The master plan aims at changing Gellerup from a disadvantaged residential area to an attractive urban district. Photo: Lau, Donauer
Gellerup is not the best part for living in Aarhus and is rebuilt therefore. Although it is a major change for the people living there, the local trading persists in the Bazar Vest, where the residents not only shop but live their culture. By Winsome Lau and Christoph Donauer.
Three housing blocks in Gellerup have already been demolished, the fourth is nothing more than an empty concrete shell. The houses get torn down because of the rebuilt of Gellerup, a location within the quarter Brabrand. The quarter in the west of Aarhus is under construction because of its problems. Mostly migrants live there, many of them unemployed. The number of crimes is on the rise. Because of that, the city decided to rebuilt parts of the quarter and developed a so called ‘Masterplan’. For Gellerup, it suggests to build more streets between the houses, a tram line, architectural landmarks and shops on the main road to make people visit it.
But the local trade is not part of Gellerups problems. Bazar Vest shows that, because people from all over Denmark and even from other countries visit it. Bazar Vest is a mall with 100 shops located in an old hangar. The shops are mainly run by people with a migrant background. They sell groceries, like fruits and vegetables but also clothes and traditional food from their home countries. Thus, Bazar Vest is more than a place for grocery shopping. It is a condensation of the cultural diversity found in the quarter.
Residents don’t think that Bazar Vest will suffer from rebuilt
“The Bazar is a point of living for many of us”, says Fatuma Ahmod. The 35-year-old Muslima works as a kitchen assistant and is at Bazar Vest almost every day. Although she has heard about the Masterplan, she does not think that the Bazar Vest will suffer from new surrounding shops: “It has a lot of special food, like the halal meat, so especially muslims will always have a reason to go there.” She also approves the rebuilt of Gellerup regarding the gain of jobs: “It’s good, more people will come and there will be more jobs.”
We asked people what they think is special about the Bazar Vest:
The view on the construction site in Gellerup is covered by wooden site fences. Mwali Diriye is on vacation in Gellerup. He moved to London because the block he was living in got torn down. “I grew up here, but now it is dust. But if it is a favour for the community, I support it.” The student went grocery shopping at City Vest, another mall in the quarter Brabrand. But Bazar Vest is also important for Diriye: “Everyone knows Bazar Vest. It is full of memories.” For the future, he hopes that the two malls will get a better connection and attract more people.
Time will pass until then, because the rebuilt is supposed to be finished not until 2030. In the meantime, the local trade should not suffer because of the rebuilt of Gellerup. One the one hand, because the rebuilding of houses and the direct connection into the city by tram should give more people the possibility to reach the edge of town. But the local trade will also persist because the Bazar Vest represents the cultural diversity in Gellerup and is a part of the residents everyday life. A part, that can not be torn down, because it comes with the people living there.
Dig into how the quarter Gellerup will be rebuilt in our infographic. Just click the coloured areas!
(Map: Google Maps)