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9 | 4 | 2019

COPENHAGEN - SUSTAINABLE CITY BUILDING THROUGH COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING / Lecturer: Jakob Matzen

Monday, 20.05.2019.

18.00-19.00

Lecturer: Jakob Matzen

Moderator: Žaklina Gligorijević

→ CCB, Artget Gallery, Republic Square 5/I


Not unlike Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale of The Ugly Duckling which eventually turns into a beautiful swan, during the last 30 years Copenhagen has evolved from being a rather sleepy, physically run down and almost bankrupt Scandinavian capital, inhabited mainly by students, unemployed and elderly, to becoming a prosperous Northern European metropolis of well educated urban professionals and families staying in the city instead of moving to a suburb.

Being on the forefront of new and exciting architecture, an excellent public transport infrastructure, world-class bicycle conditions, renewed and enhanced public spaces that have led to a sparkling urban life and a buzzing food scene, Copenhagen provides a high quality of life for its residents and visitors alike.

 All of the above being a result of political agreements between the City of Copenhagen and the State of Denmark initiated almost 30 years ago and followed up by deliberate actions of the city administration and stakeholders.

The lecture will touch upon the historical background of how this transformation became possible and show examples of comprehensive planning through the new neighborhoods of Nordhavn and Ørestad as well as the latest new urban spaces and climate action projects.

Through envisioning a new status of the capital in the early 90‘ies and the wish to create better and enhanced public transport and a physical connection between Denmark and Sweden, preparations were put in place to upgrade Copenhagen and the Oresound Region for an ever-growing competition between European cities to attract investments and prosper.

These initial political agreements, followed by heavy investments in neighborhood renewal and master plans to develop new land and turning existing harbour and industrial sites into new mixed-use areas, have led to a consistent and ever-developing work on integrated strategies, policies and concrete plans by the municipality. Eventually leading to todays planning practise, that puts urban life and urban space design before buildings and prioritizes bicycles and pedestrians over cars. And rather than seeing new needs for climate action and sustainability efforts as opposed to developing a new and vibrant city, these measures are incorporated into every new piece of urban space, public infrastructure and building developments, so that Copenhagen is prepared for a changing climate and able to reach its goal to become carbon neutral by 2025.

This new and holistic approach to planning and city building manifests itself in today’s Copenhagen having evolved into a true city for people.


Jakob Matzen (*1972) is an architect and urbanist educated at The Aarhus School of Architecture and living in Copenhagen, where he has been working for the Technical and Environmental Department for 12 years.

Attached to the City Architects’ office Jakob Matzen has been responsible for planning of the new Ørestad neighborhood and been involved in Copenhagen’s overall Development Plans.


*Lecture is conducted in cooperation with the Danish Embassy in Belgrade.

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