Copenhagen Gallery


Urbanplanen, the city’s largest car-free neighbourhood, has an old farmhouse, cozy kitchen gardens, new courtyards, playgrounds, and a new activity centre

Urbanplanen, the city's largest car-free neighbourhood, was built as a residential area between 1966 and 1997. Today the area has an old farmhouse, cozy kitchen gardens, new courtyards and playgrounds, and a new activity centre.

Public apartments

The apartments are grouped around a large public park that contains a playground, a small outdoor shopping area, and an associated primary school, library and church. The buildings consist of public housing in five-storey housing blocks and two eight-storey apartment buildings, as well as smaller row houses.

The decision to construct Urbanplanen came from then-mayor Urban Hansen. He was elected in 1962 on a pledge to build 25,000 more housing units in the municipality. The goal was to address the increasing lack of public housing.

Then came Ørestad

As with most public housing of that era, there was little diversity in tenants, and the buildings were left to decay. When the Ørestad plan was devised, neighbouring Urbanplanen was thrust into the spotlight. The city addressed the decay, ghettoization and crime in the area with a campaign called "Urban Development in Partnership."

The Partnership has been running since 2003 and seeks to renew and improve the housing area's natural environment while initiating activities to enhance the community socially and culturally, with a focus on children and adolescents. The objective at Urbanplanen was to renovate the facades and open spaces to improve Urbanplanen's image. From the start, residents were involved in the process.

Resident Democracy

The revitalization is comprehensive, and includes a complete renovation of all outdoor areas.

Engaging the residents has been a priority-residents wrote the guidelines for the architectural competition for the new "Hørgarden Centre," and served on the competition jury. Even local children made suggestions as to the design of new playgrounds. One resident was the project secretary for the renovation of the façade, another worked as a laborer.

The renovation of Urbanplanen has been a success story thus far. With the help of a process consultant (Tine Saaby, WITRAZ Architects), residents have been taken seriously. The process has, in addition to physical improvements, made residents proud to live in Urbanplanen-the task now is to overcome the prejudices of outsiders.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014