Climate adaptation driving liveability in central Copenhagen

Ramboll helped transform St. Annae Square from a worn down and flood exposed field to a climate adapted and highly liveable urban area leading rainwater directly to the harbour basin while inviting people of all ages and backgrounds to engage, recreate and interact.
Challenge: Old urban square needed an overhaul and flood-risk protection
St Annae Square, laid out in the 18th century and situated between the Copenhagen city centre and the harbour, used to be an attraction for citizens as well as visitors. But during the following years and decades the square was slowly worn down, and in the beginning of the 21st century the once sparkling urban refuge had become a tired and grey spot mainly used as a parking lot. In 2011 the misdeeds peaked when a gigantic cloudburst hit Copenhagen and caused devastating damages. And the damages done to the square and the surroundings were extra costly because the square is surrounded by ambassades and other official buildings. So, after that very intensive rainfall, there was no doubt left that the square needed a general overhaul and solid protection against similar incidents in the future.
Process: Renovation, re-piping, and urban landscaping in one go
In close collaboration with Schønherr landscape architects and with support from the Realdania foundation Ramboll helped transform this worn-down and flood-prone area into an attractive and vibrant urban hub.
We designed an effective, flexible, and simple flood protection where the lowered part of the square collects and conveys water during cloudbursts and discharges this into the harbour. Furthermore, we designed and helped implement a new separate sewer system for collecting rainwater from the entire area.
Results: A global climate adaptation icon project
Today, St Annae Square is a premium example of how renovation and climate adaptation can drive urban liveability. Centered around a beautiful green strip with trees, urban nature, and playgrounds, a highly attractive area with cosy cafées and trendy boutiques pop up behind streams of cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
So, where you before needed to pass a grey and depressing area to reach the harbour front from the city centre, the square now neatly binds the city together and adds to the Copenhagen experience. And the square invites people of all backgrounds to meet, interact and enjoy the Danish capital together.

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