Guide to Copenhagen 2025 (Sustainia)


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By 2025, Copenhagen will be carbon neutral. However,
the city is already a beacon of sustainability. For decades, the city has pursued sustainable policies.
Copenhagen is evidence that a sustainable city is not only
a cleaner and greener city – but also a city with a high
quality of life.

The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 builds on the
existing and extensive plans for Copenhagen.

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Guide to Copenhagen 2025 (Sustainia)

  1. 1. SUSTAINIA GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025 Exploring the sustainable capital of tomorrow
  3. 3. “Prediction is very difficult,especially about the future.”Niels Bohr, Nobel Laureate in PhysicsThe Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 builds on the existing plans forCopenhagen. Although we have added a few teaspoons of creativity andimagination, the book is a realistic scenario of a not so distant future – andnot an utopian experiment. However, the future is yet to be written. Newtechnologies may emerge and others may fail. Alternative solutions mayappear and plans may change. But one thing remains certain: Our futuredestination depends on our course today. 4 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  6. 6. FOREWORD Sustainia welcomeS you to Copenhagen 2025 Sustainia is all about making what may seem impossi- ble possible. Turning dreams into reality. Making inspiring visions into concrete and achievable actions. Actions that will take us to the fascinating destination Sustainia – a de- sirable and achievable sustainable future. Allow us to take you on a journey: Copenhagen in the year 2025. We hope this journey will excite and inspire you. Open your eyes to the fascinating opportunities of living in a sustainianised city. The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 builds on the existing and extensive plans for Copenhagen. We visualise7 // FOREWORD
  7. 7. these plans and make them tangible for visitors and citi-zens. Therefore this Guide isn’t an utopian experiment buta realistic image of a not so distant future. By 2025, Copenhagen will be carbon neutral. However,the city is already a beacon of sustainability. It is part ofthe city’s sense of self, woven into the heart, soul and mindof Copenhagen. For decades, the city has pursued sustainable policies.Copenhagen is evidence that a sustainable city is not onlya cleaner and greener city – but also a city with a highquality of life. A smarter, healthier, happier city. And amore prosperous one. Sustainia is about just that: a better,happier, healthier, smarter – and more enjoyable - world.The journey to that world is fuelled by excitement and theappeal of the destination. In Guide to Sustainia, we explored the sustainable soci-ety of tomorrow. We developed the first version of the Sus-tainia City Principles. Since then we have developed themfurther, and we will continue to do so as we move along. The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 is the first inSustainia’s series of city guides, in which we envision thecities of tomorrow. By looking through a sustainable lens,we experience these principles in real life.Let the journey begin! Wewelcome you to Copenhagen inthe year 2025. Enjoy the ride.Laura StormExecutive DirectorSustainia 8 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  8. 8. FOREWORD Sustainia City Principles 1 All citizens should live within a 5-10 minute walk to green areas 2 Citizens should have access to fresh food and clean water 3 The city should work to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings. 4 New buildings must meet energy efficiency standards– such as LEED certification 5 Attractive spaces between buildings invite citizens to interact 6 Walking anywhere in the city should be easy and safe 7 Easy and efficient public transportation 8 Clean rivers, harbours and beaches. 9 Educational opportunities to ensure a young a vibrant atmosphere 10 Public electric car hires and plenty of charging stations will reduce air and noise pollution 11 Well designed bike lane infrastructure 12 Engage citizens in making cities sustainable – ownership and empower- ment through education 13 City leaders should recognize sustainability as a driver for innovation, creativity and prosperity 14 Sustainable cities improve the quality of life for its citizens9 // FOREWORD
  9. 9. ARCHI-TECTURE When you explore the different architectural attractions of Copenhagen, remember to take in the best piece of Danish design – the city itself. Copenhagen is designed for people. A city designed to be convenient, creative, efficient and fun. A smart city. 10 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  10. 10. Smart city ARCHITECTURE Spotting all of the smart improvements can be difficult. In order to explore this hidden side of the city, take notice of what is missing. Be on watch for: Less hassle Public transportation is integrated, convenient and fast. Less waste Flexible systems allow energy to be stored until needed. Less floods Green roofs, canals and pocket parks help absorb cloud bursts. Less noise Many cars run on electricity and are nearly silent. Less random use Appliances such as washing machines respond to infor- mation and start when energy prices are low. Less congestion Intelligent traffic systems adjust the streets of the city to avoid traffic jams. Less short-sightedness New sustainable buildings ensure low maintenance costs and low total cost of ownership.11 // ARCHITECTURE
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  12. 12. NORDHAVN ARCHITECTURE If you have the chance, take the Metro to Nordhavn and explore the new district that boosts Copenhagen’s image as an sustainable metropolis. You will discover how sus- tainability and quality of life go hand in hand. In the dense urban environment at Nordhavn, the natu- ral choice for residents and visitors is to walk, cycle or use public transport, rather than travel by car. Take a stroll through the intimate, compact neighborhood and take in the architecture where old meets new. Notice how old buildings, such as the silos, have been retrofitted and to- day are modern office buildings. Make sure to look up, too, as some older buildings have been outfitted with additional stories – building new atop the old. The rubble and gravel from the old buildings that were demolished have been reused in the construction of new buildings. Sustainability is an innate part of the district’s design. Efficiency is a top priority, and the neighbourhood is pow- ered by several kinds of renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal. Every drop of rainwater is used lo- cally to maintain green elements such as rooftop gardens, pocket parks and green boulevards. The water promenade in Nordhavn is a great place to spend a sunny day. If you get too hot, cool off inside, where seawater in the district cooling system holds temperatures down. Or, bring your swimsuit and dive into the clean harbour water. Soak up the warmth from the rocks situated in the water resembling Swedish skerries13 // ARCHITECTURE
  13. 13. This city is made for walking The area is designed on a five-minute-city principle.Short distances from housing and workplaces to publictransport, bicycle paths, green areas, public institutionsand shops provide resource efficiency and an interesting,inviting and lively urban landscape.It takes five minutes to walkfour hundred metres. Installingconveniences such as shoppingand public transport within thisdistance promotes walking andcycling.Little Venice. Nordhavn is a district of small islets with kilometres ofcoastline. It is characterised by houseboats, water sports, canals, harbourbuses, a water pocket park, artificial islands, a marina, a harbour bath anddirect access to water from the boardwalks. If you arrive by sea, you willsee the neighbourhood. It is also home to the dock for cruise ships. Whenthe cruise ships dock at Copenhagen they no longer pose the same envi-ronmental hazard as before. Previously, cruise ships burned diesel whilein port to generate power – but today the shore to ship system providescleaner energy from power plants and wind turbines of the city. 14 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
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  16. 16. If you rent a bike, makesure you ride over theTwo Tower Bridge atMarble Pier and the ARCHITECTUREpoint of Langelinie.Cycling 65 metres abovesea level while ferriespass beneath you is anunforgetable experience,and shows you to whatlengths – and heights– this city will go for itsbikes.17 // ARCHITECTURE
  17. 17. 1,800 employees work in UN City – a state-of-the-art sustainable building that opened in 2013. Thebuilding has solar panels on the roof, is LEED (Lead-ership in Energy and Environmental Design) Goldcertified and an EU Green Building Partner. Due tosecurity concerns, it is situated on its own island. 18 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  18. 18. Tip for the business traveller ARCHITECTURE Explore business opportunities in the biggest urban development project in Northern Europe. Nordhavn is still under construction, and the city is looking for busi- ness partners within smart energy, shore-to-ship technology, electric cars, district cooling, street lighting, smart houses and geothermal energy. When completed in 2060, Nordhavn will be home for 40,000 residents and another 40,000 workers. In 2060, the green loop – containing a super bicycle path and public transport – connects all of Nordhavn’s neighbourhoods, enabling cyclists to get to their destina- tions quickly. Meet the Copenhagener Name: Noah Adamsen ‘‘ Age: 36. Occupation: Project Manager, UNICEF How do you get around Copenhagen? I bike almost all year round. I love the trip along the waterfront from my home in Islands Brygge to UN City. Often, I have meetings around town and go by bike as well. If I go with one of my colleagues who commute by car, he or she borrows one of the company bikes. On rainy days, though, I might take the Metro to Nordhavn and catch up on iNews. On weekends, my family and I love to spend time in our beach house. It is a two-hour drive from Copenhagen, so we have a weekend subscription to a shared car service.19 // ARCHITECTURE
  19. 19. Carlsberg Make sure you set aside a whole day to visit the Carls-berg district. Situated where the Carlsberg brewery was es-tablished and produced most of its beer for 150 years, this“new” part of town is now a cornucopia of cultural activi-ties, history and city life. The district is also a frontrunnerin sustainable urban planning. Getting around Carlsberg requires nothing more thanyour two feet. This part of town has been specifically de-signed for the locals who enjoy experiencing the labyrinth-like charm of “secret” pathways and small green parks onfoot. Should you feel tempted to join the locals on the bikelanes, take the Carlsberg Route, which connects the clas-sic district of Valby with the downtown bohemian dis- 20 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  20. 20. Old historic buildings combined with modern architecture surround the ARCHITECTURE public squares at Carlsberg. This combination of old and new creates an urban atmosphere favoured by Copenhageners during night and day. trict of Vesterbro. Carlsberg has an extended grid of bike lanes, including shortcuts and passages between the buildings, which make biking the fastest way of getting around. In the Carlsberg district, you will notice how modern ar- chitecture builds upon the remains of the old brewery. In fact, 15 pct. of all the buildings in the area today date back more than 175 years; they tell the story of how hop, yeast and water built the foundation of one of Denmark’s largest companies. These buildings have been retrofitted and modified into energy-efficient structures that today host theatres, con- certs and exhibitions. All new buildings in the area have been built to meet stringent energy requirements.21 // ARCHITECTURE
  21. 21. Aesthetics and sustainabilityIn Copenhagen, sustainabilityhas in no way compromisedaesthetics – the city is ascharming as ever. When walkingaround Carlsberg today, it canbe hard to spot what energyefficiency and carbon neutralityactually looks like. The fact is, itis all around you. Beneath your feet, large pipes transport hot water thro-ugh the environmentally friendly district heating system,which is connected to all buildings in the area. In the wallssurrounding you, a modern smart electric grid distributesclean electricity from wind turbines off the coast of Co-penhagen and biomass power plants in the city. This “covert” sustainability means that creating a car-bon-neutral district did not have to affect the architecturalaesthetics of the urban environment. Today district heat-ing, clean energy and environmentally friendly transpor-tation are such common pieces of everyday life here thatno one thinks about them. 22 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  22. 22. Tip for the urban ARCHITECTUREplanner- Life before buildings In the transformation from industrial use to residential area, urban planners focused on creating life in the neigh- bourhood before building new houses. Early on, Carlsberg hosted various kinds of cultural events. This meant that by the time new residents started moving into the area, Carlsberg was already a popular des- tination for culturally aware Copenhageners. Concerts 1 The old Bottling Hall Tap 1 proved to be a great venue for concerts, and quickly became one of the favourite music venues in Copenhagen. Tap 1 is still active today – make sure to check out the program while you are in Copenhagen. A youth environment 2 Storage Cellar 3 was rebuilt into rehearsal rooms and a student café for the local music high school Sankt Annæ. This fostered a creative environment for the younger gen- erations and made the Carlsberg district a big part of the students’ everyday lives. Art 3 In one of the old large garage buildings, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts moved in and began hosting exhi- bitions from upcoming artists. When you visit Carlsberg, stop by – you might be lucky and get a glimpse of the next Picasso or Van Gogh.23 // ARCHITECTURE
  23. 23. The Old Town Strolling around parts of old Copenhagen in the Decem-ber cold you will not only see the shimmering lights fromwindow decorations, you will also notice how the city roof-tops are covered by a layer of snow. The snow serves as a reminder that Christmas is aroundthe corner, but the fact that it remains on the roof anddoesn’t melt tells a tale of an Old Town whose buildingshave been modernised, insulated and optimised to ensuremaximum energy reduction. Retrofitting – an important step towards carbon neutrality On average, only 1 pct. of buildings are replaced per year.Therefore, it wasn’t enough for Copenhagen to merely fo-cus on energy requirements in new construction on thepath to becoming carbon neutral. The city therefore initi-ated numerous retrofitting initiatives for old buildings. Retrofitting is the technique of modernising old build-ings with the aim of making them more energy efficient.It has a significant and measurable impact on energy con-sumption and the indoor climate in buildings. 24 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  25. 25. 3 Key benefitsof the Copenhagenretrofittinginitiatives In Copenhagen, retrofitting alone accounts for a de- 1 crease of more than 20 pct. in heat consumption and 30 pct. in total energy consumption when comparing 2025 with 2010. Citizens save money on their energy bills with- out changing their lifestyle. The average EU citizen spends 90 pct. of his time in- 2 doors. Research shows that improved day lighting and air quality in retrofitted buildings enhances productivity and has a positive impact on public health. The investments in retrofitting have positively affected 3 the economy of the city: * Overall energy consumption in Copenhagen de creased, raising the productivity per kWh consumed. The construction sector experienced a much wel- * comed boost in demand for their services. The value of retrofitted energy-efficient houses has in- * creased, giving homeowners an economic gain. 26 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  26. 26. Old spots ARCHITECTURE become hot spots Make sure you visit some of the trendy old industrial ar- eas of Copenhagen such as Carlsberg, Nordhavn and vari- ous spots along the waterfront. Here you will get the im- pression of a city with an authentic historical charm that caters to the needs of a modern city focused on sustain- ability and livability. In Copenhagen, the focus has shifted from primarily the buildings to the spaces in between, too. An essential question has been: How does the city landscape help raise the quality of life for citizens while contributing to more sustainable development. In other words, how do old spots become hot spots? This mindset has brought with it creative initiatives that continuously find innovative uses of old city spaces for new recreational purposes. The former industrial areas of Carlsberg and Nordhavn serve as good examples of suc- cessful revitalization of old city districts. Another interesting case is the harbour baths locatedSince the water in theCopenhagen harbour throughout Copenhagen. Many years ago, the city decidedwas cleaned many years to clean up the water in the harbour; since then, new har-ago, several public bathshave been built along the bour baths have sprung up all along the waterfront. To-harbourfront, revitalising day, the harbour fronts are some of the trendiest spots inold industrial areas andbringing cafés and urban Copenhagen. You will see couples strolling along the pier,life with them. One of businessmen and women having a swim after work, andthese harbour baths isthe Coralbath in South exam-tormented students tanning while cramming in theHarbour heart of the Danish capital.27 // ARCHITECTURE
  27. 27. The Sustainable ArchitecTOUR– 10 must-see sites If you want to experience the diversity and creativity of sustainable Copenhagen architecture, we recommend visiting these 10 sites. Each of them, in their own way, represents the innovative ideas that have helped shape the carbon-neutral Copenhagen of today. Do as Copenhageners do, hop on a bike – all 10 sites are easily accessed via the green bike- routes covering town. Bring nothing more than a bike and a camera and prepare for a day full of sustainability impressions. 28 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  28. 28. 9 AM: SOLAR PANELS AND RAINWATER FLUSHING ARCHITECTURE Start the day by enjoying a coffee and a famous Danish pastry at the harbourfront while observing UN officials from all over the world enter UN City to start their workday. Besides being a remarkable architectural icon shaped in the form of a star, UN City was one of the first buildings in Northern Europe to meet the requirements of LEED Gold certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Not only is the entire roof covered by solar panels that harvest the energy of the sun, but architects added rainwater tanks connected to the toilets, ensuring that all 1,800 employees flush with rainwater. 10 AM: WATER COOLING After enjoying the morning sun at UN City, grab your bike and ride across the Two Tower Bridge – or The Handshake as the locals call it - to Langelinie. Here you will find “The Warehouse,” a modern office building built after the principles of an old warehouse – with warm-coloured bricks and windows in varying shapes, giving the building a vivid and informal expression. Breathe in the fresh sea breeze and enjoy the view of the water surrounding Langelinie - and in this case water is not only pleasing to the eye. In fact, water is used for cooling down The Warehouse during warm summer days, as it is pumped from underground and circulated through the building. 11 AM: BOATS, KIDS AND CARROTS From Langelinie, continue along the bike-designated Harbour Route, which provides a nice view of the Copenhagen harbourfront. Eventually you will come across an unusual building that is literally dipping its toes into the water. This is the South Harbour School, a public elementary school with more than 800 pupils and a special maritime focus. Besides being an elementary school, the South Harbour School offers specialized classes in sailing and navigation. Take a moment to look at how the older kids sail small boats around the harbour and learn to appreciate nature, or how the younger ones sow car- rots and water them in the school’s kitchen gardens, giving them firsthand experience in food production and ecology.29 // ARCHITECTURE
  29. 29. The ArchitecTOUR 3 PM: The Osram House 1:30 PM: Green roof terraces Birkegade NOON: The Korsgade Sports- and Culture Centre 11 AM: The South Harbour School 8:30 PM: The Valby Water Culture Centre 30 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  30. 30. 9 AM: UN City ARCHITECTURE 10 AM: The Warehouse 4 PM: The Green Campus 5 PM: The Arsenal 6 PM:Islands Brygge 31 // ARCHITECTURE
  31. 31. NOON: LUNCH ON THE HILL From the South Harbour School, bike paths lead you through bohemian Vesterbro to the Lake Route, following the scenic Copenhagen lakes. Close to the third lake, you’ll come to the next stop: Korsgade, a small local street in Nørrebro. Feeling hungry? Grab a sandwich and enjoy lunch on an urban green hill. The citizens of dense Nørrebro wanted both a recreational spot and a sports and culture centre. With free space scarce, architects had to be creative. The result is found underneath your feet. The Korsgade Sports and CultureOpening hours Monday- Centre literally “grows” out of the ground, forming a green hill. SportsThursday: 7.50AM-11PM, courts are inside; a green roof and walls on the outside offer locals a placeFriday: 7.50AM-9PM. to relax and enjoy themselves in the sun, or for kids to go sledding down in the winter. The green roof is also an efficient climate adaptation, insulating against extreme heat and cold, and collecting excess rainwater, which relieves the sewage system during heavy rains. 1:30 PM: GREEN ROOF When biking through the streets of Nørrebro in the afternoon we would usually urge you to watch the traffic on the road. However, also make sure you look up every once in a while – you just might be lucky and spot one of the attractive green roof terraces. One of the most remarkable ones is found not far from Korsgade, in Birkegade. When the roof of a local apartment building started leaking and needed renovation, residents decided they wanted more than just a new roof – they wanted better and greener conditions for their children in the densely populated neighbourhood. The solution came in the form of a 490-square-metre roof terrace contain- ing a small playground, a green hill and an observation post, giving visitors a panoramic view of the Copenhagen skyline. Residents now have a place to enjoy the outdoors away from the busy streets below. 3 PM: DAYLIGHT INSTEAD OF LIGHT BULBS Continue your trip on the wide, pleasant bike paths of Nørrebro towards the Osram House.Opening hours Monday-Friday 9AM-10PM, makesure to book tour inadvance. 32 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  32. 32. A characteristic of Copenhageners is how much they enjoy spending time outside in the sun during summer. The next stop on the tour is an experi- ment in how much of the sun’s natural light can be brought indoors. ARCHITECTURE The only light bulb factory ever to exist in Denmark, the Osram House was an iconic choice for a case study in how much of a building’s energy consumption could be displaced by daylight. Today, energy-efficient windows, skylights and glass walls ensure optimal exploitation of daylight and create natural heating of the building through sunlight. Note how electronic displays in the building, which functions as a neighbourhood cultural centre for nearby residents, present the energy consumption in an easily readable manner, making it simple and motivating for users to track and improve their environmental impact. 4 PM: AN INSPIRING STUDENT ENVIRONMENT In the afternoon, stop by the science faculty campus at the University of Copenhagen, in the corner of the University Park, and experience the vibrant student environment. The Green Campus initiatives started many years ago ensure that today sustainable thinking is an integrated part of all academic programmes and the students’ daily lives. A tangible example of the sustainable thinking is The Green Lighthouse, a university building built in 2009 as a result of a successful public-private partnership between governmental institutions and private partners. It was also the first public carbon neutral building in Copenhagen. Inspired by a sundial, the building’s shape ensures maximum exploitation of sunlight, giving a sun lit, inspiring environment for students. Furthermore,To book a tour of the sunlight has been carefully incorporated into the building’s energy systemGreen Light House go to through solar panels, and excess solar energy is stored as heat under-www.greenlighthouse. ground to be used later when the sun is weaker or at 5 PM: SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION From the youthful student environment, we now bike back to the harbour and through history. In the late afternoon sun, the yellow buildings of the old military installation “The Arsenal” look pretty as ever. Built in 1740, these buildings for many years served as part of Copenhagen’s defences and today represent a city landmark. The buildings underwent comprehensive renovation in 2012, which lowered the energy consumption by 20 pct. Being a historic landmark under protection of the National Heritage Agency, the key to retrofitting the buildings was making inconspicuous changes. Besides new energy-efficient windows, one of the creative ideas was to store heat-emitting electronic equipment in an old underground bunker, ensuring a pleasant climate in the offices inside. Take a stroll around the buildings and enjoy how a city does not have to lose its historical value to become sustainable.33 // ARCHITECTURE
  33. 33. 6 PM: DINNER IN THE OLD COMMERCIAL HARBOUR The Long Bridge close to The Arsenal will take you to Islands Brygge. On a summer evening, make sure not to miss the vibrant atmosphere of this historic commercial harbour, which many years ago was revitalized and became a hip part of town. We recommend enjoying a barbeque with local Copenhageners, with the two old soy-cake silos as background. Being part of the cultural and industrial heritage of Copenhagen, it was de- cided that these two silos should remain after commercial activities in the harbour ended. They were transformed into residential buildings. Worth noting is how the apartments are “hanging” on the outside of the silos, giv- ing them an iconic look while staying true to their industrial history. Arrive early in the evening to find a spot for your barbeque; this place is a favourite spot for Copenhageners during the long summer evenings. 8:30 PM: TIME FOR SUSTAINABLE WELLNESS What better way to end a day of biking around town than by treating your- self to a visit to the spa? Our tour concludes at the Valby Water Culture Centre, which was early proof that sustainability did not have to come at the expense of well-being. The Centre houses an indoor swimming pool area with room for play and relaxation – and caters to the well-being of visitors in a sustainable manner. While relaxing in the hot water, note how the walls of the building are tilted inward. This, with the solar panels on the roof, ensures maximum reflection of cold wind and efficient use of sunlight to heat the building. These mea-Opening hours Monday, sures, combined with recycling of excess heat from shower water to heatWednesday and Friday the pool area, enables the Valby Water Culture Centre to consume 30 pct.until 9.30PM. less energy than comparable swimming facilities. 34 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  34. 34. Urban planning ARCHITECTURE – the Sun Clock model Danes love to enjoy the sun. However, being a northern country, the annual number of sunshine hours is limited. The architects and urban specialists who designed Carls- berg knew that high density was essential to create lively neighbourhoods. But they also wanted to make room for sunlight in the district. They found inspiration in an old- fashioned sun clock. After carefully studying the path of the sun, parks and squares were located just like the hours on a sun clock. At any time, residents can find shaded areas to cool down or spots to enjoy the sun. 9 AM 4 PM The parks and squares of Carlsberg are carefully located according to the sun’s path over the sky. Enjoy the morning sun in one park, and the evening sun in another. This is also a great excuse for seeing various corners of the neighbourhood.35 // ARCHITECTURE
  35. 35. PEOPLE AND CULTURE When visiting Copenhagen, make sure you observePopulation the locals. They are centralgrowth of to the city’s identity, andCopenhagen,People living in the personification of theCopenhagen, Copenhagen sustainable lifestyle.thousands. 640535 Copenhageners are curious and open towards new ini- tiatives, and have many times taken it upon themselves to come up with innovative new ways of living. In aspects cov- ering food to fashion and exercise, many Copenhageners2010 2025 have embraced sustainability and the green way of living. 36 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  36. 36. facts about Copenhagen GMT PEOPLE & CULTURE + 1 hour Population 640,000 Time zone Free Bike rental price Best view in Copenhagen From the Two Tower Bridge Grab one of the public bikes Read more in the Architecture chapter Best way to annoy a Copenhagener Average yearly household Walk on the bike lanes spending on bikes DKK 1,190 Average living area per person 44m237 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  37. 37. MEET THE LOCALS– CHARACTERISTICS OF A COPENHAGENER1 COPENHAGENERS ARE FINDERS AND KEEPERS The Danes are a tribe of finders and keepers. Are you looking to update your favorite chair, or do you need that special little gizmo for your electrical device? When walk- ing around in Copenhagen you will encounter shops selling spare parts from bikes to electronics and even furniture. Urban mining is also big business, as valuable materi- als are harvested from old electronics. Fifteen years ago, Danes were the second-largest waste producers in the EU. But the financial crash turned past trends of happily using and throwing things out into a new mindset of finding and keeping. Even the fashionistas of Copenhagen have embraced the concept of finding and keeping. New designers are mak- ing clothing that will last years instead of seasons. This doesn’t mean being boring, but sticking with what Copen- hagen designers are famous for: the design, the materials and the edgy yet elegant Scandinavian feel. 38 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  38. 38. PEOPLE & CULTURE2 COPENHAGENERS ARE LOCAVORES Copenhageners are crazy about local food. So, if you are a foodie, try eating local. Copenhagen restaurant Noma, the No. 1 restaurant in the world, started an international trend when they pop- ularised the concept of local food, in 2003 – serving food made entirely from the Nordic countries. A region knownOrganic food for anything but food. Saving carbon by eating an apple in-served in public stead of a mango that has been transported from the otherinstitutions, pct. end of the world is now common sense. Community gar- 90 dens, farmers markets and a renewed focus on personal health and organic, locally produced food has become a 68 part of everyday life and habits. As early as 2012, 77 pct. of public institutions, from daycare centres to retirement homes, served only organic food. If you want to eat like a local, try an App – Locavore – which tells you what veggies are in season and grown in your area. It also shares recipes that you don’t have to be a2010 2015 Michelin Star chef to prepare.39 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  39. 39. 3 COPENHAGENERS ARE EXERCISOHOLICS Each year, at the end of May, thousands of Copenhageners participate in the Green Marathon. The Green Marathon is a 42 kilometre track that never loses touch with the green el- ements of the city. It runs within the city boundaries along tree-filled boulevards, and through many of Copenhagen’s green parks. When September comes, even more people gather for the DHL run – a 5-km route on which companies compete against each other. It is not unusual for more than 100,000 people to participate in this event. Besides running, Copenhagen-based companies also en- gage in bike-to-work campaigns encouraging employees to bike to work through inter-organisational competitions. Last, exercising is even considered an accepted treat- ment method – and the local doctor might prescribe a paid gym membership rather than medication to improve your health. 40 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  40. 40. Guerrilla Gardening Ever wonder why flowers grow in the strangest places in Copenhagen? There is a fair chance that this could be the result of the phenomenon known as “urban guerrilla gardening.” This modern graffiti is conducted by preparing so-called “seed bombs,” and then venturing into the night to sow them in small cracks in the street, or on empty spaces of dirt. This phenomenon has become increasingly common in the city over the years; you can even find small underground movements doing it together. PEOPLE & CULTURE4 COPENHAGENERS ARE URBAN GARDENERS Previously, living in downtown Copenhagen would have precluded the option of having a garden, but not anymore. Urban gardens have sprung up all over town, and Copen- hageners are enjoying spending ever-more time maintain- ing them. These gardens are for present generations what summer cabins were to generations before – a place to re- lax and enjoy the outdoors. Today, urban gardens can be found in many variants and at many altitudes – some between buildings, some on balconies and some atop roofs. To Copenhageners, these gardens represent a personal desire to mix the chic urban life with green living – despite living in the city, you can still grow your own carrots and tomatoes.41 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  41. 41. 5 COPENHAGENERS ARE COMPUTER SAVVY Studies show that Danes rank in the top 3 of the most IT-literate countries in the world. Dealing with computers is no longer just for work and play. One time at which Copenhageners have embraced mod- ern technology is when they are sick. Instead of leaving home when they are ill and perhaps not as mobile, tele- medicine can offer patients better and more cost-efficient medical treatment while cutting emissions. Copenhagen- ers, young and old, now talk to their doctor in front of their web camera, and measure their blood pressure, pulse and weight with the data transferred directly to their doctors. Telemedicine not only saves Copenhageners multiple visits to the doctor, research shows that it leads to fewer hospital visits and saves hundreds of tons of carbon. 42 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  42. 42. PEOPLE & CULTURE6 COPENHAGENERS ARE TRUSTING Twenty-five years ago, a now-famous global study was conducted. Scientists left 1,100 wallets on the streets of 33 countries. Each wallet contained up to $50 in local cur- rency together with the name and address of the wallet’s owner. In every country but two, the money disappeared. In Denmark and Norway, all of the wallets were returned – with the money intact. The study illustrates why Danes are considered among the world’s most trusting people. Danes avoid transaction costs because trust replaces written agreements, and reducing the number of expensive legal cases. Danes also have great trust in their government and are positive towards public- private partnerships and triple helix models (see Economy chapter). Trust also makes it is easier for the public sector to marshal agreement for new projects and goals.43 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  43. 43. 7 COPENHAGENERS LOVE THEIR BIKES Copenhageners are born and raised into a biking cul- ture. As kids, many Copenhageners are carried on a par- ent’s bike – either in one of the famous Christiania cargo- bikes or in a children’s seat on the back. A few years later, kids are for the first time set free on their own two wheels – usually in one of the many pocket parks all over town. By the time these young Copenhagen- ers start school, most are confident enough in biking that they bike the short route between home and school each day. This culture explains why more than 50 pct. of Copen- hageners commute to work or school by bike. When asked whether they might consider buying a car, many Copen- hageners simply reply “What would I need a car for? I’ve always biked everywhere. Biking is a much faster and more convenient way of getting around.” 4 4 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  44. 44. Bike like a Copenhagener PEOPLE & CULTURE 1 Smile. Cyclists are more likely to experience enjoyment than bus riders or car drivers. 2 Insist that your cargo bike can hold your two kids, dog and groceries for an entire week – and prove yourself right. 3 Secretly pity people driving SUVs around town. A year’s worth of parking fees will easily cost them more than the price of your bike. Not to mention the time spared on searching for vacant parking spots. Practice a facial expression mixing lenience and slight annoyance for 4 when people step in front of you on the bike lane without looking. Signal anticipated actions. Point to the right or left if you plan to turn; 5 raise your hand if you plan to stop. If others fail to do the same, apply step 4. 6 Expect to live longer. Half-hour of daily cycling increases life expectancy by 1-2 years. 7 Remember to look great. In Copenhagen, cycle chic is always in style. Bikes are no excuse to leave the suit or cocktail dress at home. 8 Familiarise yourself with cyclist shortcuts: cross the water on bike bridg- es, cycle both ways on one-way-streets and go right on red. 9 Make the 2-kilometre trip from the Nørrebro Runddel to Nørreport in 6 minutes flat. Don´t worry, the cycle super-highway and green wave ensures an effortless average speed of 20 kilometres per hour. 10 Develop a secret crush on your bike. Longing to be close to it will make you want to sit next to it on the train.45 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  45. 45. VISITING THE COPEN-HAGEN SMART HOME Imagine coming home and the lights turn on automati- cally, the temperature is perfect; the washing machine is already done cleaning your clothes, the apartment is full of fresh air and best of all; everything has happened with minimum environmental impact. Retrofitted buildings with new windows, new insulation and modern technol- ogy is the reality of the Copenhagen smart home. The smart home not only tracks the consumption of the resident, it also ensures that energy usage is always as ef- ficient as possible, while not forcing people to change their lifestyles. Residents tell their smart home how “green” they want to be, and it will guide them through their options. In many ways, the smart home is an energy butler making homes as energy efficient as possible. Energy Water basin and A water basin next to the building collects rainwater for use in toilets Heating and washing machines. An aver- age citizen uses 33 litres each day to flush the toilet and 19 litres for The building receives its washing clothes. Instead of using outside energy supply pure drinking water for these from wind farms off the purposes, a big portion is replaced coast of the city and by the rainwater. from second-generation biomass facilities. Heat- ing is supplied through the district heating system, where excess heat from biomass and waste-burning facilities is transported to homes. ELECTRIC VEHICLES A shared electric car is parked in front of the apartment building, which is attached to a local charging station integrated into the building. The car is shared by the building’s residents, as is the electric bike pump that makes it easy and convenient for residents to keep their bikes ready for the road. 46 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  46. 46. WindowsWindows facing north are thicker and more heavily insulated to keep out the cold while windows facingsouth are thinner to allow natural heating from the sun. Skylights ensure maximum exploitation of day-light in buildings – following the mantra “daylight instead of light bulbs.”Green roofs Solar PEOPLE & CULTUREGreen walls, green roofs and even rooftop gardens are a naturalpart of building design in Copenhagen. The benefits of greening colleCtors,buildings are manifold: added insulation, reduced stormwaterrunoff, absorption of air pollutants, natural habitat for birds, AND photo- voltaicsbees and butterflies, and green recreational spots for Copenha-geners. Rooftop solar panels in Copenha- gen are a mix of solar collectors heating water for the buildings and photovoltaic panels providingSmartpanel electricity. During hours of excess demand, solar power is supple-A Smartpanel just outside the building entrance shows the mented by wind farms or biomassenergy, water and heat consumption of the whole building. This facilities. Conversely, during timesallows for easy tracking of the energy efficiency of an apartment when solar power systems areblock, and is used for community energy-saving initiatives. For producing a surplus, electricityCopenhageners, there is a certain amount of pride in being is sold back into the grid or heatenergy efficient. is stored by modern heat pumps under the building for later usage. LED lighting LED lighting ensures that the home is consuming minimal energy from lighting. Furthermore, sensors built into lamps in each room control the need for lighting based on: occupancy in the room, type of activity in the room (e.g. reading or watching a movie), and the amount of daylight in the room.47 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
  47. 47. GETTING AROUND City of cyclists A young couple riding side-by-side talks intimately while a large group of businessmen pedals past at full speed in the fast lane of the bicycle super highway on Nørrebroga- de. The intelligent traffic control system detects the front of the large group of cyclists and switches the light at theGoing the upcoming intersection to green.distance:Copenhageners Perhaps the biggest thrill you can experience in Copen-combined bike a hagen is joining the hordes of cyclists on Copenhagen’sday, mill. km. busiest bike corridor during the morning commute. Thou- sands of cyclists pass here every day – businessmen in 1.5 suits, kids in cargo bikes, women in stilettos and couples 1.2 in love. For Copenhageners, bicycles are the most popular form0.8 of transport. Fifty percent of trips in Copenhagen are made by bike – a world record, and part of the reason why Copen- hagen achieved carbon neutrality this year. The environment is not the main reason for the popular-1995 ‘09 2025 ity of the bike. For most, it is the transportation of choice simply because it is the fastest and the cheapest way to get around. 48 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  48. 48. Bicycle trips a year in copenhagen240.000200.000160.000 GETTING AROUND120.000 80.000 40.000 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2025 Copenhagen has designed the city to make people happy - not cars49 // GETTING AROUND
  49. 49. SØ GR LV GA ØN DE NIN NEFITS OF GETTING GE N aden EsplanROUND COPENHAGEN E AD DG OL DE RV S GA BIKE TE ØS EN NG E AD KO The bridge over the inner harbour opened in X and is one of DG ST. BRE The bridge over the inner GO The Royal TH harbour is one ofEthe RSG Palace AD many bridges in Copen- E hagen designed for The bicycles and pedestrians The Royal Opera only. Danish Kongens Playhouse The National Nytorv Film School Christians- borg Fr. Christiania h olm sK an al 50 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  50. 50. Benefits of gettingaround Copenhagenby bike Increases your life expectancy. According to the 1 British Medical Association, a half-hour of cycling daily increases mean life expectancy by 1-2 years. GETTING AROUND Increases your quality of life. Cyclists are more 2 likely to experience enjoyment from their rides than do bus passengers or car drivers. Reduces traffic jams and congestion. 3 Reduces noise. 4 Reduces the cost of accidents and wear and tear 5 on infrastructure. Improves air quality and atmosphere in the city. 6 Combined – accounting for the total cost of air pollution, accidents, congestion – the city saves 0.06 € for every kilo- metre travelled by bike instead of by car.51 // GETTING AROUND
  51. 51. Tip FOR the business traveller Networks exist for businesses and institutions working with bicycles. Contact: The Cycle Secretariat at the City of Copenhagen at Or the Cycling Embassy of Denmark at Faster, smarter, safer, further Dedicated and prolonged efforts have improved the con- ditions for cyclists in the city. Shortcuts have been created across water and over railroads and squares, enabling bikes to beat cars on several routes. Special “green wave” traffic lights allow cyclists to trigger green lights when travelling at a certain speed. Bikes, unlike cars, are allowed to turn right on red and travel both ways on one-way streets. Ex- tra-wide bicycle tracks have been created – 80 pct. of the most popular bicycle routes have three lanes – so overtak-Copenhageners ing even cycling couples holding hands is no trouble.prefer the bike:Daily commuters Because of these efforts, the average travel time for cy-going to work clists has been reduced by 15 pct. since 2010. Bicycle tracksand places of are kept in good condition, people feel safe on bikes, andeducation by accidents have been reduced by 70 pct. in the past 20, pct. 50 Only 10-15 years ago, cycling to work was reserved for those fortunate to live close to the office. Today, bike rides of 10-20 kilometres are not just for athletes. A combination35 of electrically assisted bikes and bicycle highways has ex- tended what is possible for two-wheeled commuters.2010 2025 52 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  52. 52. Bikes are Convenient + Safe + Easy to park + Low cost + GETTING AROUND Low noise + Better for your health = Giving you a higher quality of life Over the past 20 years, Copenhagen has topped the rankings when it comes to livability. All of the surveys cite the city´s bike culture as one of the reasons. For Copenhageners, the road to improved quality of life is best travelled on a low-cost, healthy, safe transportation alternative that provides easy parking and offers fast and direct transportation from A to B.53 // GETTING AROUND
  53. 53. Getting around – e-mobility Remember to look both ways when stepping out from curbs toward the street in Copenhagen. Electric cars are surprisingly quiet and are increasingly part of the vehicle fleet in the city. Electric vehicles – or EVs – make life in the city more livable and sustainable. Fewer Copenhageners experience noise- and pollution-related health problems, and the cars function as a giant battery for renewable energy in the city. Around 10 pct. of the private vehicle fleet in Copenhagen is electric, hybrids or running on biofuels or hydrogen. For the City of Copenhagen fleet, the figure is 85 pct. Large ve- hicles such as garbage trucks are increasingly running on anything but diesel. Several factors explain the popularity of these cars. Green cars were exempt from the hefty Danish car tax, and free parking existed for electric vehicles when they first appeared. Today, taxes on cars are linked to the level of pollution. All municipal tendering and procurement have fossil-free transportation demands. City zones for green cars only are established. Equally important, the range of most EVs is 300 kilometres – far more than the average daily commute.TipCopenhagen Clean Cab: The fleet of electric vehicles in Copenhagen functionsOne way to experiencethe sound of silence as a giant distributed battery allowing the city to makewhile getting around in the most of the renewable energy. Most electric cars areCopenhagen is to hail charged at night, when wind turbines often generate sur-one of the city’s many EVtaxis. Notice the energy- plus power. Energy is retrieved from the batteries duringefficient behaviour of the peak-demand hours to meet the daytime power needs ofdrivers – as eco-drivingcourses are mandatory. Copenhagen. (See Shopping chapter) 54 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  54. 54. A Danish fairytale Princess Evie and the Knight of Wind GETTING AROUND Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Denmark, the Knight of Wind was loved by the people as he would often help them cook their food and wash their clothes. But on stormy nights – when he wanted to help the most – no one needed him and no bed existed in which the Knight of Wind could rest. This left him exhausted by the next morning, when the people needed him once again. So the people were forced to burn oil – even though they had very little of it left – to cook and wash their clothes. Then, one stormy night, a princess arrived; a princess by the name of Evie. That night, the Knight of Wind was once again weary and looking for a place to rest. When the fair princess saw this, she offered him a large battery on which he could sleep. The next morning, the knight had slept well and was full of energy. All day and every day thereafter, he would help the people wash their clothes, cook their food and drive their cars. And Princess Evie and the Knight of Wind lived happily ever after.55 // GETTING AROUND
  55. 55. A vacation destination – for your ears, heart and lungsTipMost car owners charge Today, because of the popularity of e-mobility, bicycles,their EVs at home, butdue to a national action public transportation and ambitious environmental poli-plan for EV infrastruc- cies – such as environmental zones – Copenhagen enjoysture, you can also chargeat stations throughout reduced traffic noise and pollution.Copenhagen. Most ho-tels and some car parksalso feature charging However, only 20 years ago, a two-hour bicycle ride dur-stations. ing rush hour in Copenhagen, could be detected in your blood. Particles from traffic and woodstoves accounted for hundreds of premature deaths each year in the city. In fact, more people died because of air pollution than in road ac- cidents. Today, fewer people suffer from health problems such as hearing loss, lung cancer, asthma, stress, heart disease and sleep disruption caused by pollution. 56 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  56. 56. Getting Around – by public transportation Don’t bother hailing a cab when you arrive at Copenha- gen Airport. The Metro will take you to the heart of the city in 14 minutes. Use this time to get acquainted with the extensive public transit system in Copenhagen. GETTING AROUND Buses arrive on time and at frequent intervals, transfer Number of stations are easy to navigate, and an integrated ticket sys- passengers tem allows you to transfer between Metro, train and bus travelling on the – on land and water. metro per year, millions All stations feature intelligent information systems – of- 130 fering riders transit and real-time arrival information for easy use of different modes of transit. Stops are easily rec- ognizable, featuring the same red and white symbol – for the Metro, trains or buses. Notice how the Metro stations are designed to allow natural light to shine below ground 52 – creating a pleasant, well-lit setting and achieving energy 34 and maintenance savings. Besides allowing hassle-free transportation, the transit2004 2010 2018 system is also cited as a reason for Copenhagen’s impres- sive air quality. A large share of the buses in the city run on alternative fuels such as electricity or biofuels. These ef- forts have reduced the carbon emissions of the bus service in the city by 70 pct. in the last 15 years. Tip for the traveller – BIKE ON BOARD We recommend that you experience Copenhagen by bike, which can easily be combined with public transport. Bring your bike onboard trains for free. In especially designed bicycle compartments, you will find bicycle pumps to inflate your tires. The City of Copenhagen works continuously to improve the bike-public transportation connection as an attractive alternative to cars. 57 // GETTING AROUND
  57. 57. Quality – above and below When planning and designing larger infrastructureprojects in the Capital, there is a great opportunity to usethe project to enhance neighbourhoods at the same time.Therefore citizen involvement is encouraged. In order toincrease the quality of the area above the metro stations,locals were involved in the design of the cityscape.The metro stations in Copenhagen, are designed to ensure maximumusage of daylight. Furthermore, they are designed to blend in well withthe surroundings. Here we see the Metro station at City Hall Square. 58 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  58. 58. The CITY ring NordhavnThe Metro City Ring (theblue line) opened in 2018 Trianglen Nørrebros Runddeland knits the capitaleven closer together. ØsterbroGetting from Øster-bro (Trianglen) to theGeneration Z stronghold Frederiksberg Nørreport Vanløse Kgs. Nytorvat Vesterbro (EnghavePlads) is a 10-minuteride. From Vesterbro,you can get to vibrantNørrebro (Nørrebros Enghave PladsRunddel) in 6 minutes.Right next to the Metro,you’ll find Hans Christian AirportAndersen’s final rest- GETTING AROUNDing place at AssistensCemetery. Vest Amager Meet the Copenhagener Name: Oliver Bech ‘‘ Age: 40. Occupation: Bus driver Do you have a green job? I actually never considered whether my job is green or not, but it is green– very green. I’m a bus driver in the city driving a bus that runs 100 pct. on electricity, there is no exhaust, no particles pol- luting the air and no gasoline consumption. The amount of traffic in the city centre has been steadily declining over the past 10 years; there are almost no large trucks left here – my job has never been easier. When my day is over, the bus is hooked up to the city electric grid, feeding it with energy from the wind turbines off the coast of Copenhagen – I guess I truly have a true zero-emission job! The best part is that the more efficiently I drive, the larger is my bonus.59 // GETTING AROUND
  59. 59. ENVIRON- MENT THE GREEN AND BLUEBike lanes in COPENHAGENCopenhagen,km A unique attribute of Copenhagen is how the city has successfully managed to create an urban environment 482 that combines functional, sustainable and wonderful. During the past 15 years, targeted investments in a green- 369 er and better urban landscape have helped develop a city that not only is green, but also enhances the quality of life240 of its citizens. When visiting the city during spring, it becomes obvi- ous that for Copenhageners spending time outside equals the good life. Notice how, as soon as daytime temperatures1980 2010 2025 pass 10 degrees Celsius, parks, sidewalk cafes and city squares are richly populated by Copenhageners enjoying 60 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  60. 60. ENVIRONMENT the sunshine and making up for the winter’s lack of vita- min D. To accommodate this need to get outdoors, the city of- fers Copenhageners a multitude of recreational areas to choose from. Since 2015, Copenhagen has vowed to ensure that at least 90 pct. of its residents can reach a recreational area on foot in less than 15 minutes. Today, small parks known as pocket parks, harbour baths and green roofs can be found all over town offering a diverse variety of recrea- tional experiences for Copenhageners and visitors alike. Dive into the urban environment of Green and Blue Co- penhagen.61 // ENVIRONMENT
  61. 61. THE GREEN COPENHAGEN - POCKET PARKS, GREEN ROOFS & URBAN RECREATIONAL SPOTS With a population that has increased by more than a 100,000 during the past 15 years, Copenhagen doesn’t offer much room to create new big parks and recreational areas. Therefore, two new phenomena, inspired by cities such as New York and Zürich, emerged in the city: green roofs andGreen areas in pocket parks.Copenhagen:Copenhageners A pocket park is a small urban green spot usually locat-that live within ed adjacent to surrounding streets. It is a spot where Co-15 min walking penhageners meet, drink a take-away coffee, play sports,distance of a or simply just take a break from the fast-paced city life.public park, pct. Each of the 14 pocket parks in Copenhagen has distinct 90 characteristics – ranging from green and flowery gardens to a parkour playground for urban youngsters. The com- mon denominator for the parks is that they were trans-63 formed from unused urban spaces to green spots bring- ing together Copenhageners. They are great places to kick back and watch the Copenhagen way of life.2010 2015 62 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  62. 62. Besides the 14 pocket parks, Copen-hagen has a number of green bicycleroutes enabling Copenhageners to eas-ily reach recreational areas. Pocket park Green bicycle route Poul Henningsens plads ENVIRONMENT Glente plads Odinsgade Hillerød- gade Vanløse skole Stengade Dantes Tove plads Ditlevsens plads Reventlows- gade Gadekæret Litauens Cirklen plads Majporten Ved siloerne63 // ENVIRONMENT
  63. 63. Besides pocket parks, Copenhagen has sought to improve the conditionsof existing urban squares, turning them into recreational spots. Israel’sSquare, in downtown Copenhagen, for instance, was once a worn-outsquare. Today it flourishes, with Copenhageners enjoying sports facilities,and it completes the corridor between Ørsted Park and the BotanicalGarden. 64 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  65. 65. Copenhagen and the Urban Heat Island effect – INSIDE TIP FOR URBAN PLANNERS The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon that oc-curs when black roofs and grey pavement absorb and thenrelease heat that raises the ambient temperature in theimmediate area. In 2003, research conducted in Londonshowed temperature differences of up to 10 degrees Cel-cius between rural and urban areas due to the urban “heatisland” effect. Despite only occurring seldom in Denmark, these ex-tra degrees result in overheated buildings and exacerbatesummer heat waves, making homes, workplaces and pub-lic transport uncomfortable. Furthermore, increased tem-peratures have a significant impact on the health of citi-zens – especially the elderly. Lastly, higher temperaturesraise the demand for artificial, energy-consuming coolingsuch as air-conditioning. In Copenhagen, several solutions have been implement-ed which amongst other things help minimizing the urbanheat island effect: Green roof gardens on the buildings of Copenhagen havesignificantly lowered the heat storing capacity of build-ings in the city as excess heat is vaporized by water in theplants. Leaves on trees and plants absorb heat from the sun byvaporizing some of the water they contain during the sum-mer. Copenhagen’s many trees and green walls contributeto keeping temperatures down 66 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  66. 66. The more plentiful green areas in Copenhagen help keep temperatures down in summers with heat waves.Green open areas generally have lower temperatures and higher humidity than paved parts of the city. Andif parks are elevated compared to the surroundings, cooler air from the parks will during night time “tum-ble” downhill into surrounding neighbourhoods, pushing hot air upwards – nature’s own air-conditioning. Copenhagen roof gardens ENVIRONMENT – GREEN OVER GREY Historically, Copenhagen has been a city of green roofs. Many of the official historic buildings – Parliament, the Stock Exchange and churches – were built with copper roofs, which due to patina, turned green over time. However, the green roofs of “modern” Copenhagen tell a very different story. As the population grew and density increased, new ways of bringing ”green” into the city had to be found – a vision of green over grey was born. The first green roof gardens were built 15 years ago, when it was decided that all new buildings with flat roofs should have gardens. Since then, many have followed. When looking at Copenhagen from above today, you can spot hundreds of small rooftop gardens all over town. Being a city in the north, Copenhagen experiences its fair share of heavy showers and snow storms. Green roofs do not just make the city look pretty, they provide several advantages. They collect precipitation, minimize the ur- ban “heat island” effect and extend the life of the roof sig- nificantly, as plants and dirt protect against UV radiation, wind and water.67 // ENVIRONMENT
  67. 67. The Urban Green Corridor Although many rooftop parks are private, some of themost interesting ones are open to the public. One worthvisiting is the Urban Green Corridor at Kalvebod Brygge.Stretching across the roofs of The National Archives, abank headquarters and a 4-star hotel, this flowery corridorfor pedestrians and cyclists is a green short-cut, providingCopenhageners with an alternative to the car-filled streets.The Urban Green Corridor was a forerunner within thegreen-over-grey vision, inspired by the High Line in NewYork, and shows how to optimize the usage of urban spacein a busy metropolis. Bees in the city When walking around Copenhagen, you might spot beesflying from roof to roof cross-pollinating garden flowers.This used to be a rare sight in Copenhagen, but the greenroofs have provided habitat for more insects, bees amongthem. There are even examples of apartment co-ops host-ing beehives and harvesting the delicious CopenhagenHoney. 68 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  68. 68. THE BLUE COPENHAGEN PROMENADES AND HARBOUR SWIMMING Previously, the Copenhagen harbourfront was dominat- ed by commercial districts that divided the city between the “mainland” and the island of Amager. Today, this area has been revitalized with green promenades, harbour swimming pools and cafés that bring Copenhageners liv- ing on both sides of the water together. ENVIRONMENT The first Copenhagen harbour swimming pool opened in 2002 at Islands Brygge. It quickly became a huge suc- cess. Visit on a hot summer day and you will find families, students and businessmen alike enjoying the promenade and the water – enjoying the best of the green and the blue Copenhagen. The harbour in Copenhagen wasn’t always clean. At one time, it was considered a health hazard to go for a swim in it. Like many other big cities around the world, the harbour functioned as a back up when sewers flooded. More than 100 overflow channels fed wastewater into the harbour. The key to revitalizing the harbour was closing the over- flow channels and constructing underground delay pools capable of easing the pressure on the sewage system dur- ing heavy rains.Feel like cooling offon hot summer days?Look for the lollipop-coloured towers alongthe harbour marking apublic swimming pool,and feel free to takea swim in the cleanCopenhagen waters.The swimming poolon Islands Brygge wasthe first of these andopened in 2002.69 // ENVIRONMENT
  69. 69. 3Swimmingpossibilities 4 Harbour swimming pool Urban beach Winter swimming facility 1 2 5 blue hot spots of Copenhagen Today, you can walk down Copenhagen Harbour along promenades stretching all the way from the Valby Beach in the south to UN City in the north. Several public harbour pool areas offer you a place to cool down in the water, or enjoy a coffee at shore. 70 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
  70. 70. Kalvebod Wave 1 Kalvebod Wave is located just across from the popular Islands Brygge neighbourhood, and is a wave-shaped pier. Here, kayak-loving Copenhageners and visitors can rent kayaks to tour the canals of Copenhagen, or enjoy cultural activities at the new theatre scene established adjacent to the wave. Valby Beach 2 This recently established beach marks the southern tip of the Copenhagen Harbour area. Make sure you visit in late July when the annual “Green Concert” takes place. The musi- cal event attracts thousands of Copenhageners who swim at the beach during the day and listen to rock concerts in the adjacent Valby Park at night. Nordhavn harbour ENVIRONMENT 3 swimming pool Nordhavn is one of the city districts, and a place where you can experience the lifestyle of Copenhagen families. The local harbour swimming pool here is definitely worth a visit. It has been built to resemble Swedish skerries, and is made up of large pieces of rock placed in the water. Trekroner fortress 4 This old military installation used to be part of Copenha- gen’s defence towards the sea. Today, a newly established beach lets you go for a swim, and on a clear day you can spot the Swedish coast on the horizon. Grab one of the har- bour buses, and bring nothing but a towel and your swim trunks and visit this new Copenhagen hot spot. 5 The floating swimming pool When walking along the harbourfront, you might come across a large, strange floating device. This is the new floating swimming pool, which moves from place to place during the summer. A day spent in this swimming pool can take you past various sights, and let you see Copenha- gen from the seaside while cooling off in the pool.7 1 // ENVIRONMENT