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Copenhagen Regional Plan 1947 (Fingerplan) - English summary

Copenhagen Regional Plan 1947 (Fingerplan) - English summary

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The original English summary of the famous regional plan for Copenhagen from 1947, later called the Fingerplan.
The original English summary of the famous regional plan for Copenhagen from 1947, later called the Fingerplan.

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Published by: landblend on Jul 06, 2012


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o en e

· e
. .


The. pr-eaen t Pr.oposal the


been prep.ared

by th8 Begi.onal Committee,






cna tz-man of t ne Re;;::ional Planning: se ere nar y

proi' e e.s or· Steen civil

"Eiler· ·Rasmussen,


and by the The planni1g

f the Camillite e, t

~.1r. V. M",lling.t

engine er. chief planning architect,
Mr.. Pcu L Lyager ,

work was carried

olit by: Mr. Peter 13redsdorff, Nlr. ROYDrai by, Mr. Dal.gas Christensen, ~.i0rch, ar-ch i teet.

Mogens Boar-truann , ax-chi tec t,
ci v.iL engineer,

Mr. Anders Nyvig, architect, Jensen, assisted
ct ,


architect, planning

Mr. FIe.mrning Teisen,




by; :.11'. D.E. ~Iliss Dea Trier



Mr. Sven Allan
ar-chitect. architect, with

ar-cn ite

ar-c h.i t e c t, Mr. Finn civil engineer,

Vedel-Petersen, Mr. Roy Draiby,

The summar-yis and ~1rs. Bodil

translated Nelrrelund,


Poul Lyager;

secretary, (the Danish

and publ i she d in Town Plannin~

J.uly 1949 'in


Danek By-planlaborato:rium


12 Stormgade.


The. Copenhagen area, sc~le 1,500 000, ~boundary of the Copenhagen. Planning Region, all ur,ban ... d rural n districts wi thin the boundary have a seat in the Planning G.ommittee, ••••• county and borough boundaries; "H,oM·district boundaries.

In 1938 a new Town Planning Act was passed of the municipalities. the Ministry
1.000 inhabitants

Parliament. Accorin the hands

ding to this act the planning power is exclusively
of the Int'erio!:'. Local authorities

The plans must - though - be approved

more than
wi thin, 5

are compelled to prepare a town plan

years from the passing of the act. l'his act greatly improved th.e planning conditions, and has been a useful instrument in the hands of th,e local author i ties.
Lopmen+ But

'it has, nevertheless. it


defects. It is very difficult to prevent unwanted building d,eveon agricul tll.ral areas.


r.o t pr-ov Ld e

for planof

ning cooperation between different muni.;:ipalities or any kina, planning on a regional scale.

spite of the lack o'f Le g.Ls t1 ve background it was reali zed in La
f'o r a p Larm ed

the early "twenties" thl:it the need



the Copenhagen region was becoming more and J!l.ore imperative,





The Committee was estaolished Byplanlaborator1um"

in 1928 on the initiative of "Dansk Institute), an uno-f-

Danish Town-Planning

rieial body similar to the British Town Planning Institute. The Committee includes representatives nicipalities from each of tne individual.


of the region, from certain ministries,

from trans-

po,rt bodLe s etc. It has dealt for a num..berof yearB with various urgent individual llt"oblemB,but has, until now, only submitted a qonclusive report on one problem - th~t of open spaces. In 1945 the Committee decided to urge on the prepardtion of a general regi ona.L plan, intended, amongst other thi,ngs, to coorill. ine:te the town planning incumbent on each of the twenty-nine lIIunicipalities of the Copenhagen region. The requisite funds were granted to the Committee (half the amount from the Exchequer, the other J:u;;.lf started to from the munic Ipa'l.I ties) to estra Ll.ah its own teohnical off iC,e. b the Regional Plannin& Office. The Office immediately ,prepare the present preliminary but nevertheless sive plan as a kind of 'working hypothesis.
A s)" tem ofl'ecl'eational .. grounds,pe,:r::kways and paths for pedes'trians and bicycli eis. proposed 1936 by the Regional Planning Committee: batched, existing forests and parks, black, proposed parksystelll (open areas).

quite comprehen-

The plan was PQbl~shed government aatho ..

in January 1948, and now serves as a basis for inquiries to and negotiations with the interested mWlicipalities, etc. are made to examine IDoO;r'e on which the scheme has been pre paved. rities, institutions

Simu.l trarreous.Lyspecial investigations , closely the assumptions


Denmark, scale 1: 2 000 000 A.U town developments oS more than 1000 peopl" outlina~). Area of circles corresponds to size

are marked with a black of populgtion.


( Copenhagen



Population distribution: black, the city area, cross hatched: provincial towns + urban districts, hatched: rural dis·tricts, 25.000 20.000
, 5.000 UIi!·,r;··I!~·I!3·U.>1

Introducing the problem we stress the fact that so far nothing is known as to what w9u1d be the most expedient finai size of Copenhagen, considered as an integral part of the whole community. An answer- 1;0 this question will require extensive and thorough inquiries which exceed the commission of t.heOffice. Copenhagen holds about a quarter of the total popUlation of Denmark - and many people, especially those living outside the <w-pital, think it is too much. The migration f.:r;-om countryside to the town has not, though, the seriously affected neither the size nor the age composition of the landward population. There is one ma j or- objection against the future growth of Copenhagen: the more Copenhagen incleases the less are thepossibi1ities of the provincial towns of obtaining a size which would en... able them to get some of the advantages of the larger cities. However, such coua i de r-a tions have not got much scope at the present time. Firstly, because the necessary basic surveys have not been done. Se c ond Ly , because a body with the power to carry out such a po Ld ey' on a national level is not in existence $0 far. Population e-stimates by statistical departments have, therefore, been !;l.ccepted as primary assumptions. According to these, Greater Copenhagen. today with 1,1 million inhabitants, will continue its growth throughout the near future, without exceeding, however, a population of 1.5 million. It was considered desirable not only to plan :for this maximum figure in a. distant future, but also for an intermediate stage of development. For this reason the Proposal includes two stagcelil. one compr'~s~ng a populati.on of 1.3 million inha'Qitan.ts, and the oth~r" comprising the maximum population of 1.5 million. The question we had to decide next was: what type of city. would be most expedient? should Copenhag·en be radioally broken up and dispersed because of ·the danger from atom bombs and other offensive weapons? should the natural values of the coastline to the north, along the Sound, be utilized more effectively by forming the town as a long and narrow ribbon reaching right up to the town of Elsinore On the h.orth coast? or 'should we aim at de:ve~ loping a system of independent satellite towns in some distance from the capital? Our considerations resulted in the conclusions that no town should. be changed, "t;hroughplanning, from on.8 tjrpe to another, unless for very exceptional reasons. The' period of cha.nge-over must necessarily be extremely long and painful wit:Q no guarantee that the future will aecejrt the intended benefit!3' of the type pursu.ed. Generally it will be more expedient t.o· continue the develO'Ement of the existing type, to realize and encourage the special advantages of the type and to·a1~eviate the drawbacks.

10,000 5.00U

a !'"'-,_,,....,""
-5 •000
I.'''....''...''"." .•.... .';: " ._ •._.~-.- ..".".".- ....".,,~


Population increase, 1931-1945. in the city area: black: birth surplus, cross natc~ed: migration surplus', .. l:ti·te: otal sur·plus t




According to i t,s stru.ct=8 Copenhagen is a centralized ci.ty of the ordina.ry con tinental type. Me dieval C.openhagen forms a c.Le ar-s, ly marked business and adman.i a t r-at Lve .core with a heavy cor.o en-. tration of workplaces, about 40 per cent of the total. 200.00'0 people ,!-rriving in and again leaving the centre are creating serious traffic congestion twice ev€ry day. The add'itional built-up area is supported by an extensive network of tramwa,y.$. It f'e rms concentric layers around the centre. The layer next to the city area con3ist~ of a fl·at de ve Lcpmsn.t bu i.Lt in the end of tha 19th century with a very high -denet ty. The dwellings are mixed with workshops and industries, 3..1'1d the district is today (as it has always been) mainly of slum character. T.he outer Layer- is a typical low-density suburban development, mainly detached houses. It is practically without workplaces and badly served by shops. The development has taken place along the rna in arteries to the da aadvan tage of rnc ae living there and of the traffio as well. The building development is still creeping O.utwards, the remotest lay.er being a wid.e belt of undeveloped parcels, market gardens, '3llotment gardens and agricuJ.tu.ral land gone out of production • .con8equent~y the d Lat an ce frol!l. the centre ary,d ,he open countryside is at.eadily increasing. Conyers-ely, the daily journey from the hOmes -to the centrally eitu(l,ted workplaces i<1 robbing more and more of everyocdy's sparetime. These diffioulties, common to most cit.ies of the centralized type; are in GOpenh?lge'fi'ur-t herf aggravated, as the land eectoravaiJ.able for its gr-owt h is limi-· 'toed to a ewee.p of about 1200• . !Beside thes'S "typic.al" d1fficu1 ties other problems due to spec ial local f'e a.t.ur-e occur. The harbour has the t;)ha,racterof e a river port with an almost raqial situation in relation to the concentrically built-up e.i ty. This r-eeu.L t8 in the usual conflicts between in.tersecting land and sea traffic. .A 10c.al physical featurEi of' the greatest Lmpo tiance to the planni.ng is that all wO.odsand. r lakes, hills and valleys and the best bathing beaches, i.e. all natural places of recreation for the p6puls.tioh are locat.ed to the north, while the western region forms one large. fertile plain almost without tr-ees., No wonder that the migration from the City - beginning with estates and b i g villas, up to the mass migration following the electrification of the first suburban raillOlays - has b.een dir.ante'd moa'tLy to the northern part's of the region. Due to the intensive building activity here the first houses have, however, been deprived Elf their original access to the benefits of nature. These wereth'e main problems and drawbaoks, resulting from the typical as well as from the specia.l features of the town. One of the main advantages is the compactness o·f the town which has been jeopardized 'but not destroyed by the above described unrestricted growth. This compactnes e makes it possible to utilize to the utmost the edvantage of a large town: the extensive f'reedom of choice. The' citizen has a w-ide range of po s.ad.b i.Li t Les in choosing his. profession or his place of work, in choosing a living di3.trict or type of dwelling, in choosing s par-et i me activities or acquaintances, This compactne as is due to the fact that about, 75 per cent of the inhdbi tants live ill flats and only 25 per cent in hcuee s- o'f the.irown, In the Pr-opoaaj, only a slight change in this respect is an t.i.ct pa+e d ; tbe proportion of people living in houses is going .to increase to 35 per cerrt,

developments formed in layers, Madiev8.1 Copenhagen, in the centre, ne::<t the d.evalopmei1t from the end of the 19th century. and farthest out the lIlore open development from this ·oentury.

Bu i 1d'ing

~'ore:s t s (b lack)

and Lak Eo"


s i t ua ted

to the


Undula tad land i·e t·o the nor th (blaok hi ghar than 60 Ille tera)


1 :.200 .000

-~Ir •


r' ,


."1:...' ..

*' 'y,_


.-::? -.
- '.,-t


\~ ....- ~).







i. I I





Existing flats 1945, 8ca1e 1:20q 000.

From thi£) position springs a featul;'e which is peculiar to the way of living in Copenhagen: the ha.bi t of having botll a Bummer and a. winter residence. Originally be.ing a privilege for relatively weal thy people it has in recen.t years become a very popular movement. About 150.000 people or roughly 20 per cent of people living in flats have some sort of summer dwelling: Either ssummer house. or " small house in the ir allotr!lentgarden. supplementine their s.mfJ.ll flat with a tiny bit of soil where grass and a


:-\-,~"-~--;'~::~;~~~';,~(?i: ," ""'_~:!';'1)~\\~",_'~flfr
.... ,.



.... ,.."





'J l' _,_!"i',




~~.'.,"" ,




Proposal -to permanent allotment ga,rd.ens.





:;Iede 11200 000.






few trees can grow. We consider this a davelo_pm.entwhil!h ought to be en ccur-aged, so that people are given the possibility 0'£: living in the natUral rhyth.'Ii 'of the year: in c Lo ae contact with communi ty life- during wintertime. near woods and lakes or at le-ast in a garden during su!";L"flertime_

The main development
that the

of the, t:.wnto the north implies the faciO land to the west has been kept relatively open4 On tbis


potential building land we have - within ce r-tra i.n lim.its - a .free hand to form the future extensions of the town. This 'leads QS to the question how the future shape of the t.own ought to be. "fe do not want to create satellite towns. Within a distance of 2030 miles 5 provincial towns are sLtuated, the growth of which has been s.lowed down because of the ir pro:l!;,imi to the cap i tal. t:\' On the othe.r hand it mue t be stressed that the growth of the city in layers ought no'lVto lie stopped. Due to the peninsular situation the extension from the centre of the city corresponds tio that of Ii city of 3 or 4 times the size. The present tramway terminals for instance are about forty-five minutes'drive from the centre. The capacity of the central tri:imway routes is al.r-eady taxed tc the uttermost and. a considerable further develoIlment of thi,s central system must even now beantici]Ja·t;ed.
Two a t agaa of the wo,posed extension pf area served by collective' means of traffic. In 'each illustration 'the a.rea served in the pre-v'ious stag.a is ha·tehed .. The extension cnnsiats of a fringe· of "fingers."" formed by circular areas along urban railwa,ys .. 'On the novel' the. pri nc.i,pLe ·of "fingers" is Ll Lue t r-a+ed in the ·form o·f a hand.




Until now only twa suburban railways have been established. The PrOpo'sal ad v oc a t es the ide'a of building, in stages, a nW!l.berof electric railways into the surrounding couhtry l;iO that 'thefutyre suburban developments, Lnstie ad of forming concentric Laye.r-e , will aS5U!!l8 the shape of extensions, "fingers", Around the sti3"tions on thes~ lines local centres with shops ,.ahd ins.ti tutions will naturally de vcLop . From each centre there will be freq_uent snd convenient oonnections direct to the centre of the city. and the individual station development will thereby become an integral part of·thB whole metropolis. Th" present travelling distance between the out.er residential districts and th.e centre is considered a maxi.mumdistance. The pr-o pos ed town extensions a.r-e all situated wit-hin this maximUJ!l ai-stance of 4-5 minutes. Between the fingers there will be wedges of 0;P'3nspace which pr8f'erably should ext-end right up to the. bull t-u9 ar-eas served 'by trams. It is proposed to direct the futur,e expansion of the 01ty principally to 1:he west, where, amongst other things, th.e plain and the shores ahou.Ld be made more attractive by p.LarrtLng wood-s and est\lblishing facilities for s€·a-b.·",thing Simultaneously, .. efforts should be made to s+o p the expans Lo.n of th.e bu i.L ~-u:p areas, partly over the natural recreation grounds to the n0rth and partly over the .i s Land O'£' Amage where it is 'desirable r, to limit the difficulties caused by ttie intersection. of Land and sea traffic. In order to u t i Li.ze the above mentioned adva.nt.age.of the large ci ties: the freedom of cl1'oice between the manif'o Ld po's s i. hilities offered there. t.he e i tizenB must have the freedom of movement'.

_fii "gram ·of "fi ng e rOO -¢lev-elo p_ niant "'-long urban rll..ilway (resiq,ence.B are ha h:hed, industry erO.55 hatched), the r'oot s tat Lon contains institutions cornmau to the whol-e railway area (frame din by' the oval).


The proposed. shape of the future extensions is one side of tn", problem. A comprehensive development of the internal trc.ffic ·sys t em is another. Simultaneous with a development of the.public c ommun.Lc a t Lon .lines a great incr.ease. of motor traffic is anticipated. To secure fair conditions for this traffic within the city, and to utilize its special technical possibilities, a comprehensive system of motor roads has been planned. These roads should be free of intersection wi th the or-o anaz-v street s;rstem, and poss ibly ex t end 'right into the centre of the city. The older industrial Il.reas Copenhagen are mostly situated in of a ring around the densely built-up area along a goods railway line running here. These areas are in close connection with the main arterial z-oad s and are si·tusted very near to residential areas. It is import<l.nt that there is easy access from all residential districts to a considerab.le number of places of employment. Simi1.arly, the i.ndustrialists must have the opportunity of dra'l'iing workers from the largest possible pool. Furthermore the inpustrial areas must be situated with easy access to railways! main roads and ports • .Accordi.ng the Proposal new induto strial areal:!... should be situated in a new ring along a proposed main ring road and prefer·ably at the interse.ctions with the radial electric railway.s, Le. at the "root" of the fingers. Thus distributed between the various sections of the city the industrial areas will enjoy the best possible a:ccessto the town as
a whoLe ,

Motorways advocated by th~~ proposal (within the coherent inner area the plan is expressed in a dia.grammatic fo.rm) I these motorways will take not only long-distance traffic, but also short_distance traffic from the "fingers" as well as some internal city traffic.

At the same time the industrial areas will have good interconnections and easy access to the proposed new harbour to the south. In the distribution of industry it has been attempted w'ithin greater town distri.cts to obtain a cer-t Ln balance bea tween the number of persons living and working there.

Two diagrams illustrating the peai tiol) of industrial group-· ings (black) from end o·f last centuxy along the fringe of fhe densely built-up area (diagram one). and the future industria.l groupings, situated according to the Proposal (diagram two).

As regards the subdivision of the city into Wlits it is necessary at first to give some thought to the present position of the "family-unit", The "family-unit" today is an entirely different thirre frOI!l what it was 100 or even 50 years ago. It will suffice to men.,. tion that in Copenhagen 40 per cent of the housewives have work of their own outside their homes. This is a result of an ec<?"oqlll'ic and technical development which cannot he reversed. It is one of the jobs of the planners to create conditions which will make it po s.s LhLe for women to work outside their homes without having tQ do double work. This consideration (and, of course, the difficulty of a radical change), are the main reasons why it is not thought desiTable to iI.1crease the proportion of houses to flats, more thaD from 25 per cent to 35 per cent. Fuxthermore: types of dwellings which mf;lke possible more concetl-

trated residential districts give possibilities qf a more fully de ve.Lo ped social life and of provid.ing the quarters with modern equipment and facilities •.' Fo);. these reasons .chief attention has been directed to the smallest unit, the residential group with 1-2.000 inhabitants. It is. here one of the key problems of physical planning lies: that of rel.ieving the housewives rz-om the tirE some rot) tine work. In addi t i on to t he ae small un i ts it is proposed to organize. the town in 3, numbar- of larger un i ts of 50-100.000 inl1abitants corresponding to what is called Community lln i, t a or Metropolitan Districts. !,he"larger lini t8, will Lnc.Lude varying nwnbers of res·ident.ial groups thus forming a flex.ible system paying due regard to (Ufferent local conditione wi thi.n the town". Such a di vis ion carre.,. sponds with the existing city-geographical features. It can be noted that several Community Centre Aeeo c La't.t ona already have been formed on local initiative .• Their areas correspond broadly speaking to these larger units. "mediu[J unit" or,the N'eighbou;rho.od Unit, can be given in the, pnos en t town are ven o.f neighbourhood un r+s would re5u1t in inconveniences of which wou Ld out'Neigh in this f i rs t; s ta ge of the p'lann t rig , we to allow it to play the dominant role in certain town'plans, and have pr-e Eer-r-er flex:ible system which. -probably can COver


A re.s1:oe.ntial gro~l', Tn.., functions which the planned in 1946, by Mr. Paul of 5-10.000 inllabitcints Erns t Hof rand Mr. B'entre t few. To impo.5e a pClttern Windinge. The grou-p consists of 216 houses, varying in type and a very rigi<l system the .9iz'; so that the grou-p will "inthe advan t.age s , li.nY"'IdY, eldde difierent types of famibave not felt confident lieso Houses of collective futicHon auoh as nursery school, kin- whi.c h it has been given a relat,ively sLmpI e and dergarden, clubl garages, shops all practical needs. etc. La indicat'ea wi.th black, th", open space in the nliddle .is the common. The circle has IT diame ter of 40.0. meter .

So :far the To',m Pl:"mning regional leve~, Act does rrot provide :fo.!' planning on a

for a development around Skoylund8 sta·tio.n, prepared as a schoolwork at t·he Royal Aoadelll.Y. The development coned s t.s of 8 residential groups., !llocke of flats and instituti~na (within t'be circle) are conce ntra ted around. the. III ta. t Lon, The development 0::0'1e1'8 a.rt area of 500 aores and includes a JlCipula.tion 9£ 14,.QOO•

A project

Certain parts of the Proposal may, however, be carried out by local planning authorities. .in the various parts of t.he ragi.an. Other features -o the pl.m - for instance f the green wedga's betwe, the fingers :...may be secured through an ad d; t ion to the Town Plat ning .Act from the spring. 1949 which makes it possible to zone a Ls for ar'e a s other than s-uch Lmmed a te Ly "c.onnect€d with the bull t-uJ i areas. Also, a new bill has b.een passed by Parliament a few months ago, giving le\<;islative power to prevent the unregulated gra,vth of building devceloplIJ.ents in areas consisting Of interrelatedurbah municipalities. The future administl;':;ttive .rearrangement wi thin the Copenhagen region is another que s t.t nn of importance to its successful p'lann Lng JnJanU<J.ry 1948 a committee subm.itte.d a report em this problem containing a proposal for the establismnent of a regional plannir On this q_uestion the liiinister of the Interior isex;pected to subm i t a. b iLl. dur.'..ng the 'au.bumn 1949·. The result of the 1~15t que s t.Lon and the above mentioned legislative additi,onsmay give a: s1).f'.ficient bas i e for the securing of .a Regional Flan_




'-0-:: ,

.. .;: ,


'I'?e second stage - 0;[ <l.evelopment, BliI.c.k:. industry. Crass hatching: sc·ale 1: 200 000

including a popula.ti{)n of about; 1.5 lllilHou people.fl ... ts. Hatching, · houses. Dob t ed line, proposed woods.

Denne udgaveaf "Skitseforslag til EGNSPLAN FOR STORK0BENHAVN, udarbejdet 1947 af.Egnsplankontorer (teknisk kontor for udvalget til Planleegning af Kebenhavns-egnenj'<er et fotografisk genoptryk at den originale betsenkning fra 1947,supplerel med en kort indledning, samt sombilag "Copenhagen Regional Plan, a summary of the Preliminary Proposal 1948-49" .uds'endt af Egnsplankontoret i 1949, Udgivet at Dansk Byplap.laboratorium 1993 © ApS"

TIlrettel<:eggelse: Sven.Allan [ensens tegnestue, Kebenhavn Repro og tryk ; Tutein & Koch ISBN 87-87487~896.

Dansk Byplanlaboratorium Feder Skramsgade 2 B 1054 Kebenhavn K Tlf. 3313 72 81 Planen er trykt med stotte fra Kebenhavns Kommune, og Kebenhavns, de og Frederiksborg Amter samtMiljerninisteriet. Roskil-

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