Revitalizing Tingbjerg as a safe, community-oriented, and biodiverse neighborhood in Copenhagen.

Curious for more?

Mette Skjold

CEO, Senior Partner, Architect MAA MLI


Tingbjerg, Copenhagen, Denmark


23 ha.


2017 — 2027




Lead Consultant (strategic development plan). Landscape Architect (infrastructure plan, local plans, and landscape design).

Partners & Collaborators

Vandkunsten, Via Trafik, NIRAS, Niels Bjørn, Rekommanderet, The City of Copenhagen

The Tingbjerg project is a plan to open, diversify and revitalize the neighborhood Tingbjerg in Copenhagen while integrating 1,000 new privately owned homes. The non-profit housing area holds significant architectural and culture-historical values that our project works to preserve at the same time as changing the elements that haven’t worked very well.

Tingbjerg was designed in the 1950s by renowned architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen and landscape architect C. Th. Sørensen upon strong ideas of community, human well-being, and the importance of being close to nature. The area had a brief period as a successful model city before it became increasingly characterized by long-lasting social challenges and negative publicity. Thus, a revitalization strategy was in 2015 initiated.

The ongoing project aims to create better connections to the surroundings and establish new, safe, and attractive meeting places for the present and future residents; places with social, biological, and aesthetic values, where life in Tingbjerg can flourish anew.

The transformation follows the principles of the ‘Tingbjerg Urban Development Plan 2018-2025’, which SLA spearheaded in 2017. The ongoing physical development is wired as a collaboration between private developer (NREP), the public housing associations in Tingbjerg (fsb and SAK/KAB), the City of Copenhagen, and a team of planning specialists, with SLA and Vandkunsten as the lead consultants.

fig. 2 Tingbjerg is currently physically and mentally isolated from the surrounding urban areas. Both in relation to traffic and the extensive natural areas outside 'the walls'. The development plan supports making Tingbjerg a connected neighborhood where the surrounding natural qualities can be felt and experienced. New city nature, openings, and attractive routes to and from Tingbjerg are therefore central.
fig. 1 Tingbjerg is a district in the middle of nature, on the edge of Copenhagen.
fig. 3 The structure of the original Tingbjerg is preservation-worthy and will continue to be the bearing structure when the 1,000 new homes are fitted in. None of the trees along the large avenues will be felled and the character of the residential streets – with homes on one side – will be preserved as an overall principle.
fig. 4 The new plan is taking shape: The red houses are currently being built as part of development phase 1.

The densification adds a layer of new urban qualities

The scope was to add 1,000 new homes to the 2,200 already contained in the 23-hectare district.  The significant densification bears the consequence that the total area of urban spaces will shrink, and the potential to change the area’s problematic elements.

Central goals for us have been to preserve a maximum of communal green areas and enhance the quality, biological diversity, and perceived safety of the urban spaces.

One of the solutions has been to place the new buildings at the edge of the communal garden spaces and keep the new roads as narrow as possible. Thus, we have created space for preservation or reestablisment of 80 % of the existing trees – while also fitting in a new consistent structure of lush local meeting spaces.

fig. 5 The new buildings lie on the edge of the garden space, so that the maximum area of garden space and minimal road space is created.
fig. 6

“In the planning of Tingbjerg, we have first thought of nature, green areas, and communities. This means that we have been able to fit in the new homes with many new community-building activities and improved green outdoor spaces. We will even increase the district's biological diversity while densifying it, which is exceptional.”

— Mette Skjold, Partner and CEO, SLA
fig. 8 Tingbjerg's new structure creates 'more eyes on the street' to enhance the perceived safety.
fig. 7

More intimate gardens and new shared Access Spaces

A significant challenge in Tingbjerg is the high level of perceived insecurity. Ensuring ‘more eyes on the street’ and community-oriented meeting places with good overview has therefore been pervasive in our design.

The planning of the new homes mimics the original building structure with its ‘open corners’ that allow free passage. This placing adds a new spatial definition to the original, vast gardens spaces which will make them more intimate and enable the feeling of ownership to grow.

Furthermore, all garden spaces extend through the ’open corners’ of the new buildings where they form small green pockets – the Access Spaces – that current and new households share. The Access Spaces gather everyday functions, such as trash disposal, bike parking, mailboxes, and shelves dedicated for exchange of things. The idea here is to set an attractive and informal framework for unplanned everyday meetings between neighbors.

Walking along the new housing roads to your entrance door will also not feel deserted as before: The kitchen spaces of the new buildings face these roads, and the planting design supports the feeling of overview, as sight lines are maintained at eye level.

fig. 10
fig. 9

(Bio)diverse city nature

The architectural monotony of Tingbjerg was always offset by the diversity given by the planning, the landscape, and the planting. A walk through the new Tingbjerg will also hold this quality while the new nature design will offer a much higher variation of trees, grasses, and flowers than originally. Throughout the new Tingbjerg you will experience diverse streetscapes that give you experiences of moving under treetops or along the edge of a forest. Despite the densification, this means that the biodiversity of Tingbjerg over the years will increase – and thus contribute to making Tingbjerg thrive again, as a place for all life.

fig. 11 So far, seven test houses have been built. The rest will be realized in two phases, with the first one starting in 2023.
fig. 12 In the new plan, a much greater biological variety is introduced in the gardens and outdoor spaces, which i.a. will promote biodiversity and strengthen Tingbjerg's green character.
fig. 14
fig. 13