Since a few years Copenhagen is among the coolest destinations in Europe and perheps on the planet, always ranking at the top in the quality of life surveys. For leisure or business the Danish capital features the biggest, the newest, the most innovative, cosmopolitan and green population, business, food, technologies, buildings, design, lifestyle etc. Growing by 1000 inhabitants per month, investing in infrastructure, education, innovation and quality of life, expanding and connecting with the most dynamic realities in the world, Copenhagen is a living example of how, even in times of bitter crisis, opportunities are there.
I was in Copenhagen at the beginning of December for the URBACT Annual conference. This time I could not plan any random walk as I always try to do when travelling. My only walk around was a 3 hours guided tour (sic!). For the first time in my life I had the disturbing experience to visit a place – the Ørestad – entirely by bus. No way to put your feet on the ground.
This was the view from my hotel room at the DGI Byen, very comfortable urban location.
In the world capital of cycling, tough people cycle even by snow and ice.
The Ørestad is a striking example of urban planning and city marketing: a city expansion in the middle of nowhere, in a windy and rather unfriendly natural landscape, featuring excentric architecture, excellent infratsructure and mixed use. Above a picture of the so called Bella Center, where the UN Climate Change Cop 15 took place. Not really attractive to me, but have a look at their website to see how you can make it attractive.
The Ørestad is an interesting building site where you could see the most advanced building technologies at work, to realise world class architecture the Danish are very proud of and supportive. Here you can see the official presentation/advertising of this urban development: very attractive indeed. I still have not decided if I should believe to my eyes or to these dreams!. Bjarke Ingels calls it the “realistic utopia”, or something like that. Indeed it is a real challenge to dream in this cold and windy flatlands.
On the left side, out of the picture, you should imagine the 8-House.
Urban density is not really an issue here, not yet. Every building is a piece of urban fabric on its own.
This is not the best side of Bjarke Ingel’s (BIG) and Julien De Smedt (JDS) Mountain Dwellings, but you have to take a picture anyway!
Again the Bella Center, from the other side of the loop.