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Tåsinge Square – Copenhagen’s First Climate Adapted Urban Area

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A Danish climate adapted project helps solve the problem of increasing rainwater in Copenhagen.

A Danish climate adapted project helps solve the problem of increasing rainwater in Copenhagen.

Tåsinge Square in Copenhagen is a pilot project from 2014 that demonstrates the success of using green areas to solve urban rainwater problems, while at the same time creating a lively and recreational urban area.

Orbicon is part of the team that won the project, and worked with GHB Landscape Architects among others to develop the significant climate adaption project. Tåsinge Square is in the St Kjeld neighbourhood, which is the first climate adapted neighbourhood in Denmark. It was on the sustainability initiative Sustania’s list of the 100 most forward thinking climate change projects in the world in 2015.

An Urban Oasis that prevents flooding
Tåsinge Square was transformed from a plain grass area and parking spaces to a green oasis. The square is now an urban habitat with a rainforest area, flowers, wild herbs, slopes facing the sun and a café area. The rainforest area is filled with plants that can grow in a wet environment. Rainwater is collected from the nearby roofs in an underground reservoir and used to surprise children and childlike souls when they rock a tile and the water splash from giant metallic water drops. The area is sloped to collect rainwater at the bottom of the slopes, where it seeps into the ground instead of being directed to the drains. Water from the streets is collected in so-called water beds, filled with mould that filters the water. This climate adaption creates capacity in the drains to prevent flooding and damages.

Engaged the public
According to Jens Lauritz Hansen from Orbicon, “It was a very interesting project that involved many experts, and motivated the public to get involved in creating an area that solved the problem of managing large amounts of rainwater, as well as creating a recreational urban oasis”.

The square was developed in close cooperation with the users. They participated in meetings, tested and relocated elements for the square, such as a beautiful old oak log and “the Wave” – a piece of furniture for children to play on. The public’s interest in the project was especially prominent at the opening of the square, where 16,000 people gathered to experience the urban oasis.

Passed the cloudburst test
Copenhagen experienced a short, but intense, cloudburst during the summer of 2015, which put the climate adaption project to the test – a test that it passed with high marks. Rainwater from the streets was collected efficiently through holes in the kerb and led to the mould water beds, and rainwater from the nearby roofs was directed to the underground reservoir. This ensured that the neighborhood’s buildings and basements avoided flooding and damages.

A project that shows the way
The project is expected to pave the way for other national and international climate adaption projects.

Climate adaptation will become more important in the future. Many other cities throughout the world are also working with climate adaptations and changes. When New York was flooded, American experts looked to Copenhagen’s cloudburst planners for inspiration. Tåsinge Square may very well end up being a project that is talked about worldwide, Ayfer Baykal, Copenhagen’s former Technical and Environment Mayor, said at the unveiling of the winning proposal.

– The project has understood the neighbourhood well and manages to create something that fits in and at the same time contributes to something completely new. It will be a local landmark that can attract international attention, explains city architect Tina Saaby.

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