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Extension planning and the historic city: civic design strategies in the 1908-9 Copenhagen international competition

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In shedding light on the 1908-9 competition for Greater Copenhagen this article examines the contest as an instrument for the accumulation and transmission of planning know-how, ideas and innovations in relation to the development of town planning theory and practice in the Nordic Countries. Plans are considered as both technical and cultural graphics marks reflecting alternative and possibly contradictory images of the greater city or city of the future. The discussion focuses on the relationship between urban design's twin polarities: urban transformation and creation on the one hand; concern for conservation and urban continuity on the other. After considering the competition's international dimension, the article explores the civic art strand of design in northern Europe before 1914 and the idea of the historic city by investigating the conservation movement that flourished in Copenhagen when there were rapid changes in the physical fabric. The article, based on archive materials, analyses of awarded and non-awarded entries alike, illustrates how architects, engineers and surveyors combined their design of the city's extensions with conservation schemes for both peripheries and centre. It is suggested that, at a time when Nordic municipal authorities were pressing for comprehensive town planning, planners strove to provide ways of protecting the existing built environment. This involved not only safeguarding an emerging 'historic city' in contrast to the new extensions, but also proposals for maintaining urban continuity in the peripheries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aalborg University DK-9100 Aalborg Denmark (), Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2004-07-01

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