Nordhavn: blueprint for a 5-minute city

Designed to reach all amenities within 5 minutes’ walk, Nordhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a carbon-neutral development plan that has received DGNB’s highest gold certification for sustainability. And provides 40,000 residents access to nature on their doorstep.
With its unique harbour position and an area covering the size of 625 football grounds, Nordhavn (North Harbour in English) in Copenhagen, Denmark, is Scandinavia's largest and most ambitious city development project in recent times. The vision is to transform the old port area into an attractive and sustainable city of the future.
“Developing a new sustainable neighbourhood requires structural changes in all areas of economic, social, environmental, and political life,” says Søren Hansen, project director. “In the short term, projects are typically conflicted between global, national, and local sustainable development priorities. To be sustainably successful in this long-term development project, we examine available policy options and translate the project’s broad vision into specific short and long-term objectives.”
Setting the standard for environmental, social, and sustainable development
Sustainability is integral to every phase and all aspects of the project, even setting new standards for working with sustainability – both in Denmark and internationally. Nordhavn is the only new urban district globally to receive DGNB’s highest gold certification for sustainability.
Social, economic, and environmental sustainability go hand in hand in Nordhavn. Sustainability does not only relate to a sustainable supply of energy, or one or two sustainable buildings, but will be part of every aspect of the everyday life for the people living there.
Creating attractive cityscapes
To promote liveability and sustainability, Ramboll master planned and designed Nordhavn as a “5-minute city” so people can reach shops, institutions, workplaces, cultural facilities, and public transport within 5 minutes’ walk from any point in the district.
“Nordhavn provides the opportunity for 40,000 people in Copenhagen to have nature at their doorstep – right in the centre of the city. Its neighbourhood design drastically rethinks how cities can combine different ways of living with sustainable energy, environment, mobility, and cityscape solutions,” explains Ramboll project manager and architect, Jacob Deichmann.
Promoting public transport, smart mobility, and cycling
Today, commuting accounts for an increasing share of society's expenditure, whether measured in time, money, or pollution. Nordhavn’s master planning and mobility-enabling designs makes it easier to walk, cycle, and use the metro than to travel by car. Ramboll’s urban design and transportation teams plan to create a CO2-concious neighbourhood that showcases the benefits public transport and cycling.
Over the next 50 years, Nordhavn will expand to accommodate 40,000 inhabitants and 40,000 workplaces. The area will feature an elevated metro track and a greened bicycle network. The elevated track functions as a cover for the bicycle ‘highway,’ so cyclists can stay dry in all weather.
Solar cells and geothermal energy can comfort the community all year
From an environmental perspective, we are ensuring the CO2-neutral urban area accommodates energy forms such as district cooling, district heating, and geothermal energy, while solar cells provide electricity. A geothermal energy plant will deliver low-carbon heat to Nordhavn and parts of the nearby Østerbro city district. The world's biggest heating storage facility will store surplus heat in the summertime and use the stored energy in the wintertime.
Collaboration is key
To meet city of Copenhagen’s expectations, Ramboll is consultant for the overall development and is undertaking urban development projects in the nearby Aarhusgade and Sundmolen areas, as well as the 3-km long road link ‘Nordhavnsvej,’ the new road tunnel ‘Nordhavnstunnellen,’ and the new Nordhavn metro extension connecting the district to the greater city.
Ramboll is working with COBE architects, SLETH, and Polyform on the project, which won the project competition with 179 proposals from around the world.

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  • Jacob Deichmann

    Specialist, chefkonsulent

    +45 51 61 36 43

  • Anders Dyrelund

    Senior Market Manager

    +45 51 61 87 66