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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It goes fast in Copenhagen these years.

New buildings, new neighborhoods seeing light of the day, and are being build in such a high-speed construction boom, that you sometime wonder if the standard of it is matching our city's, in general, high level of architecture.

Or, are we repeating the past catastrophic errors that we know from especially the sixties and the seventies, of which we still struggling with.

This is a thread about debating and showing bad decisions,
but also about how, and what we can do - now and at the long run - to ensure Copenhagens beautiful and harmonious expression and development.
 

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At the moment I think the worst recent building is this in Amager:


I think urbanism-wise we're doing OK, tho we need to re-start the construction of cheap small rental places -- rather than "rich people ghettoes." What makes Copenhagen (and most other cities tick is that people of varied backgrounds comingle, leave near each other -- and both choose to live in the city ... It's a balancing game and I think we have swung too far towards making the city a playground for the rich (as a correction to CPH being too poor in the 1980s) ... it's time to course correct ...

We should also think long term about the way we want the city to develop. For example, I see it as 100% assured that the railroad south of KBH H will be covered by development in the future ... but Postrgrunden does not set up for a seamless connection to Vesterbro at all. I think this will bite us in the butt in 5-10 years when that new development begins to take shape. Once electrification finishes, we can cover a lot of the railroad -- we should really begin planning for that now.

Finally -- I find it that we're not learning enough from the old neighborhoods when planning the news ones - namely street-side shops and inner courtyards . Sydhavn has too few buildings set up for shops, the area is too quiet, too suburban. Further, in Norhavn we keep choosing developments that forego the best invention of European urban design - the inner courtyard ... I think this is something we are dumb to move away from.
 

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I agree mostly with dysharmonica. I think the newest districts are actually relatively well designed, but still fairly suburban, and we need more properly urban areas. Sydhavnen for one actually does have a fair few buildings with ground floor retail, but a lot of the storefronts are still empty. They also seem a bit too spread out - i think it would have been more succesful to designate one area as the "centre" (maybe around the bridge connecting Teglholm and Sluseholm) where the most street life can happen.

I sometimes wonder if the model of having very large developers and master-planned areas might hold some areas back - maybe in order to make an area succesful you need many smaller buildings in one block rather than big blocks built one by one (see for instance here).

Also, designs in some areas is kind of dull (like that block on Amager). We could take some more inspiration from Malmö where the newer areas achieve a lot of variety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I agree mostly with dysharmonica. I think the newest districts are actually relatively well designed, but still fairly suburban, and we need more properly urban areas. Sydhavnen for one actually does have a fair few buildings with ground floor retail, but a lot of the storefronts are still empty. They also seem a bit too spread out - i think it would have been more succesful to designate one area as the "centre" (maybe around the bridge connecting Teglholm and Sluseholm) where the most street life can happen.
Good thoughts.

'Butikstorve' as we know them planned and build in the 60 and 70s, usually located in less dense neighborhoods with 4 - 5 - 6 shops, are some of the most suburban I can think of.

Though, if you place them among carrés with a high density as we know e.g. in Sydhavn, it might be another story.

In Ørestad City the maybe last chance of having a 'real centre', is probably being passed by with the now ongoing construction of Kay Fiskers Plads.
The construction is so huge so it will probably not create any kind of mid town feeling.

On the other hand, the planners did a good job in the August Schade quarter, it feels quite urban when moving around, even though it is a limited area.
 

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The whole problem as I see it is structural, that is, it's the big developers market that we have developed. The problem stems from the huge amount of regulations that makes it hard for smaller investors to build just one building next to another. The process of creating the Copenhagen we all love was fast and chaotic, but it ended up with a fascinating mix of styles and uses for buildings because of the many different people developing for their own means and ends. As it is now, it's far to complicated and expensive for smaller players and we and up with monofunctional boring building blocks.
This is really the way forward, opening up the market, putting up plots for variety and functions. Dentistoffices on one floor, a law firm on another, some apartments and a shop on street level, which secures a flow of life and people.
In Aarhus the so-called new "brokvarter" is just blocks of dense housing with a Netto. That's not very fresh or city-like.
 

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^^ I Think the damage was done when we cleared all the yards in Vesterbro, Fredeirksberg and all other inner neighborhoods ... at this point .. saving one yard (to me) hardly makes a difference. Tho -- maybe the city should think for a moment "Where should budding artist businesses have studios?" There are solutions to this question that do not include "buildings abandoned by all other interests" .. but for now, I am not seeing a lot of thought put into creating spaces where artists (small artistic businesses) can get started.

I also see the-other-side argument to this, with clearing the poverty and crime and all that -- I think the lack of "charmingly dilapidated inner yard buildings" is distinctively Danish/Scandinavian in that the society and government worked to lift ALL people from these conditions, and agreed we ALL should live in a 70sqm apartment with a balcony.
These kinds of "charmingly dilapidated" places seem to be way more prevalent in cities that do not care THAT much about making sure every last person lives in a decent apartment.
 

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^^ Well said,

but aren't we a little obliged to preserve some of the remaining few examples of old architecture for the future generations when we're capable to do so?

Not so much of a sentimental reason, but more as a physical documentation.
but .. what kinds of an architecture is this? There are all "lean-tos" as Americans called them - shacks attached to the main house.

That said -- The answer to your question would be much easier if we stopped building "rich ghettoes" and properly focused on fixing the housing market (one can dream), because I am all for expanding and renewing our housing stock for all - even at the expense of some nostalgia. I lived in the US for too long and have scars seeing them giving up on providing housing for my generation ... and believe the whole western world just gave up on the idea that people now in their 30s deserve decent housing for their wage ... but that is a conversation for another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^^ It's maybe not high architecture standards these old worned-out back yards environment represent, but they certainly has a culturally valeur and that's the whole point. (to me at least)
This city is over the centuries literally build on shit, mud and garbage in layers, and many of these back yards are symbols of our danish (Copenhagener) historical heritage that brought us where we're today. This is not America were land could be taken in immense amounts, but a city that historically was so encapsulated by the fortication ring, that every of inch of space had to be used in an almost bizarre way.
The inner, and to some extent, outer Nørrebro, whose represent some the worst speculation construction ever seen, of which land owners exploited roughly and build the worst slum in Denmark. With a lot of human tragedies like poverty, diseases and violence to follows.

This is of course not positive, but one of the reasons why it should be preserved for the future generations. So people can see and learn from the past, but also because there's a direct line to danish lille-by mentality. We enjoy and find these narrow, snowy environment interesting creative.

We also know from todays city and urban planning's, that architects and other professionals are struggling with finding the holy grail how to design human friendly new towns and quarters.
It's damn difficult.
But one of the tools that are used, is to minimize the structures, small spot with sun and shelter. Everything you find in many of the old back yards.

Final an anecdote. An american once told me that americans prefer big fat hotels (which of course, is a terribly generalization). They simply feel more save and more comfortable in these.
Where a dane by any time, would pick the cosy and smaller ones (again another generalization)

I don't know if this make any sense :lol:
 

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