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Denmark parliament approves giant artificial island off Copenhagen (bbc.co.uk)
280 points by BlackVanilla 57 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 138 comments



This is some remarkably long-term planning:

"If construction goes ahead as planned, the majority of the foundations for the island off Denmark's capital should be in place by 2035, with an aim to fully complete the project by 2070."

I can't recall ever seeing the year 2070 or later in print, in the context of some definite project or plan. Are there other examples?


Seems reasonable. Maasvlakte is a comparable project: an artificial island (20 km2 while this island is "only" 2.8km2) outside Rotterdam harbor and it was built over 25 years (1974-1997)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasvlakte (Dutch wiki has much more info: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasvlakte )

Another comparable project is the new Strandeiland in Amsterdam

https://www.amsterdam.nl/projecten/ijburg/deelprojecten-ijbu...

1.5km2, started this year, fully complete in 2040. But it's built in shallow, tide-less Ijsemeer not in the sea so it's a lot easier

EDIT; the Dutch out of necessity have plans for up to 2200: https://www.delta.tudelft.nl/article/keep-our-feet-dry-new-n... “One day with a sigh of relief we will give up this country to the waves.”


My most favorite fact about Strandeiland is how it looks on google maps plan view. Apparently google already extracted streets from the satellite imagery, but didn’t yet updated the shape of island itself. So you see streets on IJ surface. https://goo.gl/maps/wrL42MHhBvPf1Ben9

Oh and of course in this country cycling paths are built before any houses.


Some countries export streets, addresses and buildings in a machine readable format. So it could be based on a periodic import, not on image recognition.


China buit several artificial islands in just a few years - and not near shores (but some on reefs).

https://southfront.org/chinas-artificial-islands-south-china...

It can be done faster if enough resources are allocated... Denmark doesn't seem to be in a hurry.


Might sustainability and geological context play a role? I thought the the Chinese islands were build on coral reefs and existing small islands. I also wonder about differences in currents and even requirements based on future use. A small military base to extend your empire probably needs to be less stable than a place you want to build a city on that should last forever.

Comparison to the Palm and World islands in Dubai strikes me though.


Projects like this usually have multiple goals, not least of which is to guarantee a baseline number of jobs with a desirable skill set within the country. Out of the tens of thousands of people that will work on this project, most likely fewer than 100 will work on it from the start of their career to the end. For the rest, it will be a year or two of their entire career.


> Ijsemeer

Minor nitpick, it is 'IJsselmeer'. Double 's' and 'IJ' is both in capital letters when its part of a name. Otherwise great links, thanks!


Kobe in Japan has several artificial islands. all built by a Dutch company.


I used to work with Dutch people who like to tell that “God made the world, the Dutch made the Netherlands.” I corrected them, saying they made a lot more than that: I grew up on an island in France that was under the control of Dutch merchants in the XVIIth century; they built a levy to double the amount of dry land. There’s polders like that everywhere.

The levy has been fine for the last four centuries, but local engineers were thinking of raising it. For that, they might need someone to help them translate the original blueprint. I once joked about deciphering it when talking to another Dutch friend on mine. She’s close to the Royal family and I was curious possibly needing asking Historian for help. She didn’t seem surprised at all. Apparently a lot of Dutch diplomacy, to this day, is sharing that expertise and that unique, century-long, perspective. The King is a hydrological engineer (and a commercial pilot) and has lead international projects.

The techniques and examples are pretty much ideas tested centuries ago, with the occasional minor adjustment like: windmills with Archimedes screw can be marginally improved if you use wind power and electric pumps. I’m sure someone on one of those projects has had to joke “Grand-grand-papa wasn’t a big believer in ballast. It was a new idea then. But we can try this time.”


> they built a levy to double the amount of dry land

In English, the word you are trying to use is levee. As a French, you might recognize where that came from ;)

Actually though, at least in the US we call those things the Dutch built “dikes”, which is, not surprisingly, just the anglicized version of what the Dutch call them.


Well, to be somewhat fair: the IJsselmeer used be a sea (Zuiderzee) but The Netherlands blocked it off with a large dyke in the early 1900's.

So you could consider it part of the long term planning


It's not unusual to see such timeframes in the context of nuclear decommissioning. For example:

"At around 2116, care and maintenance will end and any remaining buildings will be removed and the site returned as close as possible to its original state."[0]

Also, depending on what you mean by "some definite plan", and how young you are, your pension plan may include an estimated retirement date later than 2070.

[0] https://www.anglesey-today.com/decommissioning-wylfa.html


I think that’s about the time that interplanetary space travel starts in Star Trek. I always thought that’s way too early and the whole time should be starting 1,000 years later.


Given only 58 years from the first flight to getting someone in space, they probably thought another 100 years of innovation sounded OK!

Crazy looking back to think that Star Trek originally aired before the moon landing.


Seems like Blade Runner did even worse.


Indeed. I don’t get it though. Why not push every timeline out by a safety margin of hundreds/thousand years?


Personally I would have a hard time suspending disbelief if a story set in 2200 didn't have super-human AI and all diseases cured. Similarly there should be no pollution or over-population, at least in first world countries.

For humanity to avoid achieving those things, there would have to be some significant barriers to progress that we don't know about yet, or a fairly disastrous collapse, which would limit the possible stories that could be told.

I suppose that setting a story thousands of years into the future allows there to have been multiple collapses and renaissances, but I'm not convinced that such a path is as likely as a permanent collapse or reaching some sort of uninterruptible paradise state.


I just think of it as an alternate timeline now


Nice. That’s great trick


I think the retirement thing is a stretch. A 16 year old might see a retirement age of 2070 using a retirement age of 65.


Someone born in the late 1990s might expect to retire around 2070. Given the population structure in wealthy countries, early retirement at 65 is no longer feasible for most people in the younger generations.


People from my mother's generation often started working when they were just 16. So when I see someone talking about them retiring at 65 it's important to keep that in mind.


I was actually working 30+ hours/week from 12-13 years old, and I'm GenX. We're slated to retire at 67.

P.S. - I was doing data entry for local real estate companies and simple BASIC 'cash register' setups for local businesses.


This is an oft-quoted phenomenon, but I think it's important to point out it need not be true. We've had chronically weak demand, in which case more retires should actually be good, raising wages and spurring productivity improvements.

In the US, just need to keep healthcare costs under control.


Retirees are not known for generating large amounts of demand compared to younger people who work.


I don't really follow? Workers are supply (their labor) and demand (their consumption), but as we have more productive industrial capacity and more of it, the cycle breaks down as not enough labor is needed, reducing their purchasing power and further slackening the labor market in a vicious cycle.

Retirees don't work, which means nevermind the absolute amount of demand (no kids, etc., make less per household sure) the ratio of supply to demand offsets the productivity / industrial capacity gains. Coupled with more retires, that could restore the balance and get the "Keynsian feedback loop" going again.

(We could still go into a massive worldwide recession, but that would be a political result of the powers that be not wanting the profit share of national income to decrease. That is plenty possible but not some unavoidable "demographic destiny".)


I see. Thanks for clarifying.


Calling 65 years old early retirement is insulting...


Not sure if joking but that’s generally the age where pension kicks in/an individual can start pulling from tax advantaged retirement accounts.


In the US you can start pulling from retirement accounts in your 40’s as long as it’s even distributions for the rest of your life.


The options for retirement funds in my 401(k) include "LifePath Index 2065 Account A", but that's as far as it goes for now.


Not quite the same, as it’s already completed, but John Malkovich made a film with Robert Rodriguez that won’t be released until 2115.

100 Years is an upcoming experimental science fiction film written by John Malkovich and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Advertised in 2015 with the tagline "The Movie You Will Never See", it is due to be released on November 18, 2115. The 100-year span matches the time it takes for a bottle of Louis XIII Cognac to be properly aged before its release to consumers.

Pending release, the film is being kept in a high-tech safe behind bulletproof glass that will open automatically on November 18, 2115, the day of the film's premiere.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Years_(film)


That's just pomp and show business though. I think the ancients were very long term planners. One of the upsides to a regime with very centralized and absolute power. Great wall of China, Pyramids of Giza to name some.


The Great Wall is impressive, but wasn’t fully built as one project. It was patched together from multiple parts (with some major upgrade/renovation projects)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China:

The Great Wall of China (traditional Chinese: 萬里長城; simplified Chinese: 万里长城; pinyin: Wànlǐ Chángchéng) is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe


On that note, if you are interested in the complexities of building a multi-generational structure, I really recommend Kafka’s short story, The Great Wall of China. It is not about the actual historical wall, as far as I know, but it uses it as an example to make some genius insights about human society and psychology.

http://www.kafka-online.info/the-great-wall-of-china.html


One of my favorite would be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra

Which even today looks like it would take many years to produce as is.


Oh Yeah: Dieter Meier, of the band Yello, made a plaque with a promise that he honored 22 years later.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Meier

>As a conceptual artist, he has been keeping himself busy with many art exhibitions. He began his career as a performance artist in the late 1960s. In 1972 as part of Documenta 5, Meier installed a commemorative plaque at the railway station in Kassel (Germany) which read: "On 23 March 1994, from 3 to 4 pm, Dieter Meier will stand on this plaque". He honored the promise 22 years later.

https://www.dietermeier.com/1994

https://fawny.org/shyello.html


yeah, I bet their safe software fails in 2038.


On Jan 19. At 03:14:07 UTC.


You don't know that! Can't predict leap seconds


What are the chances the tape contains an empty tape?

Nobody is going to come and complain you didn't do the work you were paid for...


The movie was made before he knew it was the one that would be locked away.

100 Years is apparently a short film, Rodriguez having stated in a 2019 interview with French YouTuber InThePanda: "I was making several short films for them, and I finished that one first, we shot that one first, I thought that was gonna be a commercial or something. And then I showed them the movie and they said 'Yeah, that's great, that's great. That's the one we lock away.' And I said 'What? That's the one you lock away? What about the other one with the future--' 'No, that's the commercial.' [...] The one that I was most attached to was the one they locked away."


The Dutch fairly routinely reclaimed land that could only be built on decades later (once it dried out sufficiently to be stable enough to build on).


One of the largest such projects was the Zuiderzee works, which closed a large inlet of the North Sea. Then (according to the table in the Wikipedia page), 1650 km^2 land was claimed from the sea (the land was large enough to add a new province to The Netherlands in 1986).

Even though (AFAIK) the timeline was not exactly laid out, it was clear from the outset that this project would take many decades.

The scale of the Zuiderzee works is really insane. Even building of the dyke that encloses the inlet was projected to cost a year of the national budget.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuiderzee_Works


Closest I can think of is the Chuo Maglev in Japan, approved in 2011 with a completion target of 2045.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D_Shinkansen


You could also add Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the list, construction began in 1882 and might be done by 2032.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia


That wasn't the original plan though.


Although medieval cathedral construction plans did often have timelines of roughly a century. The reconstruction of Notre Dame in Paris is expected to be 20–40 years which puts it awfully close to the 2070 completion date as well.


If we’re talking cathedral delays, Köln Cathedral was started in 1248 and finished in 1880.


Quite a turn of events that made it possible to resume that building after the original plans were found, here is the summary i found:

> In the 1790s, when the French Revolutionary Army drew close to Cologne, the Cathedral treasures were removed for safekeeping. These included the plans and drawings for the west front, which were transported with other items to Amorbach and eventually lost and forgotten. In Amorbach, the large “F-Plan” was used by a family for some time to dry beans, and later wrapped around their son’s new suitcase to protect it as he traveled to the university in Darmstadt. It was in Darmstadt, in the attic of the inn where the son arrived that the Plan was rediscovered and recognised by G. Moller as the missing drawing of the west front.

Source https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/younghistorians/2012/oral...


Japan also has many artificial islands, I wonder how long some of those projects took.


Most of those are a continuous project. The islands are the ultimate destination for incinerator ash and large garbage. The occasional tunneling project will dump the dirt etc.

You can see from goog maps how there are a couple outline online islands under "construction" and once those are filled they'll outline more.


John Cage's musical piece is played hundreds of years.

> The longest music piece in the world is being performed in the city of Halberstadt in Germany: John Cage's composition for organ ORGAN2/ASLSP - As SLow aS Possible - is resounding here in an extreme interpretation of 639 years, that means until the year 2640! Halberstadt is a town (43,800 inhabitants in 2015) in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, and the capital of the district of Harz.

https://universes.art/en/specials/john-cage-organ-project-ha...


Dams, skyscrapers, military bases, housing mortgages, bonds, business contracts, commercial leases, land/resource/farm leases.

Lots of things have 50 (or longer) year plans, contracts, payoffs, repayment schedules, and so on.

Here's Austria's recent 100 year bond (paying a comical 0.88%):

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-06-24/austri...

The deal on Hong Kong was supposed to be 50 years, with it operating as a SAR.

Modern US aircraft carriers are usually given a ~50 year service life. CVN-79, USS John F. Kennedy, would be planned to operate until roughly 2070. (the prior John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier, CV-67, made it about 40 years, 1967-2007)


DC-3 aircraft from the thirties still operate. And aircraft experience nontrivial loads and wear.

Good engineering and craftsmanship.


I saw 2069 yesterday when reading about the plan to do a fly-by of the nearest star system (Alpha Centauri), so technically yep, 2070 is the longest-ahead plan I've seen so far! And more concrete, too (literally, hah).

(In case anyone wants to read more, there isn't much info yet but: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Centauri#Future_explorat... )


Not as long, but Sound Transit 3 had a 25-year time horizon, from 2016 to 2041. Most of the voters who considered it would be retired before the 60th mile of light rail could affect their own commutes. It's similar in terms of building something that will primarily be used by a later generation.


That's similar to the timeframe of the ITER/DEMO/PROTO project, if you bake in the delays.


It’s definitely a modern phenomenon to have such short term planning.

In the past (building cathedrals for example) humanity had advanced project timelines of many hundreds of years. I wish we were able to replicate the long-term thinking strategies of the past.


Whilst this does today seem like a long way off and a lifetime project. There have thruout history been many projects of far longer duration and some early examples would be:

https://www.archi-ninja.com/the-10-longest-construction-proj...

Which for the longest has a duration of 2,000 years for the great wall of China.


That's the retirement date for someone leaving school in the UK this year. If they go straight into work then they will be signed up for a workplace pension with that date in mind.


Japan built an island for the Kansai airport. Construction started in 1987 and the airport opened in 1994.

Japan have a host of "long term big engineering projects" they're always working on.


That's only 7 years?


I flew in and out of there the first time I visited, it was so cool. Japan is an infrastructure nerds dream.

It didn't feel like being on an island at all, since it's entirely developed. But once you hop on a train you shoot out across the ocean and it's quite spectacular.

I recommend going up to the viewing tower if you have time before your flight, it's an inimitable view.


A couple of years after it was built I stayed high up in the hotel that is immediately on the mainland with a view directly along the bridge to the island.

10/10


That’s true. California has projects that have true timelines like that but there are usually lies about completion dates.


Cathedral projects often took decades.


Ground breaking on Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was in 1882 — it was consecrated in 2010, but still not finished!

According to Wikipedia they're expecting it to take more than 5 years more, with a completion date of "post 2026"


Construction of the Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 and was not completed until 1880, with a generous break between 1560 and 1840. During the break, a medieval crane remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years. [0]

[0] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Sch%C3%B6nscheidt,_J._H....


It will be good to see how many Y2038 issues they run into over such a duration and certainly be a good project that will touch upon that issue more than most due to planning dates.

Y2038 issue for those that don't know https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem


This is the absolute concentrate of idiocy. They need the island because there isn’t land to build new housing… there’s plenty of land to build new housing but every single attempt gets shot down with excuses about “maintaining nature” because every single politician has had a 3000% increase of the value of their houses and apartments in the capital region and don’t want to see that end.

Once the island is finally build and complete, some politician will find some species of frog on it that’s suddenly vitally important to conserve even though it’s also verywhere else in Denmark, and construction of housing will become prohibited.


If this is true then that’s diabolical!


The photo in the article is labeled, "The port of Copenhagen, where the artificial island Lynetteholm is planned to be built, as it is today", but fails to mention that the picture is of Trekroner Fort, itself an artificial island built on sunken warships from 1713:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trekroner_Fort


My knee jerk reaction to this was “Why build an island when the glaciers are melting and the global sea level is rising?” but then I looked into it and by 2100 the average rise will be about 0.3m. Just dredge up more mud and you should be good!

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/...


As the article states one of the functions of the island is actually to protect the rest of the land from rising sea levels because it will involve building advanced flooding protections.

(Also as a side note, a 0.3m rise doesn't sound like much, but that is an enormous mass of water. IIRC a rise of that level would destroy more than a quarter of the land of most American coastal cities)


That 1-foot sea level rise destroying a quarter of American costal city land sounds wrong to me. I think you may be recalling wrong.


It may be "putting at risk" - I can easily imagine that most seawalls aren't 1 foot above high water line but are designed with some safety in mind for storms and such, but now are at risk to smaller storms.


Global sea level rise also doesn't affect all places equally. Northern Europe is expected to be below average for sea level rise. https://www.climatecentral.org/news/ice-melt-means-uneven-se...


Northern Scandinavia is rising by ~5mm/year, because the land is still adjusting from being weighed down by ice during the ice age 10k years ago.

But Denmark is not affected by this.


Yes, sue nature for 4 times more tidal range than the 0.3m cited due to climate change. If you can handle the tide, you should just need to allocate bit more space to shore.


According to that link 2 meters is possible as well.


It depends very much on what happens with Antarctic and (to a lesser extent) Greenland ice sheets.


The city of Copenhagen has a more comprehensive breakdown of the project.[1]

I think it's interesting that they intend to build residential property to accommodate 35,000. The area around that island is very...heavy industry related. It's also very very windy over there, but then again so is Denmark in general.

1. https://www.kk.dk/lynetteholm


The time and money spent per resident is ludicrous. But I guess it is a politically much easier way to get housing build, than finding/making space elsewhere in the city for development.


$100 / square foot sounds like a reasonable price for urban land close to the center of a major city. All good land is already in use, the remaining unbuilt areas are expensive to build or too far away, and new construction in existing parts of a city is a massive struggle that requires a lot of time and effort.


It's also meant to protect Copenhagen against sea surges and rising water levels.


Could be done quicker and cheaper with other means than an artificial urbanised island.


Sure but you wouldn’t get dual use out of it, need housing need a storm break why not combine them?


Because the storm break could be a relatively simple dike, a thin structure jutting out, instead of a massive artificial island.

There will be hundreds of trucks driving through Copenhagen every single day for decades, to dump the necessary dirt to construct the island. That is going to cause massive noise and disturbance problems for people living in the city, all for a prestige project that has been hastily jammed through, including a runaround on environmental regulations.

The end result will be even more unaffordable luxury apartments, which will be bought by rich investors, creating yet another dead area devoid of local culture and life, just like Ørestad and Nordhavn, where a huge number of expensive apartments sit completely empty, bought only as investment objects.

A much better alternative would be to construct a simpler storm break, and then expand Copenhagen westwards, increasing density in the suburbs and outlying areas, by predominantly building affordable apartments and ensuring good public transit coverage, to combat the current situation of students and working class people being pushed out of the city by ever-increasing housing prices.


Here’s a list of existing such islands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artificial_islands


I cant stop wondering the why its such a massive undertaking and we have plenty of land just expand on the other side i cant stop feeling that this is a prestige project with very little gain.


That's exactly what I thought. There is a ridiculous amount of power that gets attached to a capital city, which means we can't do the sensible thing which would be to spend far less creating new towns or cities with modern sustainable methods, better balance of transport/living etc.

I guess it is just good money after bad and the fact that despite the amount of sense it makes to build elsewhere, lots of companies cannot find good employees and think they need to be in the big city to get those.


The article mentions it also "protects the port of Copenhagen"

But otherwise it steals value from the city and it increases the coastline.

Increasing the coastline is truly adding to society, humans value water access, but I suspect the stolen value by shifting the centre of mass of Copenhagen obfuscates it's true added worth.

It's quite different to building up or down or abstract improvements like tunnels which increase density and more clearly add more than they take.


Which option do you think will generate the largest bribes?


Hong Kong extends and creates islands pretty often...1 square mile, 50 years...seems very ineffecient.

https://discovery.cathaypacific.com/hong-kongs-land-reclamat...


This insanity must be stopped. I hope the protesters don't give up and continue fighting this megalomaniac project.


Is this where they are going to send their asylum applicants? It would be a lot safer for them than in their home countries where they are being persecuted.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57343572


No the property prices would be way too high there for that..


Wouldn't it be cheaper and better for the environment to buy some land off Germany or Sweden? Once the deal is sealed, they could start building the city the very next day.


Why do you think part of Sweden is for sale?


Yeah, countries are usually unwilling or incapable of turning over their land to another country.

Back in 2016, the Norwegians had an idea to gift Finland a new highest peak by shifting the border between Finland and Norway just a bit as Finland was due to celebrate its 100th year of independence. However, it never actually went anywhere since it'd be unconstitutional for Norway to start splitting off its country.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37662811


This is to protect the local port for the capital of the country, particularly during large storms. Buying land inland along the border would not accomplish this protection task.


There is a few miles of ocean between Demmark and Sweden.


There is plenty of space in Denmark for its existing population (and for millions more, for that sake). The issue is that there is not that much space in Copenhagen.


There is plenty of space in Copenhagen. However plans to build anything anywhere gets shot down constantly with silly laws and restrictions. Politicians don’t want a more healthy housing market in the capital because they are all some of those who are profiting most from how unhealthy it is.


I don't really understand why expansion towards West is not an option.


Because they want to sell expensive housing close to the sea, not affordable housing far from the sea.

It's a stupid prestige project, primarily designed to attract rich investors, who will let their investment object apartments sit empty, creating another dead neighborhood.


I’m not sure they would want Malmö back


It is definitely an idiotic and corrupt project, but how would it help Copenhagen to buy a part of Sweden? There's plenty of farmland in Denmark that could be used, including within bicycle distance of the center.


Giant? 2.5 km2 is childsplay :)


Might as well be done with it and build the wall between Skagen and Gothenburg.


> The approval by Denmark's parliament paves the way for the 1 sq mile (2.6 sq km) project to begin later this year.

That's not a giant island.


A square mile is pretty big, especially for an artificial island. It’s 640 acres (or something like 2,400 suburban homes).

Sure it’s not the size of Japan or something, but it’s not tiny.


The Dutch artificial island 'Flevopolder' is ~970 square km. So, I wouldn't say giant when there is an artificial island that has a 373x larger surface area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flevopolder

It is still a very nice project nonetheless!


But that’s a polder made mostly by building dykes and draining the land rather than raising up the ground level across 970 square km. Flevopolder is about 4m below sea level.

I think the plan here is different and will not be done by building up dykes and draining the area inside.


Yeah replacing water with air is a big project but replacing water and air with land is bigger.


Even IJburg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IJburg) is 2.2km^2.


These kind of numbers are not intuitive. Don't forget that you are working in volume of material. Making something only 1m high across 1 sq mile is around 2.5 million cubic metres.


I only commented on the size of the island.

As island go, "giant" is far from a correct description.

Calling it a "giant project" would be fine.


Cute


> A case against the development of Lynetteholm has been brought before the European Court of Justice by environmental groups.

I’m always a little surprised that the most wild and natural parts of world (the flyover country) is populated by anti environmentalists (or rather, libertarians typically), and the most densely populated cities devoid of most green things tend to have clusters of environmentalists.

Don’t they know they can come out to the country, buy 50 acres of woods and streams and meadows and wildlife, and not worry about how many cars are on the streets of Copenhagen?

They’d love it in these areas. People ride horses and graze animals. They hunt and go bird watching and identify all of the local trees.


> Don’t they know they can come out to the country, buy 50 acres of woods and streams and meadows and wildlife, and not worry about how many cars are on the streets of Copenhagen?

In Denmark? Hardly. If you buy 50 acres here, you'll get fields or pastures, and the legal obligation to keep it as such. Actually, as far as I remember anything over 30 hectares will come with requirements that you have some sort of certification as a farmer.

0,5% of Denmark's 40,000 square kilometers is wild. The largest forests are all state-owned. 60% is farmed land - 80% of which, ie., 50% of the country, is used just to grow pig feed.


There’s no requirement to get a “certificate as a farmer” and you can get European subsidies to fund converting fields to forrests. The only thing you can’t do is build more housing on the fields, because everyone in power in Denmark is doing everything they can to fight affordable housing.


A few years ago when I was looking at houses in the country there was definitely some requirement for buying more than 30 or 35 hectares of farmland. And while you might be able to get permission to convert some areas into forests, it is explicitly stated in the planning laws that the character of the countryside is to be preserved. I can assure you that there are lots of things you can't do.

And before that, of course, there's the price. 50 acres way out in the sticks in America might be quite affordable. Arable land in Denmark, less so. There's no easy escape here like the post I reacted made it sound.


This case has nothing to do with urbanism but has to do with how the environmental impact of the project is measured.

Put simply, despite planning and projecting the entire project, the environmental impact is done piece by piece. This vastly understated the environmental impact in the harbor and Øresund. This approach is what is being challenged, since it obviously disregards big picture thinking.


Also, many people are fed up with construction noise due to the metro being expanded.


I've heard some environmentalists make an argument for dense human cities. If you're going to have all those people and their infrastructure either way, compress it down and maybe you can leave more room for nature? They tend to be very anti suburbs along the same thinking.


I ended up in an argument with local "environmentalists" exactly over this (in quotes, because I think being opposed to high density is not very environmentalist at all):

They complained about new highrises near my local train station. I pointed out to them that those highrises would take up ~2,000 m^2 but provide housing for as many as one of the nearest local roads, that with the sidewalks, houses and gardens, many of which are paved over or mostly decking, takes up ~40,000 m^2.

As such, if they wanted more green spaces the better stance would be to argue for replacement rather than denying planning: E.g. make developers commit to buying up more low density housing and demolish a proportion of it and replace it with parkland or rewild it. The overall societal effect of not increasing housing supply as much would be a negative (and so there may well be needs for government incentives), but increased green spaces would be a positive. And if it reduced overall resistance to more high density construction to explicitly link density to replacement, I think it'd be worth it. E.g. award construction proposals with "points" in favour for whatever amount of existing construction they replace with parkland or nature that causes planning rules to strongly favour projects that increase density.

But said "environmentalists" seemed dead set on seeing bigger buildings as inherently bad without engaging with the point that absent getting rid of people, creating more space for nature means making people take up less space, and that means higher density.

To me arguing for high density is an essential part of environmentalism.


The absolutely worst thing a human being can do to nature is move into it XD


This has not been my experience, the most environmentalist people I know were generally born in small towns... Most also spent at least some time working in some form of "outdoor entertainment" that included long periods of time spent in the complete wilderness. Canoe/Hiking trips and the like. This includes people who at least publicly admired people who stuck spikes in trees to damage logging equipment (acts that people on the other side classify as terrorism).

I get the impression that the least environmentalist people are also generally in small towns, but I can't say I've ended up associating with them as much. My impression is that they're generally this way because they're the people that environmental laws impact the most.

City people seem to typically fall into a middle ground, not rabid in either direction.

(Europe may be different, I'm Canadian, but broad generalities about environmentalists seem likely to carry over?)


If only it was possible to have the kind of job and money that's only available in big cities while living there. Maybe the remote revolution will finally let this happen. Oh, and the social and cultural life as well.


It makes sense if you view all these *-isms as a form of crafting a personal identity to distinguish yourself from others and find a peer group. You would need to do that to stand apart in a crowded city much more than out in the country. People who truly love nature, rather than the politics of nature, do spend a lot of time in it.


Most of those environmentalists, strong though their convictions may be, wouldn't give up almond milk lattes, organic fusion sushi, constant social media, fast reliable internet, and all the other trappings of cosmopolitan hipster life, at least not for more than a few days.


Some of them are just nimbys who doesn't want to see new residents in their neighborood especially if they esteem that theirs propertys could be valued less.


This "neighbourhood" is currently water. I very much doubt that is the issue here.


Same tired angle over and over huh? Environmentalists are city-dwelling hipster hypocrites. It’s been used by various politicians over the years.





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