Sustainable Cities™

Roskilde: Storm Water Skate Park

Climate change has encouraged and challenged designers of varying disciplines to develop exciting solutions to new problems. The most successful solutions tend to make our lives more enjoyable in modest fashion. With cloudburst rain-events occurring more frequently and resulting in extreme urban flood conditions, a high awareness has been given to the adaptation of drainage and collection systems throughout Denmark.

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Roskilde is among the municipalities in Denmark where sewers experience an overflow during cloudburst rain events, or rather when more than 20mm of rain falls in a few minutes. A creative approach, developed by architect Søren Nordal Enevoldsen, combines a modern problem, sewer overflow, with a modern obsession -  skate parks.

A 40,000 square meter park, Rabalder, has been constructed in Musicon, a new district in the city of Roskilde, close to the field where the Roskilde Festival takes places every year. The system combines rainwater harvesting with an activity park, with major features doubling recreational and storm-water management basins. Three separate basins are used for collecting water, in which rainwater is lead down a 9m wide by 440m long open channel to the first basin. When the first pool has exceeded capacity, rainwater then proceeds to the second and third basins. The third basin is designed to handle 10 year rain events - the most powerful rain events that occur statistically only every 10 year.


Along the pathway of the park are other features meant for users who are not on wheels, such as hammocks, barbecue pits, and trampolines. The park in total cost 25 million Danish Kroners (DKK), or 4.7 million USD, and has been developed with the support of Nordea Foundation, Unicon Beton, and the Roskilde Festival Charity Society. The concrete skate-basins, or bowls, were designed with the help of Grind Line, and American company.


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The success at Radbalder has prompted the creation of Vandplus, a 12 million DKK partnership between the Danish Construction Fund, Realdania, and the Danish Nature Agency.  Four projects will demonstrate how infrastructure for climate change adaptation can both be functional and social. On September 5th 2013, all projects will be present in an open and free conference in Copenhagen.


Musicon is a former concrete factory, spanning 250,000m2, or 40 football fields, currently going through a unique urban planning process. The district has been referred to as a laboratory where citizens along with entrepreneurs collaborate to develop a hotspot for culture, business, and education. This dialogue emphasizes temporary projects and only plans what is truly necessary, for instance the storm-water features. In 15 years time the area hopes to establish housing for 650 dwellers, and 2,000 new jobs, composed of the most sustainable experiments. The mantra of the project is 'life before the city'.


Image Credit: Rune Johansen

Read More:

Cleveleys: Taking Steps Against Flooding

Copenhagen: From Sewer to Harbour Bath

Thursday, April 18, 2013 / By George Peter Surovov

Last updated Tuesday, March 10, 2015