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Rowa Elzain, Rumana Al-Othmani


Lewis Mumford

“ T he c it y is a f a ct in na t u re, lik e a c a v e, a r un of m a c kerel o r a n a nt -hea p . Bu t it is a ls o a c o nsc io u s w o rk o f a rt , a nd it hold s wit hin it s c o mmu na l fra mew o rk m a ny s im p le r and mo re p erso na l fo rms of a r t . Mind t a k es fo rm in t he c it y; a nd in t ur n, ur b a n fo rms c o ndit io n mind.�

The city of Aarhus

9 11 13 15

History - Viking Era- 17th, 18th century- 19th century-

17 19 21 23

Urban Structures and Morphology - Urban Structures- Analysis- Urban Mediaspace Aarhus-

25 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45

Urban Spaces - Pustervig Torv Square- Store Torv Square-Klostertorvet Square- Vadestedet quarter-Mølleparken Park-Raadhusparken-ngerslevs Boulevard-Bispetorv Square-Møllestien Street-





Cont e n t 5


The city of Aarhus is the home for 311,222 inhabitants living in the core of the city, and 249,709 inhabitants living in the inner urban area of Aarhus (1 January 2011) . This highly populated area is the main and center for education on the peninsula of Jutland. It is the attraction for many students coming for the inland, who are thriving on level the high level of education with the fusion of the atmosphere created. However, Aarhus is also an attraction for many immigrants from all over the world, forming international multi-cultural communities. One might have heard of Aarhus as “the world’s smallest big city”, as it is a combination of all the requirements and needs of the city, without becoming a metropolis like London. Moreover, “City of Smiles” was another slogan created by the city council during the 1930’s as way of promoting and advertising the city. (1)

Jutland is the main and biggest Danish island on the west, it forms the majority of Demark

T h e Ci ty of A a rh u s 7

Aarhus (in Danish Århus) is second largest city in Denmark. It is located in the East Jutland (1) Metropolitan Area. The name of the city was first mentioned by Adam of Bremen, However, the city was called Arus during the Middle Ages, and in Icelandic chronicles it was recognized as Áróss , Ár referring to river, and óss referring to mouth “Áróss the river delta”. By the beginning of the 13th century, the name Aarhus was the dominant written form for the city identification, and slowly but surely in the 17th century it was the standard form of the city identification.

Urban Development


The second round of development and expansion occurred in 1201, when the stone foundation of the Cathedral was laid. The Cathedral remained as the central element of the town during the middle ages till the reformation in 1536. Following the reformation the fundamental point of life and trade was the large merchant houses that grew gradually. In the late Middle Ages a fence that consists of seven town gates replaced the old semicircular embankment, the gate served as the point where taxation would take place for all goods that are brought to the market.

H i s tor y : Vik ings era 11

The city of Aarhus formed around the mouth of the Å River, as it is a strategic place that acts as the main port and trade center between Aarhus and the neighboring countries such as Germany, Spain, Norway, etc. Since the Vikings era, Aarhus was the main settlement and residential location as their ships would anchor in the available little port. In the year 900, a semicircular moat and embankment were constructed by one of the strong Viking kings. Along the inner side of the embankment from one coast to another was a road that was out of stone surfaces. Around the street small Viking urban communities could be seen. Out of the ring roads around the city of Aarhus (the last one opened in 1994), the Vikings stood on the first one. The Viking’s merchant ships sailed all the way to Immervad and river port, however, as the Vikings ships gradually increased in size, the river was too small, and therefore it was no longer in use.

In the 19th century, with the beginning of the industrial revolution, Aarhus started seeking and gaining independence from the two main powers surrounding it, Copenhagen and Hamburg. The size of the city expanded greatly during this period marking itself as the largest city in Jutland and the second largest city in Denmark. This sudden grow was relatively due to the development of the port, which enabled bigger ships and steam ships to berth at the harbor during the 1840’s. However, the development plan of the harbor was complete by 1861, a year after that (1862) a railway line connecting Aarhus and the town of Randers (in addition, the surrounding towns) was established consisting of seven tracks, this was the first section of the new railway development.

H i s tor y : 17 th , 18 th c en t u ry 13

The main supply of wood for fencing, building and fuel, was brought from Riis, which belonged to the town at the current time. It was till the 17th century when the city of Aarhus suffered the most, as the war which overwhelmed Scandinavia and northern Europe took place. The invasion of the German imperial army between 1627 and 1629, followed by the Swedish troops in 1644, who started taxing the city comprehensively, resulted in heavily fortification that can still be seen in the southern part of the city. Despite all misfortunes the city went through, Aarhus managed to keep its significant and trade importance throughout the 18th century.

As the economy of the city grew, in correspondence of the new infrastructure, the city became an attraction point for immigrants. Many people would leave their homes in the rural/suburbs and move into the city, and here where the phenomena of urbanization can be observed clearly.

H i s tor y : 18 th c en t u ry 15

Together, the new harbor and railway lines stimulated the rapid growth and development of Aarhus. The city during this period was the center of goods, trade and transport, adding to the busy traffic city was further more developed by Hans Broge, Otto Mønstead, M.C.Lottrup and Søren Frich through their businesses.

Structure / morphology


The city is surrounded by forest from the western side and sea on the eastern side. Residential units are rarely seen near the coastal line as its part of the national policy to keep residence from crowding the coast. Aarhus is the seat for Aarhus municipality; however, the city is divided into 7 administrative divisions: “Aarhus C, Aarhus N, Aarhus V, Aarhus S, Åbyhøj, Viby, and Brabrand” The main railway junction that connects the whole country lies in Aarhus, this add to its industrial sector, and develops its economy. Moreover, the ring road –acknowledgments to the Vikings- has kept the city center free from the motorized traffic. The river on the other hand, as seen great development since the debate of a car-free center started in 1990, following the reopening of two river streams in 1996 and 1998 respectively

U r b a n S t r u c tu r e a n d M orp h o l o gy 19

The city of Aarhus is situated in the geographic center of Demark; it lies on a plateau that increases in level as you move towards the north from the center of the city center. As the city expands from the central harbor, ring roads are developed. The harbor is the principal industrial district, however, south to the harbor is recreational marina that developed as an extension to the water-land relation

Traffic Map The city has a semi-ring road system which reduces the traffic near the core of the city. the semi rings were first developed by the Vikings

Urban Pattern The thin lines show the pattern that ca tained from the map of Aarhus. How main center near the harbor has no showing that its the oldest part of the

an be obever, the o pattern, city.

U r b a n St ru c t u r e a n d M or p h ol og y : A na lysis 21

Land Uses (parks spread within-except in industrial) Industrial Commerica/Residential Residential

One of the current project that is emplmenting these ideas is call “Urban Mediaspace Aarhus”. The concept behind idea is “The construction project Urban Mediaspace Aarhus is part of the transformation of Aarhus inner harbour from industrial harbour to urban space. The project consists of a number of elements: • Urban Mediaspace Aarhus • Waterfront spaces • Opening of the remaining part of Aarhus River • Restructuring the infrastructure of the harbour Urban Media Space Aarhus and the car park are scheduled for the end of 2014 while the waterfront spaces and the rest of the project will be completed at the end of 2015. From harbour to city One of the purposes of Urban Mediaspace Aarhus is to generate coherence between city and water.The project will have great influence on the harbour area and urban life. The area is convenient for Aarhus city centre, Aarhus Cathedral, the pedestrian zone and the river surroundings. This makes Urban Mediaspace Aarhus and the new waterfront spaces a natural meeting point and excursion spot.”

U r b a n S t r u c t u r e: Ur b an Me diasp a c e 23

As the harbor has the strongest effect on the form of the city, the municipality of Aarhus is constantly seeking from new ideas and ways to create a better pedestrian friendly harbor dirstict, in addition, improve the public transportation in the center of the city in order to achieve a car-free city.

Spaces Street/Square/Park


On the northern part of the square is situated the sculpture “Madam” made by the artist Christian Lemmertz. The sculpture was raised in 2001 and fits well into the spirit of this city quarter filled with cafés, trendy shopping and young students. Archaeologists have found the remains of a Viking settlement in the area around the Pustervig square, dated to as far back as circa 770, therefore the city dates back to 1241 years old. This means that Aarhus is one of Scandinavia’s oldest cities – although Ribe in South Jutland still retains the title as Denmark’s oldest town.

Scale 1:2000

The atmosphere of the square is somehow similar to other squares existing in Aarhus. It has stone covering on the ground, creepers on some of the buildings around and one can imagine that it has the smell of fresh coffee and flowers from the surrounding. It is one of the most active squares in Aarhus.

U rb an sp a c e s : P uste r vig T or v S q ua re 29

Pustervig Torv is a centered open square located in Latinerkvarteret between the two shopping streets, Volden and Bedstuegade, or one can also say that the square is an end/start of Rosensgade. The square today is used as a car parking square, but in some occasions it is used as open air seating for the existing cafés and restaurants within the square.

Scale 1:2000

It is very difficult to find clear information about this square, because of the transformation of the square every year. The character of the square keeps on changing every year in August and September. It is the space where festivals and exhibitions take place and the design of the square changes according to the theme of the festival. In general, the square is surrounded by several shops on the ground level and offices on the top levels. It is an open triangular shaped space attached to the main cathedral that acts as a main square of lots of different networking societies. (Google earth) Following are some transformations that the space had to adapt in according to the theme of the year: 1_ The great outdoor exhibition of hundreds of photographs from the “100 Places to remember before they disappear” at Store Torv in Aarhus. 2_ Aarhus Festival forest filled with new scents, colors and sounds, and between trees and grassy hills made clearings where the forest invites you to play, reflection and new experiences in the city room.

3_ Crop circles representing that food is not only organic but also offers other qualities, including particularly good taste, special consideration for health or Fair Trade. Moving ahead to the atmosphere of Store Torv, it changes together with its theme. Every theme has its own character and atmosphere. But this theme stays mostly for the month of August and September. In the normal days when there is no festival event going on, it stays as other simple quarters in Aarhus. It has the normal stone covering on the ground, and a permanent steal structure known as “Water Dragon” on the northern part of the square closer to the cathedral.

U rb an S p a c es : S tor e T or v S q ua re 31

Store Torve is one of the most important squares in Aarhus where the Aarhus ‘Domkirke’ cathedral is located. It is the main religious network of Aarhus in the western part of the Jutland peninsula. The square is the central market of the town on the port-side.

To the northern part of the square is a line of local shops, where the citizens tend to buy some local products. The square in general is surrounded by shops and restaurants and represents a classic town square. On the western part of the square is the bus stop, where people usually stop to go to the ‘Vor Frue Kirke’ Church of Our Lady. The church is located on the western side of the square, and it is one of the large churches in Aarhus. The church on its own has an enclosed green square and at the same time it has an open green yard in front of it welcoming the people to enter the church. Overall, the church consists of three churches existing since 1060 AD and the open spaces existing today were most probably created by the orientation of the three churches. Scale 1:2000

Moving ahead to the features and elements of the square, it consist of stone ground covering, street lights, wooden benches and alone standing trees all around it. During the summer there are small cozy concerts held by the big tree in the square, and this activity is entirely consistent with traders’ desire for life, variety and happy people.

U r b a n S p a c e s : Kloste r tor vet S q u a re 33

Klostertorvet is an open square located on the north-east to the Store Torv or the cathedral. It is almost a triangular shaped space where people tend to relax while shopping on the street sides.

During the summer there is outdoor serving as well as in winter times but warmed up by gas heaters. This area is one of the oldest in Aarhus. Christian I was the king who gave permission in 1477 to build houses along the small river. The name Vadestedet has been used for 1000 years and means the Ford, the place to wade. the area gets active even more during night times, as that is the time when most of the citizens are free of work and need some relaxing time with their family and friends. Many of the cafés are open until 2 am, and in addition to this, several of them are transformed during the evening into clubs for the youth to enjoy the rest of their day. Scale 1:2000

For those who need to rest and relax, or those who just feel like they need to breathe some fresh air, they would just sit outside watching the river gently floating by. It has almost the most calming down atmosphere around that time. Everything is comforted down, and all what you hear is the natural river flow. Moving ahead to the atmosphere of the quarter itself, it has the same stone covering as around the whole city with steps to sit on. The water in the river has an impact on the atmosphere of the square as well that freshens up air breeze as well.

Ur ba n S p a c e s : Vade ste de t q u a rt er 35

The Vadestedet is a river-side quarter in Aarhus, where the most cafés and clubs are gathered around. Together with some garment shops, the cafés and clubs lie side by side all the way along the river. Almost every day the place is alive with people, but it is the most active during summer’s day.

Scale 1:2000

The name Mølleparken drives from the water mill that stood there in the medieval times. In the early 20th century, the municipality of Aarhus acquired the land and converted it into an attractive landscaped gardens that exist till today. Right at the opposite to the park on the northern side is located the Municipality of Aarhus Main Library. When focusing into the location of the area and the importance of the history of the space, one would think that it is the most taken care of and safe to visit. But some people say that it is not the case here. The area has turned into an out of control situation. Several illegal events happen in the park, such as: drug deals, bushes against Møllegade turned into one big urinal, grass is strewn with garbage…etc. People stopped visiting the park because of all these facts, and also that it has became a home to homeless addict and autonomous who mostly party all night under the trees in the park and create mess around the park.

After describing the situation of the park, it is almost clear that the atmosphere of the area is fully green but polluted by the abuse done by some people coming into the area. It could have been that before the park abusers could destroy the atmosphere of the park, there was an active live in the area with families and students coming to the library enjoying the breeze passing through the trees.

U rb a n S p a ces : Mølle p ar k en P a rk 37

Mølleparken or The Mill Park plays an important role in the history of Aarhus. The area’s history is defiantly linked with the history of Aarhus Mill, whose existence was first mentioned in 1289, and believed that it was built by built by Valdemar. It is an open green square located at the intersection of Vester Alle, Aaboulevarden and Møllegade in Aarhus.

Scale 1:2000

The largest part of the park has an open feel, and features large established trees that give plenty of shade in the bright Danish summer. The oldest of these trees date from the time of the churchyard that previously formed part of this site. At all times a wide variety of trees, shrubs and beautiful flower displays are maintained. The southern part of the park features many attractive sculptures. Part of these sculptures is the monuments for soldiers. The Northern part as well has some historic bronze sculptures such as “Pigen af 1940, af Svend Rathsack” and “Vaagnende Kvinde, af Kai Nielsen, 1920”. The atmosphere of the park consist of greenery full of grass, trees, bushes and flowers, together with stone ground covering on the path and it is definitely an open green square of the Town Hall consisting of lots of different features.

U rb a n S p a ces : R aadhu sp a rk en 39

Aarhus City Hall Park locally known as Raadhusparken is a popular recreational area in the heart of the city. The town hall itself is located on the north-east part of the park. Right in the center of the park is a circular quarter where a sculpture called “Der Svangre” is located in, surrounded by single standing shrub plants giving it a more beautiful atmosphere.

Scale 1:2000

Although Ingerslevs Boulevard is a major boulevard located fairly centrally on Frederiksbjerg in North Arhus, it may be a little difficult to find for out of town visitors. The boulevard is hidden behind a network of small one-way streets behind JÌgergaardsgade. Besides a large variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers, there are also sales of cheese, meat, bedding plants and various kinds of handicrafts. Part of the squares, booths - including several of the organic – are local products, but of course there are many stalls with foreign or sort to say international goods. The square is clearly an open square, yet inward oriented by the functions it has. It has two types of ground covering, stones similar to the ones around the whole city, and grass in some parts to have different texture within the boulevard. The square seems to be smelling good with fresh vegetables, fruits, and aromatic flowers that are being sold in the open area.

U rb an S p a c e s : Inge r sle vs B ou lev a rd 41

Square on Ingerslevs Boulevard in Aarhus is one of the largest and most vibrant squares in Denmark. It is known as the vegetable market square by the locals, as it is the place where fresh fruits and vegetables are sold.

Bispetorv has been and is till today, the center of the Aarhus Festival, and it has also been the space of the big tent Universe. It has been the heart of Aarhus together with ‘Store Torv’ and ‘Sct. Clemens Torv’ ever since the Vikings chose to settle down at that spot by the bay. The new excavations on Bispetorv within the next few years might reveal that Aarhus is older than it was estimated till today, and might also be known as the oldest city of Denmark. At the moment, the square is being used as a parking lot for those who visit the area by car and/or work around there, except in Festivals it has to change its function according to the theme of the year.

Scale 1:2000

Initially, the square is the center of northern Europe’s largest Viking excavation, moderated by some archeologists. But there have been some plans to change the square from being a car park to a more active public space. The atmosphere of the area is similar to the one in Store Torv, where it keeps on changing its theme every year. But at regular days, it might have a bit heated up atmosphere because of the cars moving around and getting into the area.

Ur ba n S p a ces : B isp e tor v S q ua re 43

Bispetorv is an open square in Aarhus located south of Aarhus Cathedral and it ends on south of Aarhus theater. The square was named after the former bishop’s palace that existed in the space till 1881. Once the palace was demolished, the square got its present form in 1921.

These houses actually characterize Møllestien, and they are known as outhouses or booths. The uniqueness of these houses is that it was originally one storied houses with just one or two windows and a door.

Scale 1:2000

Till today, a walk through this street has an impression of the old town of Aarhus. Almost each house has at least one plant in front of it. As the houses are in different colours, they give a perfect picture of an urban ideal, especially during summer when there are many different kinds of colourful plants in full blossom. Despite its importance in the history, the street is too quite. One reason behind it is that people believe in that the street was once the home for humble and wretched souls, and also that there has been a tale told about the street’s miserable past. About the atmosphere of the street, it is a narrow path comparing to the other streets in Aarhus, and it has the short cobblestone covering on the ground giving it the feeling of old towns in Aarhus. The narrowness of the street and short tiny houses on the sides gives it cozy atmosphere overall.

Ur ba n S p a ces : Mølle stien S treet 45

The Møllestien is a street existing in Aarhus before 1300 and it has been known by this name since the 15th century. The street was originally a path leading to the Aarhus mill, which today is known as ‘Møleparken’. The path turned into a street when the people started moving on and building small houses on both sides of the path.

Con cl u s i o n 47

In brief, Aarhus is a small city yet it has all the features that a city should be consisting of. It also offers an elegant mix of cosmopolitan city and old-fashioned small town charm, with wonderful pubs, restaurants and lots of interesting squares. It also has a very fascinating urban structure that formed starting from the harbor and gradually growing to the Western part of the whole city. Other than that, the city center still has memorial monuments reminding the citizens as well as the world that how important it was. The identity of the city exists till today because of the organic growth, as well as keeping the nature close to the people‌ big/1100/Aarhus_Aarhus-aerial-view_4060.jpg images en-gb/menu/turist/om-aarhus/the_history_of_ the_city/history_of_the_city.htm urban_history.pdf en-gb/menu/turist/om-aarhus/the_history_of_ the_city/aarhusaa/aarhusaa.htm en-gb/menu/turist/om-aarhus/the_history_of_ the_city/vikings/vikings.htm translate?hl=en&sl=da&u= klostertorv/&ei=c0sMTs2ICNOFhQf2-PTtDQ&sa =X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0C C8Q7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dklostertor v,%2Baarhus%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26b ih%3D699%26prmd%3Divnsm translate?hl=en&sl=da&u=http://www.aakb. zWEsm1hAfLjvHGDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=re sult&resnum=5&ved=0CEUQ7gEwBA&prev=/se arch%3Fq%3Dm%25C3%25B8lleparken%2B%25 C3%25A5rhus%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26 bih%3D699%26prmd%3Divnsm translate?hl=en&sl=da&u= byrum/moelle.htm&ei=AF8MTs27LInVrQfE_vzF Cw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=3& ved=0CDIQ7gEwAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Da bout%2BM%25C3%25B8lleparken%2B,%2Baarh us%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D699 %26prmd%3Divnsm

T h e Ci ty of A a rh u s 49 translate?hl=en&sl=da&u= &sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved =0CB0Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DInger slevs%2BBoulevard%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26 biw%3D1280%26bih%3D699%26prmd%3Divnsm


a simple urban study on Aarhus


a simple urban study on Aarhus