The city is our chance to live sustainably. We intervene less in nature and use fewer resources, with the most people in the least place


There are more people on earth all the time. In Denmark too, in 10 years' time, we will be 300,000 more people around the site. Where are we going to be, if not in close, big cities? How much land can be involved in human habitation before we lose opportunities to experience free nature?

The city is our chance to live sustainably. We intervene less in nature and use fewer resources, with the most people in the least place. Where we live small with less transportation. In dense towns, there is no room for seaside police, conservatories and 2 cars in the carport. And not many people miss it.

We don't lose anything by living close together in compact cities. On the contrary, the dense city is a city with experiences that we share: the rush of thousands of pedestrians and cyclists on Queen Louise's Bridge at work; Groups of playful children at tårnlegepladsen in Fælledparken.

Few, as architects and urban planners, have the opportunity to create a city. But often architects and urban planners have alienated the city. In modern utopias, the city is always wrong: Ebenezer Howard's 'Haveby' would dissolve the metropolis in a new land-city merger. Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse would gather people at altitude in insulated living machines on endless grasslands. We are echoing today's criticism of the development of new urban areas in disused industrial and port areas. Here, the demands are often on less construction, more greenery, longer between houses or more imaginative and spectacular architecture.

But in cities, the building is subordinate to the whole. Copenhagen is best where it is most humble. Few people know the names of the architects of the bridge districts' apartment buildings. But this is where Copenhagen is mostly Copenhagen and how many would live if they had the opportunity.


1. Architecture must respond to the greatest challenges of our time. Space must be created for a growing population without depleting the earth's limited natural reserves. And before climate change has disastrous consequences.

2. Cities and buildings shall be developed with the needs of the future in mind. We cannot pretend that it is consequential for the way we organise our cities and communities that more people continue to be around the same space and the same limited resources.

3. Architects and urban planners must abandon the utopians and embrace the big city. More city and closer city is needed for less space. Creativity must be invested in making cities bigger, better connected to public transport solutions, more compact and experientious.