Orestad vi, a walk in the ‘burbs

The focus of the previous stories about Orestad is on the new “downtown” and the starchitecture buildings around the Orestad Station. Plus some views of the more ordinary apartment architecture for the rest of us.

As was obvious from the aerial photo, Orestad downtown is a fairly dense vertical format housing and office build out adjacent to an enormous sprawling suburb of very low rise housing (note, not necessarily lower density …):

I also did some walking about in the suburban area, the parts of which I saw predated the Orestad Downtown new buildings.

Along the edge of the starchitecture buildings was a nice cycle and walking path:

There was a number of rather brutal steel bridges crossing the drainage canal. Opposite them were paths through the hedgerow into the suburban areas:

I was surprised to find many of them locked. I guess these are resident access only. I didn’t expect to find gated communities in Copenhagen. Eventually I did find one gate open, and entered Orestad suburbia.


The housing cluster consisted of identical-looking units. No colour variation. The severity of the architecture and rigidity reminded me of the dutch-inspired “rochester heights” and other “public” housing in Ottawa of the late 1960’s and 70’s. These were in better shape, better maintained, and unlike Ottawa’s, not ready to be knocked down. We treat so much of our city as disposable.

Parking was “clustered”, with driving lanes paved in asphalt and parking pads in permeable concrete blocks.

The parking area in this development was a bit run down, there were dumpsters, and dumpster divers busy at work, which was another surprise…

Despite the signage, I was taken aback   to find some Danish dog owners are not conscientious as the brand promotes …

Nearby was another housing cluster of a very different sort. It was a large square area subdivided by several narrow lanes, or wonerfs, where pedestrians and cyclists dominate over automobile usage:

Instead of some government or social housing provider, these small lots had an assortment of inexpensive and/or owner-built “cottages”, to which parking pads have been added over time:

Yup, I peered into as many yards as I could …

Behind that fence marked 90K …

My guess is that some of these houses aren’t ageing well, and with the arrival of the much more upscale Orestad Station area, and the improved access into the Big City, land values have shot up. Some owners have cashed out or replaced cottages with newer homes:

… some of which were considerably larger …

Thus evolves the suburbs, or small lot housing. Apartment buildings are larger monolithic structures that do not evolve much over time, except maybe every two decades they might get major exterior replacements and updates.  The evolution of the interiors is another matter that requires more detective work.

Several more blocks of the suburb revealed much the same as suburbs worldwide, with perhaps a slightly higher percentage of semi-attached and small apartments than single family homes on a separate lot, although there were numbers of these, some quite upscale.

I left the gated ‘burbs …

Lured by the glamour of the high rises…


Coming soon … a very different new urban neighbourhood in Copenhagen, called Nordhavn.

2 thoughts on “Orestad vi, a walk in the ‘burbs

  1. Thanks Eric; a lesson in urban geography dispelling some of the idealistic views we might have of urban design and living elsewhere. As you point out it is not only planning and architecture that counts for a sense of place. but also maintenance. Most structures will look good as the day they were built and occupied if they are properly maintained. Even a country cabin will last if well maintained. Is that one of the key issues public housing here?

  2. Ben, IMO yes, it is lack of maintenance, deferred maintenance, or running down your capital investment, deferring appropriate rent, whatever you call it. The problem with socialist models of ownership, and very greedy short termist capitalists, is that they undervalue or run down the capital side to extract short term “social” gains.

Comments are closed.