Today’s Solutions: December 06, 2022

Like hundreds of other coastal cities across the world, Copenhagen is vulnerable to climate change-induced sea-level rise that is significantly increasing the city’s risk of flooding during storms. In a bid to protect its capital, the Danish government is now preparing plans for a huge project: building an artificial island to hold the rising water back, while also allowing the city to add new houses.

“Rather than considering the need for climate-proofing and flood protection a stand-alone project, Lynettholm combines climate-proofing with urban development,” says Ole Schrøder, one of the designers working on the project.

The developers will build the artificial island — which is almost as big as Central Park — in the middle of the Port of Copenhagen. There it will protect the city from storm surges by acting as a dam, while also adding new housing for 35,000 residents. North of the island, a passage to the city’s harbor will have gates that can close in the event of a severe storm.

Rather than building huge walls to keep the water out, the island will absorb it with designated open spaces. The island “is planned with wide beaches and flat stretches of coast, whose absorbent edges reduce the strength of the waves and can thus be established in a lower terrain,” says Schrøder.

In addition to homes, the space will also have a park designed to support local biodiversity. While a cool addition to the city’s green areas, the park will also act as a buffer for extreme weather. “The landscape can be easily adapted with new terrain types in connection with future sea-level rise,” he says.

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