Urban development and planning are about much more than buildings and districts – nor are they limited to our big cities. The way in which we live, work and travel around is constantly changing, and our plans for both cities and villages have to be able to cope with such change over time.
Our cities and towns must be able to accommodate the many new arrivals without compromising their green assets and without overburdening the system, while the structures in rural areas need to sustain living villages with good facilities for living and working.
Economic, social and ecological sustainability add up to a good city
For us, sustainability – environmental, social and economic – is fundamental to our planning work. Social sustainability in the sense of security and a feeling of identity and affiliation can be incorporated into a project by shaping suburbs, districts, courtyards, streets and squares. This makes them easy to use and reflects our human ability to engage with our surroundings.
Economic sustainability is concerned with the life cycle of the project. We need to plan the city to last, and use the most suitable materials according to the lifetime and purpose of the buildings. We also believe that the best results are achieved by working together. That is why we have extensive experience of public consultation, impact assessments and social analyses.
Needless to say, we work with all of the certification schemes in the industry, and we develop our own tools to encourage the projects to minimise their impact on the climate. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our age, and those of us who are involved in planning are well placed to push developments in the right direction. It is when we set the agenda for urban planning that we can make the biggest difference.
Climate adaptation – a natural part of urban development
It is becoming more and more important to manage the climate challenges that are already affecting us. Climate adaptation is therefore one of the key parameters in our work, whether we are involved in new construction, local renewal or general urban development.
Climate adaptation is one of the key parameters in our work
Increased precipitation and heatwaves place greater demands on the way we handle rainwater and cool our cities, and we generally recommend nature’s own solutions to these problems – what we call ecosystem services. These include rain gardens to handle surface water, cleansing contaminated soil with the aid of vegetation, or planting trees to bring the temperature down and clean the air between the buildings.
If we allow nature to shape our densely populated areas, we will lay the foundations for a good quality of life, better mental health and a planet that can withstand the pressure of human numbers.
We preserve and develop existing urban areas
Our planners and landscape architects are experienced in all stages of an urban planning process, from the overall structure to the detailed planning, design and creation of a park.
We work all over the country, from our largest cities to the smallest municipalities. Our colleagues in the other Scandinavian offices and the engineers from COWI are also part of our extensive knowledge network, along with partners from the research world such as the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Chalmers University of Technology