“when we reside differently we behave differently”

 

 

When the Danish Architecture Centre moved into its new building last summer, their first major exhibition was called Welcome Home and looked at Danish housing. The first section to that exhibition was a timeline that gave an overview of the development of housing in Denmark through the century from 1900 and then the main part of the exhibition looked at recent housing … at how the planning and the building of homes is evolving and changing with new requirements for appropriate homes; new configurations of living space; new approaches to conservation and the use of new building materials and new construction methods.

Immediately after that time line - and really part of the introduction - there was an important section that looked at statistics for housing in Denmark … first at data that marks out some of the differences in lifestyle when people own their homes and  when people rent their homes and then at data that demonstrates that there are now many different types of household. And these different family dynamics seem to suggest that different people now need different types of home at different stages in their lives.

Particularly in Denmark, a well-established and strongly democratic country with less-obvious extremes between wealth and poverty than in may countries - it is easy to assume that change is now relatively slow and that a home is simply a home and most people live in much the same way. In fact, statistics show that society is changing quickly … or at least quickly when compared with the time needed for planners, architects and builders to respond by trying to build the homes people want in the places where people want to live.

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data to plan for housing needs in the future

Danskerne i det byggede miljø / Danes in the built environment is a detailed annual survey that asks Danes about their homes.

Information for the most recent report was gathered in April 2018, when 7,090 people completed a questionnaire from Kantar Gallup A/S for Bolius. The results have been published by Realdania and the most recent edition is now available on line.

These surveys have been conducted every year since 2012 so now they provide an important data base but have also tracked changing attitudes so they should influence decisions by planners and should prompt architects, builders and designers to assess carefully the real problems people encounter because the surveys show how people perceive problems and show how these are prioritised. 

The survey is published with general points and summaries but most of the information is set out in a large number of tables. These provide a fascinating insight not just into day-to-day practical problems people have and about the way they complete maintenance and repairs but also broader issues about neighbourhoods - about what makes a good neighbourhood - and how all these factors together influence how people rate the quality of their lives.

More than 6 out of 10 Danes believe that their home is important when they consider the quality of their life … for 22% of Danes  their home is of very high importance and for a further 41% their home is of high importance when they consider the quality of their lives.

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Realdania - full report to read on line or it can be download as a pdf file

 

next lines for the metro in Copenhagen


construction work where the new metro line at Nordhavn emerges from underground and rises up to the new station at the start of the elevated section of track

the new station from Orientkaj

Even before the new inner-city circle line of the metro in Copenhagen has opened, there are ongoing discussions about the stage after the next stage - if you follow what I mean!

Construction work is progressing fast on the spur line of the metro that will go out to Nordhavn - the north harbour district - and, eventually, on out to the cruise ship terminals and, in the other direction, the south spur down to the south harbour - the Sydhavnslinjen - is also moving forward fast with the green boarding up around the site of the excavations for the new station at Enghave Brygge near the power station. That line will continue on to Ny Ellebjerg where it will link with the main suburban train lines and both these metro lines should open in 2025.

So, the next new section of metro, and still at the planning stage, could be an M6 line to form an arc across the top of the island of Amager. It would link the two original metro lines that head south down through Amager - so the M1 down to Ørestad and Vestamager through Islands Brygge and the M2 line down to the airport through Amagerbro - but will also continue west and through a tunnel to re-join the circle line and to the east, beyond a new station at Refshaleøen, the east end of the new line will also go under the harbour - either to form a link back to the new circle line at Østerport or to run north to Nordhavn.

Even more ambitious are proposals for a further new line out from the M6 - an M7 line - that could take the metro under the Øresund to Malmö in a new tunnel some 22 kilometres long to be excavated on a line north of the Øresund Bridge.

From Copenhagen central station to Malmö central station would then take about 23 minutes and the line could be finished and opened by 2035.

Obviously, this will be another amazing engineering project in the city but, more than that, such major infrastructure will influence how the city will work in the future - so which areas will prosper and change because of these new fast transport connections - and it will form the framework for major developments and major expansion of the city through to the middle of the century and on.

 

UN 17 village on Amager by Lendager

January 2019 - the site for the UN17 Village by Lendager Group - the view is looking north along what is called Promenade - the west boundary of Ørestad - Kalvebod Fælled is to the left

Recently, it was announced that housing on the last large plot in Ørestad Syd where building work has not started will be designed by the Lendager Group and Årstiderne Arkitekter and the engineers Arup.

At the south-west corner of Ørestad, it is perhaps the most prominent site, in this major development area in Copenhagen with the open ground of Kalvebod Fælled immediately to the west and to the south an artificial lake and then extensive views out over pastures and meadow.

Given the character of the site, it seems appropriate that this project should go to an architectural practice that is establishing its reputation around its innovative approach to sustainability. In fact, the large development of apartment buildings here is being described as a village and promoted as the first development project in the world that will address all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Concrete wood and glass used in the new construction will be recycled materials but also the housing will be designed to provide an opportunity for the residents to have a sustainable lifestyle.

There will be 400 new homes here in five housing blocks with courtyards and rooftop gardens. Rainwater will be collected with up to 1.5 million litres of water recycled every year.

It is planned to be a mixed development - a very mixed development - with 37 different arrangements of accommodation - called typologies - with family dwellings; co living and homes for the elderly along with communal space; a conference centre to host sustainability events; an organic restaurant and greenhouses with plans for schemes for food sharing.

When completed, there will be homes here for 800 people and 100 jobs.

Initial drawings show that the design will break away from the grim style of many of the recent and nearby apartment developments in Ørestad, replacing flat facades of dark brick with what appears to be a regular and exposed framework of pale concrete piers and beams with balconies and glass set back within that grid and although high at the north end, the blocks will step down in a series of terraces so they will be lower in height towards the lake and the open common.

UN17 Village, Lendager Group

 

drawings from Lendager Group

 

UN17 village overlooking Kalvebod Fælled

This view of Amager shows the area of Ørestad marked with a dotted white line and the plot for housing designed by Lendager at the south-west corner marked in orange and was produced simply to show the site and the context.

From the air - and, of course, on the ground - you can see how the proposed housing will be at a key point between the densely built up housing blocks of Ørestad and the open common of Kalvebod Fælled.

It also shows the extent of Ørestad for readers who have not been to Copenhagen or do not know this part of the city although, actually, the 8 building by Bjarke Ingels just to the east and also looking across the common is now a tourist attraction.

Copenhagen airport is obvious but what might not be so obvious is the odd small tongue in the sea in the centre of the east or right side. That is the end (or start) of the rail and motorway bridge linking Copenhagen and Malmö ... the road and rail links drop down into a tunnel between the shore and the bridge. The road and rail links run east west and straight through the centre of Ørestad which is why Ørestad City with a rail and metro interchange was planned as a major business centre.

At the centre, at the top of Amager, are the distinct lakes and 17th-century defences around Christianshavn and above that part of the historic centre of Copenhagen.

It is the first time I have produced a map of this part of the city for this blog and I realised that I have a slightly misplaced or distorted view of Ørestad. Over the last five years or so I have done the trip out to this part of the city at fairly regular intervals - partly because I like having a coffee in the lakeside restaurant in the 8 Building with a view out over the common - but mainly because I want to watch and to photograph the area as it develops. A standard trip is to get the metro out to the end of the line, have a coffee and then walk back to where I live in Christianshavn exploring and taking photos.

The metro emerges from its tunnel alongside the university area at the north end of Ørestad and then curves round past the distinctive blue cube of the Danish Radio concert hall before running the full length of Ørestad on an elevated concrete track.

The image I have is of a very large or rather a very long and densely built up development but flanked by the much older areas of small plots and gardens and individual houses to the east and open common land to the west and south. That much is true but somehow I had set in my mind that Ørestad was almost a sixth digit on the famous Copenhagen Finger Plan … even if that seems like a slightly perverse understanding of anatomy. But it's not a finger. The Fingers are much much larger, much longer and much more suburban in character, so a string of housing and centres for shopping and commerce and based along the lines of the suburban railway. I'm not sure how Ørestad fits in my mind map of the city now … maybe a name tag hung from the wrist.

Nansensgade 57

 

This plot on Nansensgade - a street a few blocks out from Nørreport - has been empty since the late 1980s … simply a gap in the street frontage with a garden behind a fence.

The new building here was designed by Christensen & Co and completed last summer.

Built by the city social services, the apartments are for vulnerable young people and are used as a staging post to give them help and support before they move on to more independent lives.

It is a narrow plot, so the entrance door is set off to one side - leaving space for one shop on the ground floor and the staircase is at the back, turned to run up across the garden side. On the floors above, the apartments are arranged to follow the well-established Copenhagen form with two apartments at each level, one to the right and one to the left, with the pattern broken at the top floor where there is a ninth apartments on one side and a roof terrace to the other.

To the street the façade has a checkerboard pattern of plain copper panels that step forward boldly to give privacy to the balconies of each apartment and narrow windows in the sides give views up and down this lively street.

My career has been spent working on historic architecture and conservation but that does mean that I can't appreciate good modern architecture even if, as here in a good street of good buildings with a distinct character, it seems to break many of the conventions.

Breaking rules or breaking conventions or, as here, breaking forward of the regular line of the facades along the street, is fine if it's done knowingly. Rules and conventions should not be broken just for the sake of it but here it clearly adds a dynamic to the street frontage and the choice of material and the colour is spot on.

Christensen & Co

 

new information panels on the Metro

 

Metro stations in Copenhagen are to have new flat-screen information panels on the platforms and these are part of a new information system.

The first of these new signs were installed at Vestamager and Ørestad at the end of 2018 but all the old-style signs will be replaced in all the stations over the next few months.

This is part of the preparations for July this year when Cityringen - a new inner city line - is to open.

It will be interesting to see not just how platforms and linking staircases are laid out at the new main interchanges - Kongens Nytorv will be an exceptionally busy station where the exiting lines and the new line cross - but also interesting to see where signs are placed and how signs and graphics will be used to control and direct the movement of people.

Commuters tend to move fast on auto pilot but at Kongens Nytorv, but also at Nørreport and at the new station at the City Hall, commuters will come up hard and fast against huge numbers of tourists who are new to the city and its transport systems and that's where that interface between design and human behaviour is crucial.

Can anyone explain why people stop in their tracks at the most inconvenient places - like immediately at the top of an escalator or the bottom of a flight of steps - to look at a map or gaze up to the ceiling? Are they looking for divine intervention?

There should be a new code of conduct … if you are lost step to the side.

And actually the same should apply when your mobile phone rings. Watch. It's amazing just how many people either stop walking wherever they are or at best slow down noticeably when their phone rings. I'm not sure that signs with even the cleverest graphics could deal with that problem.

Alfred Nobels Bro

 
Alfreds Bro Map.jpg
 

A new harbour bridge, Alfred Nobels Bro, was opened in the middle of December.

In the south harbour, south-west of the centre, the bridge crosses Frederiksholmsløbet - a wide canal off the main harbour - and links Enghave Brygge and the area around the shopping centre of Fisketorvet - to the large area of new apartment buildings of Teglholmen.

The north side of the bridge is close to the power station H C Ørsted Værket and close to the site for a new metro station. Until the excavations and work for the metro are completed in 2023, the new bridge can only be used by cyclists and pedestrians but it will then take all vehicles.

This is the final link that completes the 13 kilometre circuit around the inner harbour for bikes and walkers and runners.

The canal here is 90 metres wide and the bridge deck is wide with two lanes for traffic at the centre; wide lanes for bikes on both sides and wide pavements. The pavement on the side looking inwards, down the canal, is bowed outwards and has a broad single bench, with its back hard against the road, 70 metres long and with a bowed shape that follows the plan of the bridge itself.

It's not clear why the bench faces down the canal rather than towards the open harbour unless the idea is that people will sit here to catch the last of the evening sun - an attempt to repeat the way that Dronning Louises Bro over the lakes to the west of the city is used as a popular place for people to sit in the evening before they head home from work.

The deck is supported on pairs of concrete columns that lean outwards but the structure is so large that it can hardly be called elegant and until the new apartment buildings are completed it really would be difficult to describe the views from the bridge as attractive.

The team behind the design of the bridge were COBE Architects, the engineers MOE, Arkil Holding A/S and G9 Landscape who made the mahogany bench.

shopping in Jægersborggade

 

 

In the middle of December The Guardian newspaper published an article that listed ten "cool shopping districts around the world". These were "readers tips" so not exactly a methodical survey but nevertheless interesting. Included in the list was Jægersborggade in Copenhagen.

 read more

 

select any image to open in slide show

 

Langebro - a new museum

 

Plans have been submitted to the department of Culture and Leisure for permission to create a new museum for Langebro with a new café in the substructure of the bridge on the Amager side.

There has been a bridge here since the 17th century but the present bridge designed by Kaj Gottlob was completed in 1954.

On the 17 January 2019 there will be a meeting about the bridge and the new museum at the nearby Kulturhuset down the harbour from the bridge and there is information about the bridge and about the proposed museum here.

 

update on the new bridge over the harbour

from the Christianshavn side of the harbour

 

On the Christianshavn side of the harbour, the paving and the cycle route with a bollard to separate out those coming from those going have all been laid out but the base for the new bridge has been covered temporarily with timber.

Round concrete piers for the bridge and the barriers to protect those piers are finished and on the far side - where the bridge lines up with the end of Vester Voldgade - next to BLOX - there are even traffic lights where cyclists will have to cross Christians Brygge - the main road with heavy traffic that runs along the quay. Again the base where the bridge lands on the city side has been covered for now with boarding. All it needs is the bridge … or rather all it needs is the remade bridge after the first version was dropped from a crane as it was being shipped from the manufacturer in the Netherlands.

There was a competition to name the new bridge and the most likely name seems to be Lille Langebro or Little Long Bridge as it crosses the harbour beside the main road bridge that was built in the 1950s.

Historic maps show that the new cycle bridge is on the line of an earlier Langebro so should it be the New Old Long Bridge? When the ditches of the city defences were filled in around 1870, a line of new apartment buildings were constructed along the line of bastions on the outer side of Vester Voldgade and H C Andersens Boulevard was laid out between those buildings and the Tivoli gardens. The map below from the 1860s shows, towards the top left corner, the old west gate to the walled city in the area of the large square in front of the town hall that was built around 1900.

a load of balls

 

There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attacks in cities around the World and in Copenhagen public spaces and pedestrian streets have been protected with different forms of barrier to keep out unauthorised vehicles. Across the entrance front of Christiansborg, the palace and the Danish parliament buildings in the centre of Copenhagen, a barrier of large, roughly-cut blocks of stone was a short-term solution to stop vehicles driving across the large public square.

Now, work on a permanent solution is almost finished.

At Slotsplads or Castle Square the large apron of cobbles in front of the castle with its equestrian statue of Frederik VII has been re-laid with new granite setts. There are now electric security barriers at entry points that drop down into the pavement to give official vehicles access and in a curve around the edge of the public space there is a sweep of very large stone balls - spheres in light grey granite 110 centimetres in diameter that are set close together.

It is not quite finished but recently temporary wire fences around the work site and plastic sheeting, that protected the stone spheres as work on laying the paving was completed, have all been removed.

Walking home the other evening just as it got dark was probably not the right time to take the best photograph but it does show one slightly odd thing: possibly because the fences have only just been removed or possibly because the spheres are actually set so close together but, for whatever reason, pedestrians do not seem to have reclaimed the space. Nobody was taking the short cut across the front of the building. Everybody was keeping to the edge of the square and keeping to the pavement outside the stone balls.

Steps across the front of the building in concrete have been rebuilt in the same pale granite and there are other changes that, although not dramatic, are important. Ornate, historic lamp standards will be moved back to the square but now to form a line straight across the façade and trees on the square that were felled for the work are not to be replanted where they were before but there will now be a line of 12 new trees on the far side of the road that runs across the front of the space between the square and the canal. With trees on the far side of the canal, this will create a new avenue flanking not a road but here a waterway and this will create a formal but natural edge to the public area. Parking bays for buses and coaches have been moved away so they intrude less.

Design work here is by GHB Landskabsarkitekter and there are interesting and important aspects to the new scheme. The work was extensive and features like felling the trees seems right now to be drastic but as soon as work equipment is moved away and people start reusing the space, it's likely that few will actually remember the earlier arrangement. Replacing the cobbles has changed the character of the space particularly as the previous pattern that radiated out from the entrance has been replaced with a regular and consistent arrangement of the granite setts making it perhaps starker but also more discrete and less in competition with the building to make the space grander and the high quality of the materials and the quality of the new work are also important as this respects and reinforces the significance of this major public and national space.

GHB Landskabsarkitekter

update - waste recycling in Christianshavn

the waste recycle bins on Overgaden Neden Vandet from the other side of the canal

 

 

Since a post here back on 6 October on the new trial waste recycle stations in Christianshavn there has been a development …. another station and with another three bins has appeared on the quay of Overgaden Neden Vandet.

It is similar to its companion, three metres or so away, with dark red metal cladding and a beguiling wooden seat, but it is not an exact clone … the slots are different and the labels showing what waste goes where have been shuffled around.

The paranoid think computers will take over the world and dispense with the people who made them but it would be ironic if we are watching and worrying about the wrong thing … now there are two on the canal side will there be shenanigans at night and a gaggle of baby waste bins soon? The one at the far end of the quay, with the books and the propaganda must be the ringleader but it's when the computers put their waste straight into the recycle bins that we have to worry. They must be watched.

Platant
Krilov Architects

the new waste recycle bins (closest to camera) and the notice explaining the scheme on the first

Recycle in Christianshavn

 

Two new recycle stations have been installed in Christianshavn on the quayside of the canal along Overgaden Neden Vandet. They take paper, plastic waste and metal in separate bins with your rubbish going in through clearly-labelled slots on the side away from the canal. These are sited to help people living in smaller and older apartment buildings nearby where there is not the space to have the large plastic recycling bins found in the courtyards of larger buildings.

Both are relatively tall and long but narrow and with rounded ends. One, nearly opposite Sofiegade, has metal cladding in a dull deep red and has an extended bench at one end, with an open circle cut out at the centre for a round table and the other, close to Bådsmandsstræde, is the same shape but is longer, with an additional bin to separate out paper and cardboard, and is covered with vertical strips of dark stained timber. It also has a bench at one end although here there is no table but, across the opposite end to the bench, this waste station has a curved cupboard with shelves inside that hold books for a book loan / book exchange scheme.

After depositing your rubbish, you can sit and watch what is going on along the canal or you can pick out a book to read. The only instruction for the books is a notice that suggests that it is a bit selfish to take away more than two books a day.

The waste stations are designed to take standard bins inside - both 660 litre and 240 litre bins - and the length can be shortened or extended to take fewer or more bins as appropriate for different sites.

These recycle stations along the canal are here for a trial period to assess how much they are used and to get the views of local people. They are certainly a good alternative to the large plastic recycle bins on streets nearby although one local woman, who saw me taking photographs, told me she thought the design was heavy and ugly. This seemed to be mainly because now, when she comes out of her apartment, she no longer has a clear view across the canal and down the street opposite and, I have to admit, it was a very nice view. Her own theory was that people in the planning department hated long open views down streets and wanted to close everything down into smaller spaces. Sort of the opposite to Haussmann?

Two design practices from Copenhagen - Platant and Krilove Architects - cooperated on the project.

Platant
Krilov Architects

 

the rain is coming - Heimdalsgade

In 2015, an exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre - The Rain is Coming - set out the repercussions for the city from major changes in climate.

One obvious problem, already experienced in the city, is that sudden and heavy rain storms overwhelm the drainage system, so streets are inundated with water, traffic is severely disrupted, property damaged and drains and sewers broken or polluted water surges out into the Sound.

Since that exhibition, several extensive drainage and landscape schemes have been completed to cope with these sudden rain storms and the most recent is in Heimdalsgade in the city district of Nørrebro where innovative climate tiles for paving have been installed.

Design work was by Tredje Natur … an architectural and design studio founded in 2012 by Flemming Rafn Thomsen and Ole Schrøder with offices nearby. They undertook extensive research and development for the project over three years that was supported by funds from Realdania and Markedsmodningsfondenover.

Their new system manages both surface water and rain water from the roofs of the buildings along the street by taking it down through holes in the paving slabs and into a series of vertical and horizontal pipes, below the pavement, that control and direct rain water either to temporary storage before it is released in a controlled way into the drains or it is diverted into areas of planting.

 
 

Plugs within the pipes can change the configuration but can also transmit data for water management … controlling flow or in winter detecting that pavements have been salted so water cannot be directed to irrigation. These schemes have to protect sewers and stop contaminated surface water polluting water in streams, lakes or the Sound.

These plugs can also be adapted as sockets that take street furniture such as signs, lights and plant boxes.

Work was undertaken to coincide with work to replace pipework for the area heating system to minimise road works and disruption.

The new climate paving can be seen along Heimdalsgade for 50 metres from the end furthest from Tagensvej … so at the corner with Overskæringen, outside the café at Heimdalsgade 22. With a new area of planting taken out into the road, this has meant a new if narrow but shielded public space that has already been colonised with tables and chairs from the cafe.

Tredje Natur

 
 
 

a travesty

 

 

The Stelling Building on Gammeltorv in Copenhagen has new tenants with a new 7ELEVEN store on the ground floor. 

On a prominent site on a major historic square and on the route up to the cathedral, this building was commissioned by the Stelling Paint Company and was designed by Arne Jacobsen and completed in 1937. It was one of the first truly modern buildings in the centre of the city.

Obviously, for its present use, there are new fittings inside for food, take-away coffee and snacks but the most recent additions have been corporate shop signs on the outside.

There is a hefty new banner or long horizontal sign in the company branding that wraps around the corner above the shop windows and it projects forward of the facade because it is back lit. There are also two large, double-sided, illuminated square signs that project out from the frontage - one to Gammeltorv and one to the cross street Skindergade.

Look at historic photographs and you can see that the building and its tile cladding was designed with considerable care and with precise proportions and with high-quality and elegantly thin fittings. All in all, a very sophisticated building and yet this company sees it necessary, for commercial reasons, to desecrate the design. 

For a start, just what damage has been done to the historic fabric and the original facing materials when the signs were fixed? In any work, on any major historic building, the rule should be that alterations and additions are not intrusive and should be reversible so could be removed without leaving evidence or causing damage.

The tenants will argue that this work was necessary to ‘attract’ customers but the argument should have been that if the building could not be occupied successfully without doing this then it was not an appropriate building for their use.

The design of the Stelling Building was innovative and even controversial at the time. The severe style might not make it immediately obvious that this is a major historic building and, even now, it might not appeal to all tastes but those are not good reasons for allowing this to happen. 

It is a significant failure of the planning process in the city when this happens to such an important building by such an iconic Danish architect.

 

an earlier post about the Stelling Building

 

Economist ranking of the most liveable cities in the World

jazz by the canal

family life

 

The Economist Intelligence Unit has just published their annual list of the most liveable cities in the World.

Out of 140 cities considered, Vienna was at the top - replacing Melbourne ranked at number one for the last seven years. Copenhagen was ranked 9th which, initially, might seem to be not that high until you realise that Vienna and Copenhagen are the only cities in Europe to get into the top ten with Paris at 19 and London 48. New York was at 57 on the list.

The cities were judged by a wide range of criteria including healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. 

The Economist Global Liveability Index 2018

Frederiksberg Allé

 
Freds Alley.jpg

Recently, it was announced that Frederiksberg Allé is to be given special protection with a policy to retain its present character with controls on hard landscaping and planting but also to allow appropriate interventions to enhance the urban landscape.

The Allé is a fascinating street with a clear history and a wider importance - an international significance - as it represents a distinct and important phase of planning in the city.

It was laid out in 1704 and runs west from Vesterbro to the main entrance to the park and gardens of the royal palace of Frederiksberg. Maps from the 18th century show the road as a broad tree-lined avenue with open fields on either side but, even then, the circle or circus of Sankt Thomas Plads is obvious and there was a large open space at the west end, at the gates to the gardens of the palace.

The avenue is now famous for the double lines of lime trees that are pruned to a candelabra shape.

There is a wide central road with the double avenue of trees on each side, each with a broad pavement down the centre between the trees, and then secondary or service roads, outside the lines of trees, with wide pavements immediately in front of the buildings. From Sankt Thomas Plads to the gates into the palace gardens is just over a kilometre and the avenue from building front to building front is around 40 metres wide.

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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
 
 

the hoardings have come down along Sønder Boulevard

The new line of the metro in Copenhagen will open in 2019. Much of the main engineering work on the surface has been completed and the high green hoardings that surrounded all the main sites are now coming down.

From the city hall square and the central railway station, the new line heading out to the west follows the line of Sønder Boulevard across the north side of the meat markets and on down to Enghave. The hoardings came down in the Spring and work started on new hard landscaping and planting new trees.

Immediately, people from the neighbourhood, from the densely built apartment blocks here, reclaimed the public space.

Sønder Boulevard was actually the line of the railway in the late 19th century as it curved in from the west from Roskilde to a railway station just south of the present main building and the line followed closely what was then the shore of the bay.

The railway line was moved first to come into the city further north cutting across the lakes and then it was moved again to its present alignment across the south side of the meat markets. As the shore line was pushed out further and further into the bay, with new land claimed from the sea for first a gas works and then for the meat market, the old line became a street, Sønder Boulevard, with apartment buildings on both sides. It is a wide street with grass down the centre but through the last century it was a main route for traffic coming into the city.

The traffic lanes on each side have been reduced in width and this is no longer a main route so the centre area has basketball courts, play equipment, seating areas and imaginative planting to create a linear park that from Halmtorvet at the city end to Enghavevej and then across that road on towards Carlsberg is not far short of 2 kilometres.

the Boulevard while the engineering works for the new metro line were in progress - the edge of the meat market is at the top right and the distinctive tower of the church on Dannesbrogsgade towards the bottom right

1 - At the city end of Sønder Boulevard the landscaping of the street starts with paving and an area of water at Halmtorvet with an open area of gravel used for markets and then curved areas of stone steps and seating ... the meat market is on the right
2 - the Boulevard has shops and cafes and where cross streets meet the Boulevard at an angle there are paved areas - triangular rather than square - with cafes with pavement seating
3 - cross streets are a meeting place
4 - even in April, because the hoardings had come down,  people came out to sit in the sun - the sun was low but bright but not yet that warm ... the reason for the combination of coats and sun glasses ... looking towards the centre of the city with the tower of city hall in the distance

 

in the 1870s the railway line followed the shore with only gas works on land built out into the bay and that is where the meat market is now .....
the lakes, Tivoli and the line of Vesterbrogade are easily recognised reference points