Exploring Copenhagen

The Stories

Exploring Copenhagen features 12 chapters over 12 months in Copenhagen, with personal interviews and testimonies describing the challenges and successes of the city’s diverse urban neighborhoods. The book is designed to illustrate Copenhagen through these personal narratives, in addition to hand-drawn depictions of the authors and the urban landscape. Here is an overview of some of the themes explored through the various neighborhoods and chapters:



“I was on this project for 10 years, and at that time it was clear that there was an agenda to just make a suburban child out of it…But this division of clear entities and a contrasting relationship to the landscape – this is something I really had to fight for”

-Yrjö Rossi (Partner, APRT, Masterplanner of Ørestad)

“The buildings seem like mega-items posted on a mega-lawn … sometimes natural, sometimes artificial,sometimes cultivated, sometimes a path, sometimes a playground, sometimes a pavement…on this flat ground crossed by sinuous water channels that act as a thread”

-Livio Lamartina (Engineer PhD) 



“I have drifted around the periphery of her borders, a query here, a moment there. Without ever realizing, the admiration grows and you have found yourself a subtle friendship. Unlike the other boroughs of Copenhagen, She is shy, yet permeable; bold, yet modest.”


– Dani Hill (Architect MAA, M.Arch)


Inner City

“Yes, inner Copenhagen is a bubble. Is it livable or loveable? This is perhaps a matter of taste. A bigger question really is whether inner Copenhagen is reaching a tipping point in terms of fabulousness? Is Copenhagen as a city, and Denmark at large staying on top of its game in terms of urban sustainability, livability and resilience?”

– Regitze M. Hess (Architect MAA)


Copenhagen mobility

“It is still a bit of a paradox that Copenhagen is perhaps the ‘World’s Bicycle Capital.’ It might be, but the city as a whole is still very dependent on the car. The auto logic is still so prevalent everywhere, and still a huge priority in our planning methods. “


– Jonathan Reghev (Urban Planner, Københavns Kommune)


Copenhagen harbor

“When you think of the harbor from a sailor’s perspective, a modern sailor, which is more leisure, you have this historic connection of understanding the city’s growth from trade to leisure. I have the unique perspective of how you can access the city from the water. How do you access the harbor now? How can you use the water to discover the city? Not from the bicycle, or by foot, or by a car, but from the water. ”


– Lars Lindeberg (Architect MAA)



“[meatpacking is] this lively 24-hour place that is like a beehive. There is this fascinating social diversity here. You have the butcher slaughtering meat right next door, there is a homeless person standing on the side of one of the buildings, you have the Michelin-star chef moving in…and then you have this layer of very successful people there who have their own businesses. It’s just not your stereotypical business environment.”


– Kristin Sørum (Founder, Spitzen Publish)



“Co-creation is a sensory apparatus. Our whole body, eye sight, hearing, tactility. What I think is key is what separates Sophia and me from everybody else, is we have the education and the profession to turn these sensory experiences about Nørrebro into a verbalized opinion, which then becomes an impact in a decision-making process. We are not necessarily more perceptive than everyone else, just through our education and our work and our experiences we have learned the possibility to verbalize and to translate our analysis to form an opinion about it.”


– Bianca Hermansen (Architect MAA) & Sophia Schuff (Urban Anthropologist)


Amager Øst

“Amager is changing, it is becoming gentrified, especially at the beachfront, to no surprise. I mean it’s a little bit self-righteous to want diversity, but not ‘right here.’ We have to be honest with ourselves. People want the ‘right type’ of diversity, and that is a constant struggle with new developments in any area, in any city. ”


– Jeff Risom (Partner & Managing Director, Gehl Studio)



“A former parking lot on Tåsinge Plads has been made into a playground and park, and also doubles as a water reservoir in case of heavy rain. The plan is to make some of the nearby streets into so called Cloudburst Roads, and to divert the water, either to the ocean or to green areas such as this. Adapting and working with nature as it unfolds, is no longer just talk or a tree-hugging idea, it’s a necessity.”


– Pernille Bigum (Product Manager, Tasteful Foods)



“It’s a paradox, in my view , that architects are insanely skilled at value-creation, yet they are at the bottom of the value chain. So when a large or small construction project is finished, it’s probably the architect, or perhaps the building entrepreneurs, that harvests or reaps the least … Year by year we have collected every penny earned over the past 20 years, and then we pooled it all together to place a bet on this project here.”


– Christian Cold (Architect MAA/Owner, Entasis)



“In short, the Danish system works. But stop. Before you think that is all fairytale ripe, allow me to make an observation. A well-fuelled state engine also causes a certain level of conservatism, of rigidity in the system, tendency to inward-looking incremental improvements, rather than sweeping changes or encouragement to simply try: Give it go, put one’s neck on the line and risk to fail. ”


– Alice Holmberg (Designer and Co-founder, That Something)


Copenhagen Airport

“Black and white photography is arranged along the wall as an
exhibition and there are no commercial advertisements. I have overheard several passengers through the years comment on the visual ‘stillness’ of the space in contrast to most train stations they know. The simple palette, restrained colors and absence of commercial advertising provide a dignity in the space which is essentially unseen in other stations.”


– Kelly Nelson (Partner & Aviation Leader, Zeso Architects)