Helle Nebelong is a Danish Landscape Architect MAA, MDL and Master of Public Management, MPM.
She is especially passionate about designing spaces for children and how to adapt and improve the city for everyday life. She runs her own private practice Sansehaver.dk specialized in health design and design for all. The essence is healthy, attractive and inspiring spaces where people’s well-being and creativity develop through a spontaneous perception of nature, culture and architecture.
Helle is internationally recognized for her special philosophy and as a designer of nature play spaces where children thrive. She’s a key pioneer of the natural playground movement, which advocates for using local materials and materials found on site, such as branches or sawn-down trees, big stones and objects from the real world, rather than artificial materials, fixed equipment and bright colours, and not necessarily cordoning off playgrounds from the rest of a park. Some of her best known projects in Copenhagen are The Garden of Senses in Faelledparken and the Nature Playground in Valbyparken.
For more than ten years Helle was employed by the City of Copenhagen (1994-2006). Among others as the team leader of an interdisciplinary team responsible for developing an action plan to improve accessibility in Copenhagen. The Technical and Environmental Administration’s strategy "City for All - Improving the accessibility of the Urban Spaces in Copenhagen" was politically adopted in 2005.
Helle is often a keynote speaker at conferences and universities at home and abroad and she is the author of numerous articles and a book “Vi leger at ...” – unfortunately only in Danish - about children, play and designing nature playgrounds and sensory gardens for children.
2004-2014 she was president of the Danish Playground Association a NGO whose purpose is to support and develop children's play areas through interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and experience and ensuring children's right to play.
Since 2007 Helle is a member of the Nature Action Collaborative for Children Leadership Team representing Europe in the design and planning field. NACC’s mission is ”to bring together early childhood educators, representatives of environmental organizations, community planners and environmental designers to effect changes that make developmentally appropriate nature education a sustaining and enriching part of the daily lives of the world’s children.“
Helle Nebelong believes in the positive influence of nature and beauty on the human balance, physically and mentally. Living in this globally and technologically fabulous era, she says, it is crucial that we maintain an inherent biological connection to, and knowledge of, nature. Helle is particularly enthusiastic when designing spaces for children where they can play freely, and making physical surroundings accessible and usable for all, including handicapped persons.
Helle is a steadily advocate for children’s rights to play and having access to nature and a healthy environment.
You can contact Helle through firstname.lastname@example.org
Nature Playground in Valbyparken, Copenhagen
of Senses in Faelledparken, Copenhagen
Children's Millenium Garden
What good design can do for us, Horticulture Week in association with CABE Space, April 2008
Natures playground, article from Green Spaces issue May 2004
More to come..
List of books featuring Helle Nebelong’s work
Tim Richardson: Avant Gardeners. 50 visionaries of the contemporary Landscape. Thames & Hudson, London 2008 (p. 210-215)
Sarah Gaventa: New Public Spaces. CABE Space / Mitchell Beazley 2006. (p. 144-147)
Marta Rojals del Alamo: Great Kid’s Spaces. Links, Barcelona 2006 (p. 104-111)
Marta Rojals del Alamo: Design for fun: playgrounds. Links, Barcelona 2005 (p. 164-175)
List of publications featuring Helle Nebelong’s work
Green Places May 08: “A Sense of Place. Improving children’s quality of life through design”
Landscape 09.07 The Journal of the Landscape Institute: “Risk and reward” (interview by Julia Thrift)
Green Places May 04: “Nature’s Playground”
Booklet of Garden of Senses, Faelledparken: