City & Sea - An Urban Coastline that Adapts to Sea Level Rise

Samuel Appleton Coolidge
Urbanism & Societal Change

In Copenhagen sea level rise poses an increasing threat. Yet, the city is expanding and densifying towards the water, attracted by coastal qualities. This proposal integrates coastal protection and urban development, while assuring spatial qualities and diversity on the dynamic and evolving coast.


Copenhagen is exposed to an increasing threat of flooding caused by climate change. Long term Sea Level Rise (SLR) and changing weather patterns increase the severity and likelihood of storm surges. There is a large degree of uncertainty about the extent and timing of these changes, but the trend is clear. This situation requires long term planning that incorporates the transformative effects of Sea Level Rise (SLR), while being flexible and robust enough to handle changing societal and environmental conditions. At the same time the city is expanding towards the sea. This clash raises problems about how we manage the risk of flooding while we protect and develope the spatial qualities of the urban coast.



The area of Amager Strand is undergoing a rapid densification that has been instigated by the recent addition of the Metro and Amager Strandpark. The combination of low elevation and high density transforms Amager Strand into a high risk area. This site is one of the priorities of Copenhagen Municipality in terms of climate adaptation and flood risk management.



A new urban coastline that integrates coastal protection and urban development. This new coastline will be an opportunity to develop new housing typologies, public spaces and recreational areas with a more qualitative and integrated relation to the water and the changing coastal dynamics. How can we plan with the long term uncertainty of climate change and unknown societal trends of the distant future? How do we assure diversity and accessibility on the dynamic and evolving coast? 

Stages of Coastal Evolution
I 2017-19 satser KADK på FN’s verdensmål
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