DIS, a study abroad center in Copenhagen, provides students with multiple opportunities to engage and reflect–alone or with others. The bright orange color sparks students’ energy levels while the organic form of seating in the library juxtaposes the rigidity of book shelves. Inspirational quotes line the walls, giving students a sense of purpose.

Pushing creativity


As the city expands, housing developments border Amager Nature Park. With over 3,000 acres, the park is one of the largest close to a metropolis – within biking distance. Grazing cows, horses and sheep keep trees and large plants down. The park includes everything from savannah, dense woods and salt marshes to bird-rich lakes and canals with frogs and snakes. Activities range from biking and walking to finding peace and studying rare plants.

Protecting natural resources


Copenhagen is filled with architecture that takes risks to defy the traditional definition of a building. Aside from 8House talked about earlier, Bjarke Ingel and his team have built other innovative residential buildings such as the VM Mountain, VM Houses, and Dortheavej.  CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, is a Copenhagen-based heat and waste-to-power plant designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group and built in 2017. What is striking is that this industrial plant doubles as a ski slope as its roofline is designed to engage with the community, relating the value that a “sustainable city is not only better for the environment — it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.”

Architecture and risk-taking


Every day, 300 trucks bring garbage to the city’s power plant, turning garbage into something useful: heat for the city’s long, cold winters. Copenhagen prides itself as being a model city for sustainable and healthy solutions. They have made the goal to become carbon neutral by 2025 and have reduced their emissions by 42% from 2005. Others are learning from Copenhagen’s initiatives as they hosted the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit where city mayors, city delegates, climate experts, influencers, and business leaders met to discuss innovative, influential, and solution inspire solutions to combat climate change. There are over 90 cities in the C40 group, including 12 cities in the United States.  

Turning garbage to fuel


As part of Copenhagen’s efforts to fight climate change are initiatives to put most residents less than half a mile from a station. While saving resources, such initiatives also provide equity of access to all city residents.

Providing access to public transportation


BloxHub is a collaborative environment that allows companies of small and large scale to share the same space and work together to devise responses to challenges of global urbanizations and climate change. BloxHub includes the Danish Architecture Center which helps establish Denmark’s relevance to urban planning and design, enabling them to innovate by embracing trial-and-error practices. 



Target retail stores include wide aisles in order to accommodate large families and multiple carts, a common occurrence with the extended family structure of many new immigrant groups. At the same time, Target’s signage relies on symbols rather than words to communicate information such as product placement, bathroom usage, and circulation options (Target, 2013).


Minneapolis, Minnesota

When older adults contribute to the well-being of youth, it cultivates a sense of purpose and extends benefits both ways, according to a new Stanford report. In this part of Norrebro, one of Copenhagen’s most diverse neighborhoods, a school and senior living are located close to each other. Elderly and youth interact at the petting zoo or the garden, strengthening relationships, ensuring that children and teens receive attention and mentoring while older adults can experience the excitement of seeing the world through a younger perspective. 

Bringing The Old and The Young Together


The 8House was designed by Bjarke Ingels Groups as a community-building apartment complex with businesses on the lower floors. There are generous spaces for gardens, a daycare center, community spaces, and a restaurant within the parameters of the building. The building’s shape encourages residents to interact and create connections by for example, access to the units being through a long walkway around the complex. Although this is an upscale community with market-rate housing, it is situated adjacent to an affordable housing complex. This closeness of the residents from different areas of financial background allows the residents to break down stereotypes and learn from each others’ differences.

The 8House


The city embarked on a strategic visioning for the future with 10 projects, including an expanded bike/walk trail system; Community Wide Technology, that provides low cost technology including wireless internet to increase economic prosperity, enhance education, and heighten community safety; Community Recreation Center, where residents can meet, exercise and play; waterways maintenance, including recreational opportunities such as kayaking, canoeing, tubing, swimming and fishing; business-friendly environment that attracts new entrepreneurs, encourages retail and reuse of under-utilized buildings; community pride by fostering support and mentorship programs along with physical beautification; transforming the old utilities building into the anchor for Austin’s Art Row to complement the Main Street Renovation Project; establishing downtown Austin as a destination point; and the “Gateway to Austin,” an iconic I-90 overpass attraction that represents the community’s identity.

Project 2020

Austin, Minnesota

Photo credit: http://www.vision2020austin.com/pages/our-committees/business/