Copenhagen is building a huge island in its harbor to protect against sea level rise


As the sea level rises on the shores of Copenhagen—likely by at least a foot and a half by the end of the century—the city will become more vulnerable to flooding during storms. So the government is now making plans to take a drastic step as part of its plan for protection: Over the coming decades, it will build an artificial island to hold the rising water back, while doubling as room for new housing.

“Rather than considering the need for climate-proofing and flood protection a stand-alone project, Lynetteholm combines climate-proofing with urban development,” says Ole Schrøder, a founding partner at Tredje Natur, one of three design firms working on the project for By & Havn, a city-owned development company. The Danish Parliament recently voted to move forward with building the island.

The new island, roughly four-fifths the size of Central Park, will sit in the middle of the Port of Copenhagen, helping protect the city from storm surges by acting as a dam, while adding new homes for 35,000 residents. North of the island, a passage to the city’s harbor will have gates that can close in the event of a major storm. Instead of tall walls to hold back the water, the island will have open spaces designed to help absorb it. The island “is planned with wide beaches and flat stretches of coast, whose absorbent edges reduce the strength of the waves and can thus be established in a lower terrain,” says Schrøder.

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Fast Company, 9 June 2021