Honoring the pedestrian is one of the principles for rebuilding neighborhood retailing. Window displays along with the ability to see inside a store are characteristics that attract buyers and make them feel safe. The low windows on central Copenhagen enable all kinds of people to easily see what each store is about – children, adults, elders. The light coming from the windows increases visibility on the street, particularly at night, translating transparency to a sense of comfort and security.

Engaging the pedestrian through window placement


The pavement around Stork Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in central Copenhagen, is reminiscent of a carpet pattern. Its inviting nature means that often, visitors can be seen seating on the actual pavement during events in the plaza.

Material and Finishes


Copenhagen is punctuated by plazas and parks of all kinds, ones that provide activities for different ages and interests. Israels Plads square hovers over an underground parking lot, uniting the city and strengthening its urban fabric. Sculptural concrete steps allow people to spend time enjoying the sun or people-watching while water features provide children an opportunity to learn and play. There are also open spaces for small games of sports along with references to the plaza’s past as part of the city’s

Fostering engagement


On top of bicycles, Copenhagen relies on public transportation, such as the metro and buses. In fact, the city’s new metro is noted for its exceptional design features. In Norrebro, the main street is blocked off so that only buses and bicycles are allowed to drive through, ensuring that equity of access is achieved throughout the population.

Public Transportation


Night-time lighting is important for security and safety. Overdoing it however, can be as bad as not enough lighting. In the Norrebro neighborhood, one of the city’s most diverse and lower-income areas, a combination of over the street with entry lighting creates a sense of orientation for both pedestrians and drivers.  

Street lighting


Places to sit and rest can be found throughout the city, which emphasizes the city’s attention to people’s needs. Whether for visitors or residents, seating along streets encourages people to be out and about while having a place to take a break, stop and people-watch, or socialize. Seating arrangements range from publicly-provided benches to store-provided seating. 

Seating areas everywhere


Close to 70% of housing in Denmark is within a cooperative housing scheme. Anyone buying a house or an apartment pays for the right to use that unit, and their payment covers a share of the wealth of the cooperative itself. The tax structure is designed to keep these units affordable, protecting the residents financially and from homelessness. As people across the socio-economic spectrum can be sharing a co-op, connections can be built between retired workers, young students, doctors, policemen, artists, and so on. Co-operative housing can be found everywhere in the city.

Co-operative Housing


Trust is one of the indicators measured by the World Happiness Report that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. Trust is built through values such as the fact that citizens are encouraged to speak up when they witness something that is not okay. At the same time, the built environment also communicates trust. Take for example, the metro which trusts passengers for paying their fees and therefore, lacks the typical security measures such as the turnstile access control. If caught for not having purchased a ticket though, the fine is steep. Another indicator of the Danish etiquette for being respectful for others’ individual needs is that metro trains include a quiet section—similar to those in the libraries—where passengers need to be mindful of the noises they make. And, during major events sponsored in the city, the metro is free to increase accessibility.

Building Trust


Responding to the love of soccer among Somalis and Latinos, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board has created artificial turf fields throughout the city. As Jayne Miller, Superintendent, notes “parks are the great equalizer in any community…. because everyone has access to them….we make sure that our policies and procedures aren’t barriers for people to use our facilities and services.” The Minneapolis Park System is the #1 park system in the US (Minneapolis Retains, 2017).

Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Photo credit: May 2013 Photo by Scott A. Schneider for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. 612.670.7116 – sallenschneider@comcast.net

This wooden bird toy/decoration is made by ArchitectMade and is a timeless classic Danish design by Kristian Vedel. It is made of high quality oak. What is intriguing is that its head can turn to reflect different moods: happy, sad or curious. At the same time, the body can turn to present a boy or a girl. The flexibility and adaptability of this design speaks to the Danish’s value of caring which is embedded in Danish early childhood education. Caring values target and support the child’s needs, making children sensitive to how their own and others’ everyday lives intersect with well-being. The poster shows how the city prides itself of a legacy where a policeman stopped traffic so a mother duck and her ducklings can cross the street.

Cultivating Inclusivity