The former harbourfront used to be the industrial backside of town. Since 2012, with Algreen & Bruun’s landscape redesign of Havnegade, it makes an attractive public space with built-in activities to attract locals and visitors year-round.
The aptly named Havnegade simply translates to ‘Harbour Street’.
Back to front
For a decade, it’s been obvious that both sides of the main harbour are among the most attractive real estate in the country.
This particular area was mostly reclaimed land for the navy yards in the 17th century. Already in the late 19th century, it turned into a residential neighbourhood, but the harbour piers remained busy workplaces, with ferries departing from this pier throughout the 20th century.
Logistic facilities and parking spaces took up the area until it was finally redesigned for an actual public promenade.
Havnegade – active urban space
It’s important to notice how Algren & Bruun designed the promenade with activities to attract users also off-season. The Nordic climate is not exactly motivating people to use the outdoor spaces, as in warmer climates. But with sports facilities and trampolines, swimming and kayaking etc. the outdoor season now extends beyond just July and August.
It may not be easy today to fully comprehend this profound transition.
And in itself, this short promenade is but a small part of a strong and persistent urban strategy to reinvigorate public spaces throughout Copenhagen.
It’s a very broad strategy that includes streets, squares and parks, thanks to which the social and outdoor life of Copenhagen is much improved since the turn of the century.