Portait no. 4: Copenhagen

Copenhagen – Smart City
on a course for growth

The scent of the fresh sea breeze, the Baltic Sea at its doorstep: Water significantly shapes the image of the Danish capital Copenhagen, which has won several awards for its high quality of life. That it is pleasant to live here is documented in the “Global Liveable Cities Index”, in which Copenhagen ranks fourth among the world’s most liveable cities. Here we present the cultural and economic centre of Denmark in a portrait.

A “green lab” for sustainable urban development

Copenhagen is one of the most important cities in northern Europe. Some 1.6 million people live in Greater Copenhagen, in the city proper a good half a million. In addition to its charming scenic location, the port city owes its attractiveness to holistic urban development that has focused on the interests of citizens and the environment since the 1990s.

Image 1: Canals and world-class architecture characterise the Copenhagen cityscape.
Image 2: “Amanger Square” – a lively square in the middle of the shopping mile of Strøget – bustles with activity.
Image 3: The colourful gabled houses on the harbour of the Nyhavn district date from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Image 4: Amalienborg Palace, a rococo building from the 17th century, is the city residence of the Danish royal family.
Image 5: Tivoli is the second-oldest fun fair in the world and one of the main attractions of Copenhagen.
Image 6: Copenhagen is a bicycle metropolis: 36 per cent of the working population commutes to work by bike daily.
Image 7: The decommissioned former harbour areas in the centre are currently being transformed into new maritime residential areas.
Photos: Fotolia (4), Copenhagen Media Center (3)/Jens Lindhe, Ty Stange, Kasper Thye.

Leadership position in the Smart City movement

Recognised with the “Smart City Award 2014”

In recent decades, Copenhagen has invested heavily in the city’s development: Public spaces have been upgraded, bike paths expanded and green spaces created. Energy production is being gradually converted from coal and oil to wind and biomass. Innovative strategies in the areas of environment, transport and energy have given Copenhagen a leadership position in the Smart City movement.
For example, the Copenhagen project “Copenhagen Connecting” uses a wealth of data from GPS devices in public buses and sensors in rubbish bins to develop intelligent digital solutions for reducing traffic congestion and environmental pollution. The city's sustainable concepts set an example for other large European cities and were recognised with the “Smart City Award” at the Smart City Expo Fair 2014 in Barcelona.

Copenhagen is the “European Green Capital 2014”

For its exemplary commitment to environmental and climate protection, Copenhagen was named the “European Green Capital 2014” by the European Commission. The title awarded annually since 2010, honours urban concepts that succeed in a special way in bringing together environmental protection and economic growth with outstanding quality of life of the city’s inhabitants.
Copenhagen was recognised for accomplishments including its good cycling infrastructure, the nearly universal availability of district heating and the decrease in CO2 emissions by 24 per cent between 2005 and 2012.
“This award is international recognition for the targeted efforts of Copenhagen to create a green and sustainable city with high quality of life”, said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, at the award ceremony in Brussels in late 2013.

Goal by 2025: The world’s first carbon-neutral capital city

 Environmental protection is a priority

Among the ambitious environmental goals of the City of Copenhagen is the plan to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025. The journey there is governed by a “Climate Plan”, which includes standards for sustainable construction, energy efficiency guidelines and a well-developed mass transit and cycling network.

Cycling is part of the lifestyle

Whether for getting to work, going shopping or rambling through the city: Every day more than one million kilometres are covered by bike in Copenhagen. The best conditions for this are provided by 350 kilometres of cycling paths, which are to be extended to 500 kilometres by 2025.
A special service is available for visitors: at the many bike stations in the city centre, there are city bikes – known as “bycykler” – ready to be lent out at no charge.

Recreational areas reachable within 15 minutes

Green spaces and recreational areas make up a large part of the urban area. Many museums and castles are surrounded by green parks, which offer residents plenty of space to relax. Thanks to the manageable city centre and short distances, many parks can be reached on foot in just 15 minutes.

Green energy revolution in full swing

In Copenhagen, 98 per cent of households are supplied through a district heating system, whose energy is still largely produced from fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The proportion of “green” district heating is expected to increase continuously: The aim is to have a share of 30 per cent from renewable energy sources by 2020. By 2050 the energy supply should be completely converted to wind power, natural gas and biomass.
About 4 per cent of the energy required in Copenhagen is produced a few kilometres away at the “Middelgrunden” wind farm. The facility is a cooperative project in which the municipal utility “Copenhagen Energy” and small private partners each hold up to 50 per cent interest. The facility is a cooperativ project in which the municipality utility "Copenhangen Energy" and small private partners each hold up to 50 percent interest. Involvement of citizens in such wind energy projects is rewarded by the Danish government with tax relief.

Copenhagen grows on the water 

As a very liveable city, Copenhagen is attracting more and more people: By 2050 the city expects an additional 50,000 people in its central districts, which corresponds to population growth of up to 10 per cent. Copenhagen is already facing the future demographic challenges today and has zoned several building areas for attractive new neighbourhoods among other on the site of the decommissioned former ferry and industrial port in the city centre.

Image 1: In the maritime district of “Nordhavn”, housing for 40,000 people will be created in the coming decades.
Images 2 and 3: Living by and on the water: The high building density in the first phase of “Århusgade” in Nordhavn is broken up by inviting common areas on the waterfront.
Photos: Cobe Sleth Polyform Rambøll

Nordhavn – Maritime district for 40,000 people

One of the largest urban development projects in Scandinavia

Among the emerging neighbourhoods is the “Nordhavn” district, which connects to the Oesterbro district in the north. Within the next three to four decades, housing for 40,000 will be constructed, as well as an equal amount of jobs.
Essential features of the design of the neighbourhood are a dense urban structure of low-energy buildings with short distances to public transport, shops and inviting common areas on the waterfront.
The electricity and heat supply are to be ensured by renewable energy sources such as wind power, geothermal and biomass. In this way Nordhavn is supporting the overarching goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.

Further information

Official City of Copenhagen website: http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen-tourist