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COPENhAGEN MAPPING

Urban quality through balanced development

COPENhAGEN MAPPING
By Andrea Boschetti -

After Palermo, we now look at a completely different city, albeit of approximately the same size: Copenhagen. Over the last 40 years, the city - which grew from a first settlement around the fortress on the island of Strandholm, built in 1167 - has become the symbol of successfully implemented “sustainable urban living”, earning it a reputation for being ahead of the curve when it comes to quality of urban life. As usual, Copenhagen is described on the basis of six maps developed from GIS data readily available on the Internet. The population density map is our baseline reference against which to read the other five, showing respectively worker density, natural contours, services and amenities, public transport, and urban greenery. Copenhagen has an inner city population of around 600,000 while the metropolitan area has over 2 million inhabitants. Although the residential and worker density maps show certain features common to other cities, they reveal some clearly distinctive features. After World War II, the city grew rapidly in a series of expanding concentric circles, each with clearly defined characteristics. New urban planning theories led to radial urban growth, with residential neighborhoods oriented along five spokes leading out from a central hub. This was the so-called Finger Plan of 1951-54. Every axis saw the insertion of wedges of urban greenery, a feature that today has become a hallmark of Copenhagen the world over. The worker and especially the residential population closely follow this layout and the S-tog railway lines that greatly impacted the way the city has developed. In fact, it is evident that for decades the city has aligned its development patterns with its public transport network, a key characteristic that was fundamental in allowing the experimental sustainable urban lifestyle measures Copenhagen is famous for today. What the residential map tells us comes as something of a surprise. Copenhagen’s central hub...

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