APRILab: Regulation Dilemma in South Harbor & Aalborg East, Denmark

Jesper Rohr Hansen

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The Danish cases of this report have previously been described in the APRILAB report that focused on intervention dilemmas (Savini, Salet, & Markus, 2014). What this intervention-report demonstrates is that the cases vary on dimensions of maturity and market setting. The brownfield case, Sydhavn Copenhagen [in English, ‘South Harbour’] demonstrates an urban periphery development that in terms of strategy formation, project development and implementation has been running since the late 1990s. Accordingly, most of the city district of Sydhavn Copenhagen has been planned for. However, despite the maturity of the case, much of the construction work is still going on: The proposed population objectives in terms of reaching an inhabitant number forecast of 15500 in 2025 is only about 1/3 completed, and so is construction work1. The main explanation for this slow progress in terms of construction is the financial crisis that paralyzed the development in the area in the years 2007-2011; however, as this report shows, the deployment of new regulative tools as well as an expansionist municipal growth strategy have also contributed to this slow progress, generating problems of cooperation between landowners and diverting the attention and resources of the municipal system (administratively, politically). The suburban case, Aalborg Øst [in English, ‘Aalborg East’], in the City of Aalborg, is another type of case completely. This case is immature in the sense that only the first building blocks for a strategy formation for the area have been produced by means of regionally, municipally and architecturally comprehensive plans. Therefore, the city district has been designated the role of primary growth area in this part of the region in the current years boasting of billions of DKK of investments, such as a light rail, a university hospital, university campus, social housing refurbishment and sports facilities. As such, the area is essential for the overall strategic positioning and branding of Aalborg City as a knowledge-based, international and business-attractive ‘Smart City’. Further, the size of the area is gigantic in contrast to Sydhavn Copenhagen, the total plan for the area covering around 30 square kilometres. As a consequence of these factors, no consensus across stakeholders (business networks, developers, municipal administrations) has been firmly established yet in terms of which parts of these areas should be developed first, and what district function these developments should have in the years to come.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research
Number of pages125
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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