nordre Fælled, which has been a major factor in the area’s success, contributes actively to the design, development and operation of the area, though not physically. The association also collaborates with other voluntary organisations to make the best use of the area. Members of Friends of Nordre Fælled and the local residents council are on the partnership’s working committee. The unique partnership is now five years old.

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