Scan|Design Architecture Master Studio
Copenhagen is the only city in the world to have been named “Most Livable City” by Monocle magazine three times, but like many other cities around the world, including Seattle, Copenhagen is facing major challenges – its population is rising fast and housing costs are skyrocketing. Copenhagen is growing by approximately 1000 people every month. At the same time, the government is trying to abolish the law that requires a minimum of 25% of all newly constructed houses to be affordable housing.
So how can Copenhagen, or any growing city, achieve true diversity, offer attractive and affordable housing for a wide range of people, and continue to densify – without sacrificing its quality of living? How can we make sure that Copenhagen will stay livable and inclusive for a mix of all types of people? In response to this crisis the mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, has started a campaign to ensure that regular people with an average income are not priced out of the city by providing housing for all kinds of people, young and old, rich and poor, called #KøbenhavnForAlle, or “Copenhagen For Everyone.”
The goal of this studio will be to examine how we might address this challenge through the themes of urban diversity, density, and local communities. This can happen at an urban or neighborhood scale, but we specifically propose to explore the limits of the potential for diversity and urban life within the typology of the perimeter housing block, the “DNA” of Copenhagen if you will. Through proposals for new, playful, and exciting ways of living we will explore how much diversity can we put into a perimeter block, or even a single apartment building. While individual buildings will cater to wildly different demographics and celebrate their differences, the perimeter block will offer the opportunity for a social community in which people with different socio-economic backgrounds are unified through otherwise unlikely social connections. Given the assignment of each student designing parts of a whole, the final result will have a level of unpredictability that no one can really control, just like in a city. Thus, one might say the studio will be an experiment in nurturing urban life, diversity and local socio-economic communities – one building (block) at a time.