Creating liveable cities

A liveable city should be sustainable and appealing to its inhabitants. Nordic cities are role models for cities that strive to create ‘the good life’ for their citizens.



Lars Ostenfeld Riemann

Executive Director, Buildings & Aviation Global Division Director
T: +45 5161 6897
The need for smart urban solutions has never been greater than today. Ramboll helps meet this need by designing healthy, safe places in which people can thrive, communities can grow, and the environment can flourish.

Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo are examples of cities that are dedicated to minimizing environmental impact, reducing CO2 emissions and improving the lives of people while maintaining economic growth and social equality. This dedication makes the cities global role models.

Inspiration for other cities

There is, among other things, widespread interest in Copenhagen’s bicycle infrastructure, which has inspired other cities such as New York to do the same to increase the number of people travelling by bike. The purification of the water in the Copenhagen Harbour is another source of inspiration worldwide since it is clean enough to swim in.

Finally, Copenhagen holds a world record in energy-efficient power and heat production due to its extensive district heating network.“One of the reasons for these achievements in the Nordics is the strong public support for acting responsibly and doing the right thing. We are all aware of the importance of maintaining positive urban development – and we believe that we can help other cities to do the same,” says Lars Ostenfeld Riemann, Group Market Director of Buildings in Ramboll.


A good city

If global cities are to provide an attractive setting for high quality urban living, we must consider their development from a holistic perspective, according to Lars Ostenfeld Riemann. The main criterion for a good city is its appeal to its inhabitants.

When people and companies choose which city to locate in, they look at the overall attractiveness, not just the individual building and the view it does or does not offer, says Lars Ostenfeld Riemann:

“Even today, we see that focus is on designing individual buildings and only later is it considered how to adapt them to their urban surroundings. This has often led to “oops” solutions. We spend a lot of time inside buildings, but living more of our lives outside these buildings is something we need to encourage – for instance, meeting each other in squares and parks. We have to create an attractive space for it,” says Lars Ostenfeld Riemann.

Re-thinking the city

To play a role in supporting the City of Copenhagen in its endeavour to create high standard, sustainable urban life in Copenhagen, Ramboll has formed a vision entitled ‘Copenhagen CO2-neutral 2025’ to help the City of Copenhagen reach its ambitious climate goals.

The vision re-thinks how the city can influence energy consumption and supply in all its sectors, from heat and electricity production based on renewable energy sources to citizens' energy-efficient use of appliances and forms of transport, etc.

This approach has attracted international attention. Politicians, journalists and urban planners from New York to Beijing have spotted the inspirational potential. In response, the City of Copenhagen has teamed up with Ramboll to update “Copenhagen Solutions for Sustainable Cities”, a catalogue containing 12concrete examples of sustainable solutions in Copenhagen Nordic experience in the US

The Nordic experience with sustainability is increasingly exported to projects abroad. The Chicago Lakeside master plan is an example of this. The plan earned both a Sustainia Award in the Best City Solution category and the Sustainia Community Award: the people’s choice award for best solution.

Experience from Copenhagen

For this project, Ramboll developed concepts for district heating and cooling, waste and water based on experience from Copenhagen and current economic drivers. When realised, the master plan will provide a new way of living based on 21st-century infrastructure and technology.

Anders Dyrelund, Senior Market Manager at Ramboll explains: “Chicago is taking urban development in the US in a brand new direction. The project is based on the assumption that young people picture themselves living in a city focused on sustainability. In the future, residents will be able to use sustainable cooling, heating and electricity and invest in energy from local wind turbines."

Tomorrow’s sustainable city

The Moscow suburb of Skolkovo is also benefitting from cutting-edge competencies in master planning and sustainable urban development. The ambition is to transform the area into Russia’s equivalent to Silicon Valley by creating an incentive for the world’s creative frontrunners to move to Moscow’s suburbs.

Ramboll has developed a set of requirements designed to ensure that Skolkovo becomes a completely sustainable city.

Søren Hansen, Project Director at Ramboll explains: “Rather than starting with the construction of physical buildings, we first produced a vision of life within the city. To a great extent, this means tapping into the creative, innovative pulse and identifying how residents can create networks. The emerging vision is a city which focuses on the shared community."

(Please note that the Chicago Lakeside project was placed on indefinite hold in February 2016, ed.) 

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Annual Report 2014

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Liveable Cities brochure

Cities have become the engines of economic prosperity and development. Over the next two decades, it is estimated that the global middle class will expand by another three billion people. Ramboll helps cities become more liveable and improve their competitive edge through a full suite of competencies necessary to provide a holistic, cutting-edge city offering.

Creating liveable cities

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