Copenhagen Gallery

The St. Kjeld Climate District

Water towers, green roofs, urban gardens and canals will transform this old working-class area into Copenhagen’s very first “climate district"

At Outer Østerbro there is an area, through which many Copenhageners only seldom pass: the Saint Kjeld district. The wide tarmac streets, big brick buildings and ancient shop signs refer back to an age when this was a real working-class neighbourhood.

But soon a major makeover will provide the streets around Saint Kjeld Square with a completely new identity. It will become Copenhagen's very first "climate district".

"IMAGINE LISTENING TO the trickle of water and the chirping of birds in your neighbourhood…"

- that's what you hear on the St. Kjeld District's new website:, and that is the actual intention at the heart of  Tredje Natur's proposal. In December 2011 the architectural practice, Tredje Natur were awarded the task of developing a visionary plan to transform this district's streets and urban spaces into a green and fertile environment.

The goal is to give this old neighbourhood a new identity with green streets, gardens with flowers, rich wildlife and water channels.


The website acts both as an information portal and a platform for involving citizens. Residents can sign up for events, where they can learn about urban farming, green roofs for bicycle sheds and other climate-friendly initiatives, which the residents themselves can instigate in the neighbourhood.

On the website's calendar, residents can also follow the progress of the various public meetings being held. By actually attending the meetings they can be part of the important decision-making process, which will affect the future of the area.

In this way the residents of the St. Kjeld District are becoming personally responsible for the neighbourhood's new green identity. There will also be street-level urban gardens, which the residents themselves can take care of.

So the area's new green identity will also give the neighbourhood a social lift. Residents working together on the various green initiatives will improve the environment, not only on a climate level, but also on a social level.


In recent years Copenhagen has experienced significantly more rain, and the heavy rainfall has placed enormous pressure on the drainage system. The St. Kjeld Climate District will incorporate street-level solutions, which will channel water away from the neighbourhood. At the same time a solution to a problem can also become a stream for this green urban space, for the benefit of the area and its residents.

In concrete terms, cycle lanes will be constructed, which will also serve as rainwater outlets. In addition, water towers, green roofs, green gardens and channels will redirect the water away from the neighbourhood and towards Nordhavnen ("the North Harbour"), making the streets more fertile and creating greater biodiversity in the city.

"The Climate District projects show how, in one fell swoop, we can create beautiful, green streets and urban spaces, at the same time creating an effective technical solution to channel rainwater away from our streets and out to the harbour - instead of down into our basements. This is architecture, which integrates the technical and the aesthetic in a totally new and very exciting way." [Tina Saaby. City architect. Copenhagen]



The St. Kjeld District project is a major one, and incorporates many different initiatives. A couple of the major transformations are described here:

Narrower roads:

Tredje Natur have worked out that the roads surrounding the bigger areas can be 20% narrower. Right now the streets in the neighbourhood are extraordinarily wide. So they have been awarded a space of 50,000 m2 to convert into their green urban space.

St Kjeld Square:

The Square, which right now is an excessively wide roundabout, will be transformed into the green heart of the neighbourhood. On hot summer days a gigantic ring will emit a gentle spray of rain, and a wide variety of plant species will create an attractive landscape all year round on the gently undulating plot.

Tåsinge Square:

Today Tåsinge Square is a large area of tarmac, overwhelmed by traffic. The plan for urban renewal is to close off the traffic in Langøgade, thus creating a new, sizeable, green space with room for cafés and cultural life. The final decision regarding layout will be made in conjunction with residents.

Friday, November 23, 2012 / By Julie Nørgård Christensen

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014