Søndre Havn
— Køge Kyst

Once an industrial harbor that separated the city from its coastline, The South Harbor of Køge is now a resilient, nature-based neighborhood.

Curious for more?

Tobias Theil Konishi

Project Director, Architect MAA


Køge, Denmark


15 ha.


2010 — 2030


Køge Kyst P/S


Landscape Architect (the development plan for Køge Kyst). Lead consultant/landscape architect (land development, design of public spaces, coastal protection).

Partners & Collaborators

Vandkunsten, Rambøll

In 2010, SLA contributed to the winning development plan for Køge’s former industrial port and railway area, Køge Kyst. The overall vision was to create a social, vibrant, and sustainable district by the coast that strengthens Køge’s role as an important center in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area and the Øresund region.

Thirteen years later, the green commons that characterize the entire Søndre Havn district – Køge Kyst’s first, new neighborhood – were officially inaugurated.

SLA’s landscape plan for Søndre Havn features semi-public, lush commons that tie the area together, handle all rainwater runoff, enhance biodiversity, and connect to the public promenade that encircles the neighborhood. The 1.4 km long promenade acts as a connector and protector, linking residents to the bordering salt meadow, harbor, and beach while also protecting the area from future storm surges.

fig. 1 Two key concepts in the development plan for Søndre Havn are its multifunctional green commons and the encircling public promenade.
fig. 2 All the area's rainwater is led through the green commons, which also function as recreational common spaces for the residents. The 15 ha. district will be fully developed around 2030.
fig. 3 The new promenade connects Søndre Havn to the southern salt meadow, the beach, and Køge Harbor.
fig. 4

The commons 

The semi-public commons are the area’s green refugees. Designed with interesting plantings, playgrounds, and areas for picnics, fitness and hammocks, they form an informal framework for the residents to meet, play and be active. When it rains, a winding waterway develops through the commons, as all rainwater runoff in Søndre Havn is handled here.

The entire neighborhood is designed to be slightly raised in the middle. This ensures that rainwater can run off to both sides – either directly into the harbor or into the salt meadow, where it will seep into the ground. Thus, the landscape secures Søndre Havn for a 100-year cloudburst event in a 2100 climate – comparable to a 500-year cloudburst event today.

fig. 5
fig. 6 Plan section: Two of the commons.
fig. 8
fig. 7 During rainfall, you will experience winding waterways forming in the commons.

The nature design

The vision of bringing nature close to people has been a central driver for the public space design. In Søndre Havn, this goes hand in hand with sensuous nature experiences, a high biodiversity, and a low need for maintenance.

While the planting on the promenade draws its inspiration from the salt meadow and the coastal planting – that can withstand sun, wind, and salt – the planting in the commons is inspired by the forest edges you find along Denmark’s east-facing coasts.

To create varied and eventful routes, we have worked with a mix of space-creating plantings, bushes, trees, and areas with low-cut grasses, laid out in an organically organized plan. The combination of multi-stemmed trees and ground cover plantings gives the planting a natural character, while the robust, long-lived, and stable plants ensure low maintenance.

The species are chosen to serve as a habitat for a magnitude of insects, birds, and animals and to create a variety of sensuous experiences over the year: In the spring, there are white daffodils, yarrows in the summer, and red leaves in October. Closest to everyday life in the housing are berry bushes, fragrant flowers, and trees with colorful foliage.

The promenade

The coastal areas near Køge are at high risk of flooding during storm surges. Besides being a recreational amenity, the elevated promenade around Søndre Havn therefore also serves as a tidal dike.

Architecturally, we have envisioned the wide promenade as the connection to the surrounding nature, sea, and harbor. Along its south-facing edges are stairs and recreational spaces where the local residents and visitors can enjoy the sun or access the footpaths of the large salt meadow.

In the coming years, the promenade will extend to Køge’s harborfront. From here, you can access the beach, experience traces of the industrial heritage, and enjoy the view of the Øresund.

fig. 9 In the coming years, the promenade – and the coastal protection – will extend to Køge's harbor front. From here, you can access the beach, experience the industrial heritage, and enjoy the view of the Øresund.
fig. 10