See climate adaptation through the Copenhagen Lens

8 January 2019
Last summer, a group of young professionals with different backgrounds from around the world were gathered in Copenhagen for the ‘Copenhagen Urban Lab’ event. During nine intensive days, the team developed innovative solutions to urban resiliency challenges as for instance a tangible lens which makes it easier to integrate different perspectives in flood-risk management. The report is now ready for download.
From Copenhagen Urban Lab 2018

From Copenhagen Urban Lab 2018


Trine Stausgaard Munk

Trine Stausgaard Munk

Project Manager
T: +45 5161 2827
Marianne Skov

Marianne Skov

Flood Risk Specialist
T: +45 5161 3527

By Martin Zoffmann

While others were enjoying the hottest summer in decades, eight young professionals, all below 35 of age and with a common interest in urban resilience, were working hard to develop new solutions to well-known problems: Risk of flooding caused by climate change.

Following a successful first-timer in 2017 and organized by Ramboll together with IWA, Young Water Professionals, Water in Cities, HOFOR), and the City of Copenhagen, Kamstrup, The Copenhagen Urban Lab 2018 took place 5-14 – this time with a key challenge of building concepts for storm surge protection in Amager Strand (beach area nearby the city centre of Copenhagen). 

One common lens

Focus was on the interface between flood risk and urban livability, and the participants were to mix technical, socio-economical and communicative skills. However, the group quickly agreed that a systematic methodology has yet to be developed to capture various interests and priorities to see the development of holistic coastal solutions. Typically, many interests, opportunities and synergies are lost in the traditional coastal planning process, producing an outcome. 

To address these common pitfalls, the team developed ‘the Copenhagen Lens’. The Lens can be applied to traditional planning processes and guide physical and non-physical solutions, speak to local context, and offer a platform for collectively exploring and defining different visions of coastal protections. 

This tool builds a common language across diverse groups, encourages a documented and transparent process, and consolidates many different perspectives into a strategic direction. The Lens increases awareness and collaboration, allows discovery of synergies, and integrates stakeholder values into coastal solutions. As a result, it leads to cost-effective and multi-functional approaches to coastal adaptation.

Structured in the form of a Ven Diagram

The Lens is a visual tool that provides a method for capturing, understanding, and balancing the set of present and/or future core values unique to a coastal region. These values are then used to guide the coastal adaptation planning and design process for a holistic outcome. The Lens is structured in the form of a Ven Diagram between the three broad principles of sustainable development: Social, Economic, and Environmental. Each of these principles are represented by five core values, which serve to aid the local application of the Lens. 

Inspired by the informative presentations from experts across the City of Copenhagen, the Urban Lab Team summarized their findings into five values for each of the pillars of sustainability (social, economic, and environmental). These values were also compared to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and were vetted by the team internally – utilizing the knowledge, experience, and various perspectives of their international and multidisciplinary expertise.

Click to download the report (PDF, 6.1 MB).

More information

Climate adaptation and landscape
Copenhagen Urban Lab event 2018

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001


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