Candidate – Denmark

Submission by: Sybille Buhl Karottki, LYTT Architecture

Project name: THE CLIMATE CITY IN MIDDELFART, Climate adaption and urban development


Short description

The Climate City Middelfart is Denmark’s first climate city and is a unique example of a development strategy that combines climate adaption and urban development with emphasis on involvement of the local community. The project not only holds value in itself, but also strengthens the narrative about Middelfart as a sustainable city. A city where people want to live, work and visit.

Social cohesion

The ClimateCity is a unique example of a combination of urban development and climate adaptation. From the outset, great emphasis was placed on involvement of the local community, industry and other stakeholders, which have all contributed with valuable local insights. The process took the knowledge of the local community into account, resulting in a project where a great deal of local support, commitment and ownership was created. The Climate City consists of three sub-regions; The Forest Neighbourhood, The Avenue Neighbourhood and the Urban Neighbourhood. Each neighbourhood has special characteristics that have been preserved and reinforced though sitespecific designs. Together, the neighbourhoods contribute to Middelfart’s overall identity as the first climate city in Denmark. New blue-green urban spaces offer areas for recreation, social gatherings and physical activity across age and cultural differences. The social cohesion in Middelfart germinates in these spaces and has made climate adaptation a joint affair.


The city of Middelfart is situated on Funen in the beautiful, hilly landscape facing Little Belt. As such, the city already benefits from its scenic surroundings, but the Climate City project has thoroughly drawn the blue and green elements into the city. The water, which used to be a challenge, has now become a resource and an aesthetic element, traveling via “water ways” through the streets of Middelfart towards Little Belt. Water fosters lushness and shows the way to a greener city. This enables green growth and by deliberately working with a varied planting strategy, it increases biodiversity in the city for the good of the environment, the citizens and the city.

Economic factors

A green city is an attractive city, and an attractive city draws in newcomers, companies and tourists, all of which contribute to the city’s economy. Middelfart can brand itself as being the first climate city in Denmark, where the blue and green elements are now an integrated part of the city. As humans, we thrive on living in green environments – in addition to stimulating our senses it lowers our stress levels and increases our overall wellbeing. Therefore, a green city is a good investment not only in terms of climate, but also from an economic perspective, because it supports the narrative of the liveable city. As Denmark’s first climate city, Middelfart stands out as a green city, which offers sustainable green space for living, working and visiting.


Rainwater and gravity has brought new urban qualities to the city of Middelfart. By taking advantage of the natural ground slope, during downpours the water runs via “water ways” on the surface through the streets of Middelfart. This solves the issue of water aggregation and flooding, while at the same time contributing with recreational and aesthetic value. By contrast, in private zones, water seeps into the ground through green rain beds and along the streets. The former grey streets have been supplied with a green element that both prevents aggregation of water and adds amenity value to the neighbourhoods. Conducting water on the surface in the public zones, shows how rainwater can go from being a problem to an opportunity to create new active and recreational urban spaces for the benefit of citizens.

Wellbeing of visitors/users

The new urban spaces offer multipurpose movement areas with a wide selection of spaces and elements as well as recreational oases combined with climate adaptation solutions. It has been important to create solutions that not only address a number of climate challenges, but which also create value for the citizens and visitors. The new spaces have not only added climate resilience to the city, but have rendered it greener. A green environment has a positive influence on human wellbeing, and the new green profile of Middelfart hereby contributes to the wellbeing of both citizens and visitors.

Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials

All existing granite materials have been recycled and incorporated into the project. Likewise, useable gravel materials have also been recycled. All existing trees have been preserved except for a number of chestnut trees, all of which had fallen ill and stared to die.

The overall design

The overall design is based on the use of the brick tile as a coating material. Previously, there were no less than three brickworks in this part of Middelfart. The district is situated on a large clay slope created during the ice age, which has also led to the Clay Museum of Ceramic Art being located on the site. The brick tile has been developed with a special yellow colour that recurs throughout the Climate City both as paving, curbs, stairs and buildings and thus gives the area an identity, while the brick tile refers to the local geology and history.

The impact on the environment

The project has been carried out in a process where the plant – several kilometres long – was constructed and completed from below, so that it could be used continuously and the residents experienced minimal nuisances from the construction work. There were several smaller spaces for material depots to minimize work transport during the construction phase.

Innovative value off the project

With the concept and function, the project was the first of its kind in the world, and was, even before its completion, as an example for similar tasks elsewhere. Delegations from all over the world visit Middelafrt to learn from the project