Odense Ten Minutes City

Odense, the third largest city in Denmark, wants to develop towards becoming a metropolis in 2050, and according to the DK2050 ‘Green Networks’ scenario, it is well on its way to becoming the main urban center for the Island of Funen with a 9.6% population growth up to 2030.

As a city reputed for its bike culture and for being hometown of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish fairy-tale writer, Odense has potentials with global reach. But are these qualities enough to support a ‘green’ development corresponding to the ambitions of the city to achieve BIGNESS?

Transit as driver

Densifying the city inwards might be the right strategy to avoid sprawl and long commuting patterns, while supporting energy efficiency and social exchange. But how to avoid traffic congestion?

To provide more user-friendly transit opportunities, Odense has already taken the first steps towards implementing a light rail within the city boundaries. Could transit be the key to a dense, compact and liveable metropolis?

Speed & Life quality

In 2050, intermodal passenger transport will reduce dependence on the automobile as the major mode of ground transportation through the successful combination of bicycle with light rail and driverless electrical cars integrated in the city’s smart grid system.

Dense urban development is an essential feature of a successful public transit system, making density and public transportation two sides of the same coin. The light rail opens the possibility of densifying the suburbs, supporting their transformation into city centers. A successful transformation will depend on the densification, connectivity, as well as on the ‘uniqueness’ of the neighborhoods. The code words for Odense in 2050 are speed and life quality.

Green transportation

As the main urban center on the Island of Funen, Odense will have to provide effective transportation for the commuters from the entire island, while also ensuring optimal transportation within the city limits. Mixed-mode commuting, which combines rapid transit by cars outside the city with low-speed options such as light rail and bicycle within the city boundaries, is a must.

By organizing the light rail and car traffic as ‘traffic rings’ around the city center, a clear hierarchy is established which bans cars and high-emission vehicles from the city center. Radial bike ‘super-lanes’ within green recreational wedges connect the light rail and car traffic rings.


Cars can be integrated successfully in mixed-mode scenarios, provided the intermodal shifts are quick. Traditionally, the different transportation modes are organized in parallel strips around central stations, with no possibilities for cross-connections. This makes shifts slow and ineffective.

In 2050, super-hubs will unite the different transportation modes within continuous transportation loops, enabling quick transfer with no need to exit the system: drop your car at the Park-and-Ride for driverless cars and take the elevator down to the light rail or up to the Bike-and-Ride station!

Mobility theatre

Super-hubs provide extreme mobility and effective shifts between different transportation modes, combined with public program such as libraries, cafés, parks and markets, recycling stations and informal areas, along with 3D furniture and house printing.

The super-hubs turn travel into an integrated part of urban life experience by staging the dynamics of movement as programmatical logic and spectacle. The infrastructure creates a mobility theatre!

10 minutes BikeCity

The light rail provides high class public transport service, as well as opportunities for urban densification along its alignments. However, the resulting urban corridors will become a barrier for car commuters, who will have to cross the city limits several times on a daily basis. Can we improve upon this development?

Today, more then 30 minutes commuting is considered by many to be a good reason for changing either work or residence, as most cities are organized based on zoning regulations which separate different functions. Improving the effectivity of commuting based on intermodality and hubs will increase the geographical area within the 30 minutes radius. Mixed-use developments contribute to creating more compact and bicyle-friendly neighborhoods, while reducing distances between housing and working, and hence the commuting patterns within city limits.

As a result, the urban corridors turn into self-sufficient and bicyle-friendly urban areas centered around trafic-hubs. 5 minutes BikeCities connected by 10 minutes BikeZones cover the entire Odense, turning it into a 10 minutes BikeCity.

Urban suburbs

Rather than spreading urbanization further into the open countryside, threatening water supplies, fragmenting nature and farming areas, Odense’s strategy for sustainable city growth is based on densification and retrofit of the existing building mass. Odense growth inwards and upwards!


To further the transformation of the suburbs into attractive urban areas, a development rooted within each area’s specific ’ethos’ is proposed. Distinguishing characteristics are used to further different identities: FoodCity, CultureCity, SportsCity, NeighborCity, SunCity, CompanyCity.


The area around the Rosengårdcentret, Ikea and Bilka malls is a transportation corridor with no urban qualities. Could mobility provide a basis for the transformation of the area into an attractive CompanyCity?

Super-hubs around light rail stations secure effective intermodal shifts, car free neighborhoods and connections to nearby residential areas, local businesses and recreation, including Odense’s network of bike lanes and public green.

New technologies for driverless cars make the former huge parking areas redundant in 2050, enabling their transformation into new parks. The ’greening’ of the former tarmac expanses reduces the road width, releasing parking areas for construction. A more coherent urban mixed-use area emerges. Accessible working places are immersed in the new park areas, with housing on top. Existing areas close to the light rail stations are densified. In-between areas are turned into allotment gardens and orchards.

The retrofit and intelligent densification of the former monofunctional areas create a great variety af living and working, while also securing flood risk management, waste management and biodiversity improvement.

The large firms contribute to the development of CompanyCity through investments as well as by making the unused roofs of the shopping malls available as new sites for food production (BILKA GreenHouses), increased mobility (RosengårdCenter Park&Ride) or student housing (IKEACity).

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 Odense

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

Program: Scenarios for a fossil-free Denmark in 2050, development of The City of Odense as part os the Green Networks scenario

Year: 2014

Location: Middelfart, Denmark

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