Copenhagen Gallery

Nordhavn District

The Sustainable City of the Future – Nordhavn will be a prime example. This former industrial area is being transformed into an entirely new, sustainable district. Nordhavn is Scandinavia’s largest and most ambitious urban development project to date, providing space for 40,000 residents and 40,000 jobs.

In the coming years, this major urban development will be taking place in Nordhavn, which is situated like a peninsula adjacent to the Copenhagen district of Østerbro. Until recently Nordhavn was best known as a port of call for cruise ships and container traffic. However, as the industry moved away, this created a unique opportunity to invest the old industrial area with a brand new identity and function. A consortium consisting of Cobe, Sleth, Polyform and Rambøll were responsible for the winning proposal for Nordhavn, which is now in the process of being realised. The project will progress over the next 40-50 years. Eventually Nordhavn will accommodate 40,000 residents and pave the way for the same number of jobs.

The Sustainable City of the Future

"The Sustainable City of the Future" is also the motto and vision for the Nordhavn project. The term, "sustainability" refers to every aspect of the concept, not just to environmental responsibility.  Six sub-points for the overall vision formed the framework for the competition's assignment, ensuring that every aspect of sustainability would be incorporated. The Sustainable City of the Future is at once: an environmentally friendly city; a vibrant city; a city for everyone; a city by the water; a dynamic city; a city with green traffic.

Six themes for Nordhavn

The winning proposal is based on six themes, which match the six points of the vision. The themes are as follows: Islets and Canals; Identity and Cultural Traces; Five-Minute-City; Blue and Green City; CO2-Friendly City; and Intelligent Grid.

Islets and Canals:
The overall concept divides Nordhavn into 11 islets, each with its own special identity. The 11 islets are divided by canals, which are made accessible, so people can easily reach the water or get right out onto it. In other places, "banks" of various sizes and character will be planted all over the area. The objective is to highlight and rethink the vision of a city by the water. The individual islets will accommodate a mixture of housing, businesses, public spaces, parks, natural areas and cafés. The various sizes of residence and types of ownership will create vibrant, diverse and exciting life on the islets.

Identity and Cultural Traces:
The history of Nordhavn and its cultural traces will be allowed to live on in this new district, which will be based on the original road structure, incorporating existing buildings and using local flora and fauna as a basis for new green areas.

Five-Minute-City:
The new Nordhavn will have a dense urban structure, where there will never be more than 5-10 minutes' walk to the nearest metro station, shops, workplaces or institutions, regardless of where you live on the 11 islets. The closer the city, the shorter the distances, which means it will be easier to organise all the city's functions with as little energy consumption as possible. The dense city will concentrate people, experiences and activities. This will minimise the energy consumption for transport, building and operation, making it an easy and obvious choice to walk, cycle and make use of public transport.  There are plans for an overhead Metro track, linking Nordhavn to the rest of the city. The overhead track will also serve as a cover for a super-cycle lane. The overhead track and the cycle lane will together constitute "The Green Loop", which will be the main traffic element on Nordholmene ("The Northern Islets"), a conscious attempt to make sustainable forms of transport visible in the public space.

Blue and Green City:
Future residents will have the opportunity to live in a dense district, which is at once within easy reach of the city centre and close to water and green areas. The islets will ensure a long, varied and attractive coastline with a wealth of opportunities for activities. At the same time the green areas are just around the corner: from local pocket parks, promenades and green spaces to open stretches of coast, beaches and sizeable areas of countryside.

CO2-Friendly City:
In terms of energy, Nordhavn will be developed sustainably by exploiting the possibility of building with a minimal use of energy and use of the existing, energy-efficient district heating network, which supplies the whole country with cheap and environmentally friendly energy. The other part of the plan is to generate energy from a number of alternative sources: e.g. from wind turbines; from biofuels extracted from sea lettuce, which can be cultivated in the sea around Nordhavn; and from geothermal energy (heat energy contained in the earth). All homes will also be low-energy buildings, including the use of sewage water in toilets.

Intelligent Grid:
Nordhavn is to be developed and expanded over a period of 40-50 years, thus facing an unpredictable future. That is why the developers have created a dynamic strategy for the physical design of the area. On one hand, it is resilient enough to provide fixed boundaries for the urban development; on the other hand, it is sufficiently open to be able to absorb future impacts without weakening the main structure. The perception should never be that the city is finished: the urban structure will develop, changing both appearance and function in the course of time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Thursday, December 11, 2014