Da byen flyttede på landet – Det danske plansystem & arkitekternes utopier

Martin Odgaard


This article explores the issue of urban planning of Danish cities – more specifically how cities are delineated. The article explores the issue with a historical, architectural and legislative approach as well as an architectural reading of several Danish reference projects from the mid- to late 1960’s. Including projects by Peter Bredsdorff as well as very early works by Henning Larsen, Vandkunsten and Friis & Moltke.

The Danish urban planning system was to a large degree born in the 1970s through a series of legislative reforms. The main purpose of these reforms was to set the framework for the planning for urban development, as well as setting a ban on the non-planned development. A key outcome of this system of legislation and administration has since then had a significant effect on the urban morphology of Danish cities; they are to be held together. Newer, smaller cities are, as separate entities, precluded from being planned and thus developed – urban development is seen only as incremental expansions of existing cities.

I suggest that there is, maybe not a deliberate cause-and-effect, but an interesting correlation at play here; parts of Danish urban planning discourse seem too experimental and almost avant-garde with regards to urban morphology in the mid-late 1960’s. However, this avant-garde approach is nowhere to be seen after the planning reform of the 1970’s.

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