In Copenhagen, climate change has become an opportunity, making the Danish capital a recognisable model of intelligence and resilience: the need to minimise the risks associated with extreme weather phenomena has helped to improve the quality of life of its citizens. The turning point came in 2011, when a flood prompted local politicians to draw up the “Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan“, followed in 2012 by the “Cloudburst Management Plan”: these are the guidelines that have enabled the Danish capital to be redesigned in a sustainable way in recent years. The architecture firm ‘SLA‘, founded by Stig Lennart Andersson, has worked on creative landscape architecture solutions to respond to the threats of climate change, but also on projects that improve liveability for both residents and tourists. For example, in the district of Sankt Kjelds, the old working-class area near the city’s port, the asphalt areas have been reduced by 20%: inaugurated in 2013, Tàsinge-Plads (renamed ‘Water Park’) has become a rainwater storage basin. A series of ‘buffer spaces’ conserves large quantities of water and uses it to irrigate the greenery: there are paths through the trees for relaxing nature experiences, play areas for children and corners dedicated to wildlife. It is nature itself, with its “design”, that protects against noise pollution and mitigates heat islands in summer. The project also promotes social inclusion, physical and mental wellbeing and a green vision, making city life worth living. Copenhagen’s is a policy that can be borrowed anywhere, encouraging a re-harmonisation of man with nature in cities that are future-proof, but also more liveable today. The architectural studio ‘Tredje Natur‘, founded by architect Flemming Rafn, has designed the new Enghavepark (renamed ‘Climate Park’) in the heart of the working-class neighbourhood of Vesterbro, the most symbolic of the 300 projects planned to protect the city from flooding: the park is redesigned according to weather conditions and rainwater, channelled from roofs throughout the neighbourhood, irrigates the urban greenery, generating pools and temporary watercourses. The courage to deeply modify a historic city park has demonstrated the need to interpret the adaptation project as an ongoing process open to possible short, medium and long-term changes: the secret lies in the integration of action planning and intervention design. The Danish capital envisages that by 2025, 75% of the city’s mobility will be by bicycle, on foot or by public transport, and is gearing up to cope with the gradual rise in sea level with a dam to protect the Nordhavn area and a redesign of the Oresund coastline to the south of the city.
Architecture, Copenhagen, Denmark, Design, Economics, Housing, Nature, Scandinavia, SLA, Society, Tourism, Tredje Natur