Urbanisation, urban growth and planning in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Region with reference studies from Europe and the USA

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87 % of the Danish population lives in urban areas and thus urbanisation in Denmark may have come to an end, but urban growth has not. We are continuously using more and more urban land per capita, and the pace is increasing. Every year, around 15 km2, the size of the city of Ringsted, become transformed from natural to urban land in Denmark. A driving force behind this is the emergence of metropolitan regions, which integrate vast parts of rural areas into the urban system. Peri-urban areas are one of the hot spots of change. Agricultural and nature areas are under significant transformation pressure. Growth management strategies are necessary to secure future balanced and sustainable development throughout the whole urban region.
The analysis of urbanisation and urban growth in peri-urban areas is at the core of this study, including socio-demographic and functional dynamics, land use impacts and options for spatial planning. The main case was the metropolitan region of Copenhagen, Denmark. Other cases from Europe and the USA were used as reference studies. The methods included quantitative analyses of register and land use data as well as general case study work to investigate options for spatial planning.
The study shows that, while the most visible impacts of land use changes can be found at the close urban fringe, many other dynamics have a much longer reach into the rural-urban region. In the Copenhagen metropolitan region, we can observe migration to peri-urban areas and to the urban core in parallel, but dominated by different social groups. Peri-urban agriculture is adapting to this through multifunctional practices including non-productive activities as well as urban-oriented services. Nature areas are, in many cases, well protected. However, the areas closest to cities are still threatened, and urban sprawl remains a problem. The recent economic crisis has slowed down urbanisation in the most distant areas of the Copenhagen metropolitan region, which is consolidating.
This project was funded by the Centre for Strategic Urban Research (Realdania Research) and the EU-FP6 integrated research project “PLUREL - Peri-urban land use relationships -Strategies and Sustainability Assessment Tools for Urban-Rural Linkages” (EC FP6 036921).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherForest & Landscape, University of Copenhagen
Number of pages58
ISBN (Print)978-87-7903-593-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7903-594-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
SeriesForest and landscape research

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