Article and images by Laura Craft, Jennifer McMaster, Robert Martin, Olivia Savio-Matev and Matthew Wells.
“Copenhagen is small and dense, with a unique mix of residential and commercial space. Most of the land upon which the city is built has been reclaimed. This has forced the city to grow in a particular way around the canals and waterways that divide central Copenhagen from its bordering suburbs and communes.
The small-scale, high-density architecture of Copenhagen creates a charming and intriguing atmosphere. The city's architectural precincts, facades and awnings strongly reflect its historical development. There are neighborhoods such as Frederiksberg, full of Baroque and Renaissance influences, as well as more modern housing projects in areas such as Nørrebro.
The people of Copenhagen are friendly, engaging and helpful. They are also honest, pragmatic and as intriguing as the city in which they live. Danes have a strong and friendly association with Australia, and are generally excited to hear about who we are, where we come from, and what we do. Many would like to visit Australia.
Rules are a strong part of Denmark’s culture. All Danes are respectful of them, and there is a strong sense of civic pride. In Copenhagen, everyone observes the road, pedestrian and cycle rules. For example, jaywalking is rare and often penalised by fines. Visitors are expected to respect this culture.
The city has an excellent network of bike paths, which form an integral part of the city’s transport system. Although there are buses and a Metro system, many people choose to cycle. The result is a city that is much slower in pacer and has less vehicle congestion.
Exploring the city and cycling in general are aided by the fact that the city is flat and legible. However, we have noticed that the majority of Copenhagen’s streets are not perfectly straight. This adds a sense of mystery and adventure throughout the city.
Each MADE team member was quick to acquire a bike and begin cycling. Navigating the city on foot is generally easy and relaxing, but bikes transform the experience. Long streets turn into short corridors and the entire city becomes accessible. At times, cycling can be arduous given extreme conditions in winter. However, we are all adjusting to the new climate and have managed to cycle in rain, fog, snow and, once or twice, Scandinavian sunshine.
These seasonal conditions are yet another defining factor in Copenhagen. The city takes on very disparate atmospheres across the seasons. In winter, the city is awash with slushy ice, fog and bitter winds that force the townspeople off the streets and into bars and restaurants. In summer, the waterfront becomes the playground of the entire city. As in Sydney, the waterfront is a strong presence in people’s minds. In the past, it was a major part of their economy. Today, it is a gathering place for celebration and enjoyment.
Copenhagen is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. Through consistently setting goals to be more sustainable, the city has become of the greenest in Europe and aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Along with its green and blue initiatives, Copenhagen is also very advanced in its strategic planning and has adopted some highly innovative approaches to urban development. It is a very inspiring place to live and work, and is extremely forward-thinking in its understanding of cities, space, urban planning and architecture.”