The celebration as UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture 2023 impact the future development of Copenhagen


The year with Copenhagen as World Capital of Architecture will culminate in an architectural policy summit on Wednesday, November 29th. It has been a year filled with 550 different events, exhibitions, and debates on how architecture can contribute to sustainable cities. Now, the reflections from the year will be carried forward into the work on a new climate plan and the city’s future urban development.

2023 is ending, signaling the end of Copenhagen’s celebration as the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture. It has been a year with hundreds of events, and in collaboration with over 150 partners, the City of Copenhagen has showcased the city’s architecture to the world while Copenhageners have engaged in discussions about the city’s urban and architectural development.

Copenhageners have debated at long tables during neighborhood picnics. Open House invited people into buildings and places that are normally closed to the public—more than 6,000 architects from near and far visited the city in connection with the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress in July. Together, Copenhageners discussed, for example, how the city can become greener and more inclusive, as well as how the city’s distinct quirks can be preserved as the city evolves.

The Technical and Environmental Mayor, who co-hosted the year with the Lord Mayor, particularly noticed the participation of many young individuals throughout the year, especially in discussions about the upcoming Rail City:

“It has been fantastic to witness the immense engagement and willingness of Copenhageners to discuss their city. For me, it has been especially heartening to see so many young voices eager to participate in the discussions and contribute to creating good and accessible events that welcome everyone. The youth have a wealth of ideas, tremendous willpower, and commitment to change the city, and we must listen to them. All that knowledge and those ideas can be carried forward when we develop Copenhagen’s new climate plan. I also hope that we can inspire the national architectural policy currently being formulated.”

Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Sophie Hæstorp Andersen says:

”The many interesting debates and conference tracks during UIA-UNESCO World Capital of Architecture 2023 have emphasized the enormous potential that lies in the role of construction in the fight against climate change. We must act on that in Copenhagen. As Lord Mayor, I want the municipality’s more than 800 buildings to support a healthy and good life in the city. In short, we must have buildings that emit less CO2 and do not destroy the climate. At the same time, our buildings must be energy-friendly, have a good indoor climate and be built from sustainable materials. We can and will go ahead. The passed year has shown that the industry is ready to take greater responsibility in the climate area. Now we have to take them at their word and ensure real CO2 savings.”

Minister of Culture Jakob Engel-Schmidt, who will also participate at the closing summit, says:

“Geographically, we are a miniature nation, but we are also a leading architecture nation, and this is what we have shown the world as UIA-UNESCO World Capital of Architecture 2023. Even though the year is coming to an end, we must continue to tell the world about our strong architectural tradition. And we must continue to insist that architecture is the alpha and omega for well-being, communities and is an indispensable partner in the green transition.”

Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, Ernesto Ottone R. says:

“We congratulate the city of Copenhagen for highlighting the key role of architecture and culture in shaping sustainable futures. Copenhagen’s commitment to high-quality built environment resonates with UNESCO’s call for people-centred development. We are confident that Barcelona will build on this strong momentum in 2026.”

The conclusion of the year will be marked by an architectural summit and symposium at DR City on Wednesday, November 29th, focusing on the future of architecture from a municipal/national perspective. 250 participants are expected, including the Minister of Culture and several mayors from Copenhagen and the surrounding municipalities.

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