Copenhagen gets more trees, container housing for students, and a fairytale tower

Copenhagen's to get a 280-metre tower in Nordhavn to celebrate H.C. Andersen, 100,000 more trees by 2025, container cities to house students, while two of the city's major urban influencers are in line to win the title Copenhagener of the Year

Making Copenhagen truly green
Copenhagen is often seen as a ‘green’ city, due to its ambitious climate plans and its focus on pedestrians and cycling. But in recent years, residents have expressed concern that the city has lost much of its actual green cover, as trees have been cut down either because of disease or to make way for infrastructure projects.

City Hall has now set aside 324 million kroner to pay for 28,000 new trees across the capital, in the second stage of an ambitious plan to plant 100,000 trees by 2025 – 17,000 trees have been planted or financed since 2015.

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According to City Hall, residents want more trees on the city’s streets, but these are expensive to plant. Breaking asphalt and ensuring that underground utilities are not affected raises the cost to around 75,000 kroner apiece.

Between 100 and 150 trees will be planted along Nørrebrogade, while around 2,000 trees will be planted in places currently set aside for car parking.

Student container city
Containers could house students on empty and undeveloped land around the city, argues Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen.

Speaking to Politiken newspaper, Jensen says that land on Refshaleøen, Kløverparken and Nordhavn could easily be used to address the housing shortages facing the city’s students.

READ MORE: Copenhagen’s dirty white elephant

“These types of homes would suit Copenhagen and fit perfectly into these underdeveloped areas. If we maximise the opportunity, we could create homes for around 800 students,” he says.

Mayor Frank Jensen has decided to move ahead with creating temporary student housing across the city out of containers. He could take some inspiration from Bjarke Ingels, whose ‘Urban Rigger’ prototype demonstrates the potential for floating container homes. Photo: BIG

“Containers can be an exciting and alternative form of housing that are both cheap and easy to create a community with, which appeals to young people. They can be situated in areas that have a raw feel, such as the harbour. If they are located and designed in the right way – they can be clad with wood, for example – I think they can also be attractive to look at.”

New planning laws mean that municipalities are allowed to use land for temporary projects for up to ten years.

A fairytale tower
A new tourist attraction based on themes from the works of Hans Christian Andersen is coming to Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district. The 6.5 billion kroner development includes a 280-metre tall tower, which will be the tallest in the Nordic region.

Covering around 85,000 square meters, the H.C. Andersen Adventure Tower will include an outdoor park, a hotel, shops, indoor amusements, and themed exhibitions. It is hoped that around 1.5 million guests will visit every year.

“The location outside the city on a large undeveloped site opposite the harbour gives us the opportunity to construct an extraordinarily tall building that will create the economic platform for establishing numerous social housing units and a green park with free access,” say the project’s developers, Kurt Immanuel Pedersen and John Christensen.

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Danish architect Bjarke Ingels will be responsible for designing the tower, which will have an observation deck overlooking the sea as well as a restaurant with a sky bar.

“Copenhagen is a city of spires. The city centre has evolved with its historic spires as landmarks: the Stock Exchange, Church of Our Saviour, City Hall and Christiansborg Palace,” says Ingels.

“From the sea and harbour, the landmarks are currently the cranes, power stations and silos. Located at the maritime gateway to Copenhagen, the H.C. Andersen Tower will give us the opportunity to reimagine Nordhavn’s new district, the harbourfront, as well as Copenhagen’s skyline, to be an integrated architectural whole,” he continued.

HORESTA, the trade association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry in Denmark, estimates that around 8,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase in the four or five years prior to opening around 2027. It is also expected to create 1,500 to 1,800 new permanent jobs in and around the amusement and adventure park, observation tower and hotel, as well as in the shops and restaurants.

Copenhagener of the year – Morten Kabell
The urban section of Politiken newspaper, iByen, holds an annual competition to celebrate the best bars, restaurants and events in the city. They also recognise one person as Copenhagener of the Year (Årets Københavner).

This year, two city residents involved in urban development were nominated. The first is Mikael Colville-Andersen, a pro-cycling urban mobility expert and founder of the Copenhagenize consultancy, who is known for his scathing criticism of poor public infrastructure – he called the new Inner Harbour Bridge a “stupid, stupid bridge [that has] failed miserably in respecting the basic concepts of bicycle urbanism.”

On Facebook, Colville-Andersen wrote that he was flattered by the nomination, but that he would be casting his own vote for Morten Kabell, the city’s mayor for technical and environmental affairs – who won.

Politiken argues that he’s made huge improvements to the city since taking office in 2013, widening cycle paths and pavements to allow more room for cyclists and pedestrians, while also opening up more space for shops and cafés to operate on sidewalks.

“His ambition to make the medieval district of Copenhagen car-free has resulted in the digging up of the promenade along Frederiksholms Canal, to replace the cars with wider sidewalks with space for hanging out, more bicycle parking spaces and more room for pedestrians. We like that,” writes Politiken. M

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By Peter Stanners

Co-founder and Editor-in-chief. Occasional photographer.

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