Copenhagen Urban Lab 2019
By Martin Zoffmann
For the third year in a row, Ramboll organized and co-hosted the Copenhagen Urban Lab process. This is an intensive 10-day period of workshopping, where young engineers, urban planners and landscape architects develop multidisciplinary and holistic answers to current challenges related to climate adaptation in Copenhagen.
This year’s challenge was related to the ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’ (UHI), which describes the phenomenon where an urban area is significantly warmer than the surrounding lands. With a record-breaking heatwave in Denmark last summer and several warm summer days this year, this challenge is more relevant than ever.
The group was specifically asked to answer the question “What does the Copenhagen approach to UHI look like?” and to develop an UHI mitigation plan for a case area covering Vesterbro & Inner Frederiksberg. The participants brought in experience from different places like Singapore, New York and the Philippines that all struggle with urban heat and developed an overall vision named ‘Kool København’ along with an inspiring intervention catalogue and innovative ideas for specific pilot projects.
The proposed strategy is centered on creating a livable city, with more days with comfortable temperatures prolonging the outdoor active season into the months of spring and fall, called Kool København.
Additionally, the group developed a toolbox of UHI measures including deployable and permanent measures for treating the extremes, such as ‘cooling benches’ that have shade structures and use grey water to cool the seats, as well as ‘cool roofs’, bioswales and ideas for the individual inhabitants to improve their homes. Strong focus was put on climate justice and inclusive environments.
“I think there is a lot we can learn from each other about ways to think about green infrastructure in general, and I think there is something we can learn about incorporating sort of small interventions that over time could have a big impact,” says Daphne Lundi, Senior Policy Advisor at the NYC Mayors Office of Recovery and Reciliency, who was one of the eight participants.
The Copenhagen Urban Lab is coordinated by a team in Ramboll, supported by the two participating municipalities Frederiksberg and Copenhagen, co-sponsored by Arup, HOFOR and the Young Water Professionals Denmark (YWPDK).