The Scalable City

The Scalable City is a masterplan for ‘Folkemødet’/FM, Denmark’s political festival and Allinge, the hosting city on the island of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea.

FM provides a unique platform for open debates, where politicians, citizens, businesses, NGO’s and organizations come together for free-of-charge seminars and informal meetings.

In the wake of The Political Festival’s growth from 11.000 participants at its premiere in 2011, to more than 120.000 participants over 4 days in 2015, the question arises as to how effectively address the logistical and urban challenges that arise when a small urban community of 1.550 inhabitants is transformed into one of Denmark’s largest festival cities.


Like many other small Danish cities, Allinge is struggling with economic and population decline in spite of its beautiful nature, also its biggest resource for tourism, business and everyday life.

FM could play a key role in creating a vibrant urban environment and drive social and economic benefits. In order to anchor FM in the city and secure a development of Allinge in all seasons, a 5 point strategy has been developed.

1. Adapt to geographical conditions and promote actions with regional range, to secure the development of the entire region of Nordbornholm.

2. Use what you have to secure that history stays alive and FM uses actively the entire city.

3. Commit to everyday life to secure a whole-year development rather than a seasonal one.

4. Take FM to the streets to foster greater citizen participation and improve the quality of democracy.

5. Make a city for the pupils to stimulate the children’s use of the entire city.

In order to effectively use the limited resources available, MUTOPIA proposes a more intensive use of the city, which includes improving the connectivity to deliver a better flow during the FM days and the rest of the year, optimizing the use of existing buildings and structures, developing temporary activities in permanent structures, densifying of the existing building mass, as well as keeping central areas free to accommodate a range of different activities throughout the entire year.


4 North-South main connections ‘woven’ together with a number of secondary East-West connections provide a robust and effective infrastructure network which follows the overall structure of the city and its characteristic topography: The Harbor Axis, which follows the coast line, The Culture Street, which follows the main street uniting Nørregade/Rosengade with Søndergade and the church square, The Train Track, which unites Allinge with its twin city Sandvig along the old railway line, and The Logistics Line, which provides the necessary logistics backup for the FM days, including car parking and tent accommodation areas.

Blue-green pathways

A development of existing pathways can potentially bring visitors to a number of destinations in the North-Western part of the island, thereby providing opportunities for organizing FM events in new and picturesque natural settings, while in the same time optimizing the access to touristic sites like Hammershus, Allinge and Hammersholm Petroglyphs.

The school in the city

Could the school contribute to a livelier city? What if the school used the city as an outdoor classroom? Take your Danish lesson on the street, learn history by the Russian plains, economy by the harbour and geography on your trip to the next stone quarry.  Themed routes can further contribute to extending the classroom into the city and the surrounding landscape.

FM begins with the journey

The very essence of the FM is its community spirit. Could we encourage the creation of self-organized networks? Boosting the public transportation during the FM by making it free not only contributes to a more sustainable event – it provides a platform for social meetings and exchange, so that the debate can start on the bus! A number of car parking areas strategically located along The Logistics Line, supplemented with bike share points and The Train Track, further contribute to a great community making carless environment.

Allinge host city: 100 annexes

Based on a meticulous mapping of the potential sites for development, an acupuncture densification strategy has been developed which includes 100 sites for 100 annexes, small additions to the existing building structure able to provide accommodation in authentic city surroundings during both the FM days and the tourist season. The 100 annexes will strengthen the local ownership for FM, while providing an authentic, centrally located and more appealing accommodation alternative to the typical tents, as well as informal speaker’s corners encouraging self-organized initiatives.

The Station

The main FM scene is situated at the Circus Plaza nearby the gas station, one of the most popular meeting points in Allinge. With the attractive Danchells Park and Nordlandshallen Sportscenter nearby, the area has a big potential for all year long recreational activities.

By extending the roof of the gas station, a sheltered public space emerges as a new gate to the FM and a gathering point for associations, organized and self-organized sports activities. The Station is an easily configurable public space which can accommodate a wide range of temporary activities, as well as a number of ‘plug-in’ pavilions, informal clubhouses which can double as infopoints and mobile stages during the FM.

The FM Secretariat

In order to further root the FM in the city, we propose to move the FM Secretariat from its current location in the capital city Rønne to Allinge in The Library Building. Three ramp&stair structures replace the steep rocky base of The FM Secretariat with accessible flights of stairs, providing a multitude of platforms for events and informal activities in the very centre of Allinge and FM.

A speaker’s corner emerges at the crossroads between Kampeløkke harbour, the main street and the parking coast area of Møllenæs, transformed from a dead-end parking lot into an attractive and accessible area for temporary sports activities. Temporary pavilions will involve the citizens in democracy workshops and build-your-own city events all year long, while quotations from earlier FM events embedded in the stairs and pavement will create a permanent living monument to democracy achievements.

The Courtyard Houses

The Kjærenæs area has the biggest development potential in Allinge due to its attractive location by the harbour front. How to develop the site without privatizing it? How to maintain its significance as a collective asset for entire city?

We propose to build 4 themed courtyard houses, each with its own identity: The Pantry, The Entrepreneur House, The Workshop Yard and The Warehouse.

The Courtyard Houses combine the local courtyard building structure with a two-storey high unheated curatable space targeting a multi-use flexibility. The Courtyard Houses create passages connecting city and harbour and in-between spaces - interconnected plazas with unobstructed sea views for changing activities such as specific FM related events as well as a range of other different season-related needs, including food markets, art and workshop events etc..

The Courtyard Houses will literally ‘absorb’ the FM activities and functions within permanent structures capable of supporting temporary activities with a communitarian agenda.

A raised platform along the high coastal protection line allows for sea views, while in the same time encouraging activities in-between The Courtyard Houses.

1001 opportunities

The possibilities for development are not limited to those listed in the masterplan rulebook. Rather, they can spontaneously emerge as community-driven projects, where different groups of stakeholders can identify their own ‘secret places’, and develop their own business models. The opportunities for community driven development initiatives are numerous and adventurous. The stone quarry can become a lounge or an amphitheatre, the garages can double as storage or informal FM locations, the old laundry building can become a multi-culture hall, while ‘open houses’ and private gardens can provide intimate areas for small events during the FM, thereby testifying about the hospitality of the residents and the vitality of the scalable city.

Client: Bornholms Regionskommune, Realdania

Program: Masterplan for Folkemødet, Denmark's Political Festival and Allinge, the hosting city

Year: 2015

Location: Allinge, Bornholm, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Marcin Kruk, Andrea Hernandez, Ana Barbosa, Ana Riesco, Ivan Ricci

Collaborators: Erik Brandt Dam Arkitekter, Center for Regional- og Turismeforskning (Centre for Regional & Tourism Research) and Lars Rasmussen, Danmarks Sportsfiskeriforbund (Denmark’s Sport Fishing Association)

Status: Parallel assignment