How is Copenhagen confronting the climate cha(lla)nges?

May 29, 2015


For any person living in Denmark or visiting the country, it is no secret that Copenhagen has been occupying its place in the top three positions of the Monocle Magazine, as the most livable city in the world for several years, also winning the title several times.  Even wandering around the streets of the capital makes one understands why this city is amazing: green buildings, a lot of bicycles, many parks, and relaxed people. These seem to be the secret weapons of the municipality.


The story of Copenhagen is closely related to its role as a major harbor in the area, this aspect being reflected also in its name: “København”, the Danish name of the city coming from “køb” – “to buy”, “havn”-“harbor”. Given its fundamental role and development as a harbor surrounded by waters, Copenhagen finds itself in the situation of defending from the rising global waters and being a global leader in climate adaptation solutions.


The Copenhagen municipality  is working on several measures against climate change through public-private partnerships. The most ambitious goal is to become carbon neutral by 2025. Strategically, this means that the human activity in the area will have less impact on the environment through improved strategies of green mobility, energy consumption and production. At the same time, the city gains worldwide recognition such as European Green Capital of 2014 and membership in the C40 network of megacities.


Also, the municipality offers growth opportunities for companies and collaborates closely with businesses. As a company with Copenhagener origins, it does something to Quercus Group’s way of doing business to see the municipality planning ahead for the 100 years and investing in the latest innovations on climate change. As Nicolai Rottbøll said it, “it helped us tremendously in our projects with New York, Sydney and Singapore to be one call away from the latest innovations in terms of climate change and sustainability. We can offer previously tested and successfully implemented solutions to our international partners”.


In addition, the extreme situations are also accounted for. The price of security has been estimated at about DKK 4bn over the next 100 years, up to 5 times less that the possible cost of damage in case of inaction. The preventive strategy mentions that new buildings planning will account for increased pressure from the amount of water both on the surface and underground – building above the sea level and stronger foundations against groundwater. Also, the existing buildings will be equipped with smart digital systems for water sewage, storage and reuse, the streets will be adapted in order to significantly reduce the possible damage, and dykes will be built in vulnerable areas.


What is remarkable is that the climatic challenges have been regarded as an opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas, but also to implement financially sustainable environment solutions. The CO2 neutrality goal encourages several other human-centered improvements of the city, such as increasing the number of areas with vegetation, a higher degree of digitalization, or a better cycling experience. It is, therefore understandable that Copenhagen is bound to win its title as the most livable city in the world in the future again and again, against the challenging weather conditions, thanks to the eye for the simultaneous human and environmental well-being that made Denmark world-renowned.  

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