Copenhagen - Klimakvarter Østerbro – Climate Resilient Neighbourhood

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Challenges

The City of Copenhagen expects more rain in the future and more cloudbursts such as those Copenhagen has experienced the previous summers. During these events, rainfall comes in such large quantities that the sewer system cannot handle it thus flooding residents’ basements.

Copenhagen has chosen to react to the challenge with an ambitious climate adaptation masterplan. Water flows in the city have been analysed to point out several hundred projects for implementation. The projects in Østerbro Climate Quarter will give the city the necessary experience and the innovative solutions to implement the climate adaptation masterplan to the whole city.

Actions

The project is part of a bigger initiative of the city of Copenhagen that aims to become carbon neutral by 2025. The project not only meets the demand for climate adaptation, it also makes life better, healthier and more beautiful for residents, by greening areas and creating a better urban life for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and, most importantly, the residents themselves.

The key to the success of Østerbro Climate Quarter is public engagement. More than 1,000 people met at Tåsinge Plads in 2013 to contribute with their concerns, thoughts and ideas. By staging this dialogue with more that 10,000 people and letting them take part, 170 citizen-led projects have emerged. The public-initiated projects have provided the best local solutions to absorb, recycle and syphon away rainwater.

In Copenhagen’s vision, 20% of the covered surface area in the neighbourhood should be turned into green areas and 30% of the daily rainwater should be managed locally and not end up in the sewer system. Rainwater should be viewed as a resource. This also means re-use of rain water for recreational purposes, e.g play and functional purposes such as washing facilities.

Finally, by designing the streets in new ways the project has freed an area of 50,000 sqm which can be transformed into thriving urban spaces with green streets, front gardens, street trees and rain gardens, as attractive places to walk, cycle and hang out.

Projected Outcomes

  • New urban spaces and social benefits: By designing the streets in new ways the project has freed an area of 50,000 sqm which can be transformed into thriving urban spaces with green streets, front gardens, street trees and rain gardens, as attractive places to walk, cycle and hang out. The project has significantly altered the identity of the area and made it into a green and hip part of Copenhagen. Creating new green surfaces and urban spaces has encouraged outdoor activities with increases in citizens’ social wellbeing and health.

 

  • Economic benefits: Green and surface-based climate adaptation provides a double benefit since it reduces the costs of damage from cloudbursts and is cheaper than expanding the sewer system.