(Sustainable Cities Block)
2. COPENHAGEN: A MODEL OF SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Hans Peder Pedersen
Copenhagen, which was a harbour city since the 12th century, has so many similarities with the origins of Manila but took an entirely different direction that transformed it into one of the most sustainable cities in the world. In 1947, Danish architects and planners Peter Bredsdorff and Sten Eiler Rasmussen unveiled a visionary structure plan for the Greater Copenhagen Area that became the basis for its future urban development. The Plan was appropriately dubbed the Finger Plan (Fingerplanen), a metaphor which helped illustrate the radio-centric expansion of the city (the palm) along five radiating corridors (fingers). Unlike Metro Manila, however, the areas (wedges between the fingers) were preserved as forests, agricultural lands and recreational areas. The city expanded outward along five main commuter rail lines (“S-Train) while preserving sizable green spaces around the urbanized nodes. Radial motorways were also later laid out in the green wedges. The Integrated Transport System (vehicular roads, rail systems, bikeways) gave the people a lot of transport options that increased mobility. New housing projects were built (with at least 1,000 meters distance from stations) along the suburban railways to accommodate a growing urban population while retaining the green wedges between the fingers.
The Finger Plan has endured for more than 60 years mainly because of a sustained consultative process of reassessment and refinement to address specific areas or new urban development issues. Copenhagen has benefitted a lot from the foresightedness of the Finger Plan and has been recognized consistently as one of the most liveable cities in the world, the most bicycle-friendly, and one of the most environment-friendly cities.