RC - Copenhagen, Havnestaden - Harbour city

Short description: 

Collaboration between landowner, local authority and local citizens’ council on new development of contaminated area 

A large plant near the centre of Copenhagen closed, leaving an area, partly contaminated by quick silver, oil and other pollutants. As it would be possible to sell only the non-contaminated parts of the land, the landowner might go down with the rest of it, leaving the problem to the municipality. Thus both parts had a crucial interest in solving the problem. Besides the site was attractive, neighbouring the centre of the capital, and the harbour. The landowner and the municipality made a partnership, initiated by the landowner. An “environment fond” was established. All income from the sale of land was to be deposited in the fond, which should be used only for soil cleaning and other activity furthering the sale. Some buildings were the first to be sold for redevelopment.

The municipality bought a piece of land along the harbour front for a park. This allowed higher exploitation in the area behind the park.

The citizens were informed of each step, and there was a regular dialogue via the local citizens’ council. According to the landowner, full openness has been a core principle. 

Start date: 




Type(s) of MILU
Interweaving: use of the same space for different functions.
Intensifying of space for one function.

RED - the urban fabric and its infrastructure.

GREEN - green spaces and urban rural relations.

BLUE - water-systems and water related issues.


 East Indian Company (ØK)

Planning and design: 
PLH architects)

Lessons learned

The area is now developing into an attractive part of the town. The use is a mix of residences – private owned as well as rental -, business and green/blue areas. Some of the old silos are reused for dwellings, other old business buildings for offices. The area has become attractive not only to residents and daily users, but to other citizens, too, thanks to the green and blue elements, and to the often spectacular architecture.

Developers and architects compete to build, and residents are queuing to live there. The soil is cleaned, and the landowner earns money.

The partnership construction has been the turning point. It seems to be crucial, that 
- all partners see an interest in the success of the project 
- all partners be open about their interest.

Reference Case Havnestaden

Presentation of Annette Thierry on Havnestaden case in Copenhagen (292 kb)

1. The old factory
2. Havnestaden overview
3. From this ...
4. ... to this
5. Re-use of buildings
6. Gemini residence
7. Recreation for everybody