Copenhagen Circle City

By 2035, 60% of the fruit and vegetable consumption could be covered by means of local production within the city limits of Copenhagen. How can the urban development contribute to achieving this goal, and can we raise the ambition level for Copenhagen in 2050? What if Copenhagen became the first circular economy city worldwide?

Green network

The need for fresh air and flood control, along with the need for fresh produce and access to green recreational facilities nearby, tend to be opposites in a densely populated urban area.

Could we turn this contradiction into a new strategy for greening the city, while in the same time achieving unprecedented levels of urban farming, rainwater harvesting and high-quality city life?

1.000 productive parks

We could start by opening the courtyards of the residential blocks in the inner city to the public. This will multiply the amount of accessible public green in the dense ‘bridge’ neighborhoods areas, providing a network of pocket parks in central Copenhagen. By closing side roads for car traffic, they could be transformed into apple groves. Large office and institution roofs could become high parks and allotment gardens.

Copenhagen could become the 1.000 parks’ city!

More than creating a green network of public spaces accessible to everyone, the 1.000 parks also provide valuable ground for urban farming, storm water management and energy production.


Who grew the tomatoes in your salad?

In 2050, vertical farms and commercial production are integrated within Copenhagen metropolitan area, along with productive public spaces. This secures fresh produce within the city limits, an earth-to-table experience, and a higher life quality. Everybody contributes to fostering environmental health!

The small-scale farming fits well the many micro entrepreneurs and homeowners’ associations, and provides a solid base for the development of a new circular economy.

Circle network

In 2050, circular economy in Copenhagen is systematized and driven by a network of highly efficient ‘Circle Neighborhoods’, which enable rainwater and waste reuse, as well as food and energy production.

The ‘Circle Neighborhoods’ are organized in networks to optimize the resources, according to a ‘scaling’ principle where the highly efficient neighborhoods are connected to larger districts which, in turn, are connected to the largest systems at city scale.

World Wide Web of Resources

The network and scaling principles create a robust and flexible system, allowing firms to develop new business models within The Big System: A kind of World Wide Web of Resources emerges!

Waste reduction

The circular economy in Copenhagen is implemented in three different scales, according to three different interconnected loops. By 2050, the system will provide a waste and water usage reduction of 80% for the entire city of Copenhagen, while in the same time providing 700.000 copenhageners with fresh fruit&veg.

Intelligent density

The new ‘Circle Neighborhoods’ provide a wide variety of living and working environments. The urban development prioritizes intelligent density, where compact high-density typologies and programmatic mixes secure social exchange, optimized infrastructure and energy consumption, as well as generous green in-between areas.

Typological evolution

Existing housing and office typologies are further developed in order to enable integrated food and energy production within the building envelopes: a wave of typological innovation provides an all-inclusive diversity of new living forms.

Architectural symbioses

The integrated food producing areas enable architecture to take a new role as symbiant in the environment. Buildings produce their own green energy and clean water, while also acting as a life support for both inhabitants and the ecosystem. Apartments and offices are provided with a plus value, visualized as a unique identity: the ‘legs’ of ‘the table’, containing office space and farming areas, support the dwellings of the ‘tabletop’.

High life-quality

The green gardens and horticulture areas provide opportunities for new social networks, physical activity and energy reduction. Ultimately, they contribute to creating a higher quality of life, while in the same time providing habitats for urban wild life.

Client: Danish Architecture Center DAC, in partnership with Realdania, along with the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Ministry of Environment, the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, and the Danish Ministry of Climate and Building, City of Copenhagen

Project support: Grundejernes Investeringsfond (Landowners’ Investment Fund), Statens Kunstfond (Danish Arts Foundation), Rambøll

Program: Scenarios for a fossil-free Denmark in 2050, development of Copenhagen as circular economy city, as part of the Green Networks scenario

Year: 2014

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Marcin Kruk, Julia Berenguer, Martina Skalicka, Claudia Scappini

Collaborators: Damvad & Kairos Future (report ‘Fire veje til grøn vækst’ - 'Four roads towards green growth'), Rambøll Engineers (report 'Grader af grøn omstilling' - 'Degrees of green transition'), Pauliina Koskinen Tonboe

Status: Commission, MUTOPIA has been head of the entire architectural production, as well as co-curator along with DAC