Sustainable Cities™

Carlsberg: Our town

The area in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, formerly occupied by the Carlsberg brewery is being developed as a new neighbourhood known as 'Our Town', where the focus will be on proximity, multi-functionality and social sustainability. The idea is to invite people to enjoy urban living and a multitude of activities in the area even before construction of the new buildings begins, so that the architects' designs can be based on the process and how the space is actually used.

Visualisering af den kommende by, Kulturpladsen, Arkitektfirmaet Entasis

 The aim of developing the Carlsberg area is to create a multifunctional district with the focus on economic, environmental and social sustainability. The master plan for 'Our Town' was conceived by Entasis Architects, who have drawn up plans for a district which, when completed, will comprise 3000 homes, commercial premises and institutions. There will be cafes and shops at street level and various different types of homes. The original buildings will be given new functions, new, environmentally friendly new buildings will go up, there will be good public transport, and a wealth of cultural offerings will bring the district to life.

One thing that makes 'Our Town' so special is that vitality and activity are being encouraged in the area before the building phase begins. Copenhageners have been invited to take over the area's open spaces and existing buildings. Networks of streets, passages, gardens, squares and buildings open to the public provide scope for all sorts of activities. Flea markets, modern dance events and art exhibitions will entice the citizens into the indoor and outdoor urban spaces. Observing which activities emerge and how well the various events are received will give architects the inspiration they need to design the new neighbourhood's buildings.

Illustration of the future city, Kammas Have, courtesy of Entasis Architects

The idea is to have a diverse medley of inhabitants from different social layers, generations and ethnic groups. Entasis intends to build a compact neighbourhood bustling with life both inside and in among the buildings. One way of achieving this will be to open the buildings' facades and establish cafes and shops at street level, with homes and offices above. Open spaces will be arranged to accommodate cars, cycles and pedestrians, who will move among each other without regulations, signs or separate walkways/roadways. The dense urban space will allow residents to come and go, get together in the shared areas, while at the same time showing consideration for each other.

Diversity will be achieved by combining rented, cooperative and owner-occupier dwellings in the same buildings. To provide variety in terms of occupancy, 8-10% of residents will pay extremely low rents and may, for example, work as janitors. The idea is that in time, tenants with limited means will improve their financial status through social integration and by making use of the neighbourhood's network, so that ultimately they will be able to buy a share in a cooperative flat or acquire an owner-occupier home. New residents will then be able to move into the cheap rented flats. The homes will be administered by Carlsberg and rented out on the basis of reasoned applications.

It is the intention for vitality and activity to emerge as a result of interaction between the inhabitants, intercultural encounters and the different experiences provided for the inhabitants as well as visitors to the neighbourhood. Many of the buildings will offer public functions at ground level, such as cinemas, theatres, schools and art galleries. By integrating many functions in the neighbourhood itself, people will be able to live, work, attend kindergartens, shop and enjoy cultural activities within the 'town limits'. In this way 'Our Town' will be a place where people have their homes and enjoy coherent everyday lives.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014