Europe's most densely populated square kilometres - mapped

Back in the Spring, at the end of March, The Guardian published an article about "overstretched cities."

With the results from data compiled by Professor Alasdair Rae of the University of Sheffield, they produced a list of the 15 cities in Europe with the most densely populated areas within a single square kilometre. Curiously, London only managed to get into the list at 15 with a part of west London that has 20,477 people living within a single square kilometre. Top of the list was Barcelona with one block of a square kilometre that houses 53,119 people.

What was surprising was that Denmark had a place in the list at all but it was the area that is so densely packed with people that it made the list that is even more surprising. In at number eleven, with 22,381 people living within a block a kilometre across, was part of Frederiksberg immediately west of the centre of the city in Copenhagen.

The word being much used in the Danish press at the moment, in discussions about poor-quality housing in areas with problems, is ghetto but then this part of Frederiksberg is far far from being a ghetto. In fact, just the opposite. For young middle-class families in the city, the place to aspire to is this densely-packed area of apartment buildings.

What is even more important to understand, in terms of planning, is that this is an area of older apartment blocks dating from the late 19th and early 20th century, most of five or six floors, set around squares and streets with only one high-rise building and that is an office building and not apartments.

If there is a lesson for planners it has to be that density of occupation is not necessarily bad and certainly the solution is not that the only way is up.

Frederiksberg from air.jpeg

bricking up doorways

This is an interesting / amusing / odd example of fake brickwork …. and I still can’t decide if it’s a joke or it’s an attempt to hide a service door that wasn’t quite subtle enough to get away with the attempt at camouflage. Doorways are bricked up when a building is abandoned and derelict but this is a new building so is it a bit of irony or did someone see one of those drain covers that is actually a shallow tray that can be filled with cobbles or paving bricks so they blend in and is this that idea flipped upright? Whatever the reason … it’s not just another brick in the wall.



Courthouse, Frederiksberg by 3XN 2012

Hiroshi Sambuichi at the Cistern



The Cistern in the park of Søndermarken - close to the zoo and just south of the the palace of Frederiksberg - is a vast underground reservoir that was constructed in the middle of the 19th century to hold fresh drinking water for the city. Its use as a reservoir ceased in 1933 but it was not until 1982 that the space was drained of water and in 1996 it was converted into an exhibition space that is now run as part of the Frederiksberg museum service.

The current installation, designed by the Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi, brings water back into the subterranean space and uses natural light from above, controlled and directed by giant mirrors, to create a wonderful and disorientating experience with the space explored in deep gloom on broad walkways that have been constructed just above the water by Japanese craftsmen using timber from Japan.

To be discovered on this route through the dramatic space are a traditional Japanese wood bath tub; a giant clear-glass cube; a timber Japanese-style bridge that is crossed with the help of the light from paper lanterns and there is a mound of almost luminous, violent green, moss lit by light flooding down from the park above.

The opening times for the installation are controlled by the hours for sun rise and sun set and will change through the Summer and Autumn. 


the installation The Cisterns X Sambuichi continues at Cisterne until 2 Feb 2018