Contemporary Nordic Architecture and Urban Design
Paper in proceedings, 2014
“Super Danish”, “New Nordic”, and “Scandinavian welfare
design” are among numerous seductive names that coin
planning and architecture practices from the North in recent
years. Drawing on historic recognition of design traditions,
the Scandinavian approach has recently experienced a profound
Landscape architects and urban designers from Denmark
and the other Nordic countries have increasingly become
exporters of design solutions to places like Beijing, New York
and Christchurch, while Copenhagen repeatedly receives
awards for its liveability. Nordic planning is often promoted
as particularly human, ecologically sustainable, and democratic.
However, looking beyond the immediate branding effect,
what themes and values, methods and challenges are current
in Nordic urban space design and planning in the early 21st
century? Where are the gaps between imaginary and reality?
How does the Nordicness relate to what is going on in other
regions and cultures and what does it potentially have to offer?
Which movements, paradoxes, conflicts and challenges
exist? Where are the blind alleys? And how do these current
trends reflect traditions of design and placemaking exploring
site, process and nature?
Open Space Design