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Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen

The combined climate adaptation, infrastructure and urban space project at Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen is Copenhagen Municipality’s largest and greenest cloudburst adaption project to date. Previously, Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen was a grey and monotone urban area in the heart of Copenhagen with very limited vegetation and social opportunities for citizens. Now, the project has transformed anonymous and heavily trafficked infrastructure to a fully climate-adapted and biodiverse green ‘lung’ with an abundance of social opportunities in the middle of a residential area.

The project is a frontrunner within nature-based urban development, which significantly improves the well-being of citizens, the city environment as well as ecology. Through its nature-based design, the project increases biodiversity in the area with 586 new trees, climate adapts the area, reduces noise- and air pollution, increases health and quality of life for local citizens as well as reduces the urban heat island effect.

The 34,900 square meters project – that is part of the ‘Climate District’ initiative by The City of Copenhagen – shows how effective protection against cloudbursts can go hand in hand with green and recreational urban spaces that reduce traffic and strengthen biodiversity. Here, the rainwater is handled on the surface and thus become a resource giving life to plants and trees rather than simply ending up in overflowing sewers.

Just as much as the project at Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen centers around climate adaption, it is also about the additional benefits we get from climate adaptation and the nature-based design: The blue, the green, the health, the active and the social. In short: All what makes life in the city worth living.

We all know that nature at its best is green, lush and peaceful. But the fact is, that many people live their whole life in big cities, where nature is far away – and unfortunately rarely seen. We must change that! Because nature is proven to reduce stress level and increase the general well-being of people. Nature cleans the air and cools its surroundings. And nature increases an area’s biodiversity, which benefits both the city environment, ecology, animal life and citizens’ quality of life.

At Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen we bring new nature into the city of Copenhagen to benefit both the environment and the well-being for all citizens. The transformation of the roundabout and the surrounding area gives Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen a strong sustainable identity as the city’s landmark for blue green climate adaptation – and is a frontrunner within nature-based climate adaption ready to be replicated all over the world. The result is new city nature – with 586 new trees of 48 local species – that is aesthetic and functional, biodiverse and sustainable, green and blue, climate adaptable, and creates a sense of community. A city nature that gives the Copenhageners a strong aesthetic feeling of nature right on their doorstep.

Furthermore, the 586 new trees are central to the project’s rainwater management. The project secures the 34,900 square meter area for flooding by containing and delaying rainwater in numerous specially designed green urban spaces. Instead of leading the rainwater away in overcrowded sewers, the rainwater is instead dealt with locally and gives thus life to plants and trees as well as creating new blue green nature experiences – in the heart of the city. The trees are planted to form a network of green rain gardens that enable the project to handle even the largest cloudburst events. When the cloudbursts hit, the rainwater will be directed to the tree- and rain gardens and slowly seep down locally or further to the port of Copenhagen via a cloudburst pipeline.

In addition to solving the challenges of cloudburst and lack of biodiversity in cities, the project also provides a wide range of green qualities for new meetings and social activities for the local citizens. The paths among the many trees makes it possible for citizens to explore the city nature and find miracles, walnuts and paradise apples under the tree crowns. The project’s squares and urban spaces are given outdoor seating areas, benches among the trees as well as large overturned trees that children can play and climb – and which insects and wildlife can find new homes and food in.

All this makes the transformation of Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen significantly increase the city’s biodiversity, environment, ecology as well as quality of life for local citizens. And what is essential is that the project’s holistic approach to new nature in cities is easily replicable for the rest of the world in urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture – in order to create our biodiverse and healthy cities of the future!

Name of the project: Sankt Kjelds Square and Bryggervangen
Project category: Infrastructure
Role of the entrant in the project: SLA
Client: The City of Copenhagen
Collaborators: HOFOR, NIRAS, Via Trafik, Jens Rørbech, Ebbe Dalsgaard A/S
Project location: Sankt Kjelds Plads og Bryggervangen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2017 – 2019

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