Mayor promises to clean up city centre

Copenhagen's Lord Mayor wants to make sure that the facelift currently underway continues throughout the city

For visitors to Denmark's capital in recent years, there can be no doubt: the city is in the midst of a building boom. Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard announced on Thursday plans to ensure that the changes leave residents with a more liveable city.

The crux of Bjerregaard's plan is what she calls a 'metropolitan zone' that will link the busiest part of the city with its waterfront.

'We're a city of over a million people and we need to draw on that fact,' Bjerregaard said.
'You can find people from all over the world here. I want us to be able to say that in the metropolitan zone, things work.'

Klaus Bondam, the deputy mayor for environmental and technical issues, said the plan would be a way to harness the interest architects have shown in Copenhagen.

'Internationally renowned architects such as Daniel Liebeskind are standing in line to work in Copenhagen. That wasn't the case just five or six years ago. We need an overarching strategy to give them a framework.'

Copenhagen's waterfront, which has been transferred from industrial port to inner city swimming area, was the natural focal point of the downtown area plan.

'The harbour needs to become more a part of the city. When I moved here 25 years ago, no one could ever dream of swimming there. City residents have made the harbour swimming areas their own, and that's something we can build on.'

Bjerregaard admitted that some the elements of her plan, including constructing a tunnel for one of the city's busiest boulevards, bordered on wishful thinking.

'But that doesn't mean that you can't wish. Sometimes you need to be wild, otherwise, not enough happens.'

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