SUPER SMART AARHUS With so much great design in Denmark, it’s easy to take it for granted. But on a recent trip to Aarhus, Keri Bloomfield was reminded just how smart it can be.
PHOTOGRAPHS KERI BLOOMFIELD
TEXT KERI BLOOMFIELD
'SMART AARHUS' IS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS WHO ARE ALL COMMITTED TO CREATING AND IMPLEMENTING A WIDE RANGE OF SMART CITY DEVELOPMENTS.
I MUST ADMIT, Danes
are quite clever. For starters, they’ve made designing chairs, lamps and furniture an art form. In fact, should you have the misfortune of being burgled in Denmark, I can almost guarantee that your television will be safe. Instead it’ll be your designer furniture and lamps (should you be fortunate enough to have them) that will be the first to go. Alongside furniture designers, Danish architects and urban planners are also pretty clever with design, as is evident by the many ambitious projects (past and future) throughout the country. Leading the way when it comes to smart design is Aarhus. With a population of around 340,000 it’s Denmark’s second largest city, and thanks to its very own ‘smart’ initiative, it’s also carving a strong reputation as one of the smartest cities in Denmark. ‘Smart Aarhus’ is a partnership between various organisations who are all committed to creating and implementing a wide range of smart city developments. It encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors as well as citizens, the business community and knowl-
SEPTEMBER 2018 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM
edge institutions. To achieve this, they’ve turned the normal model of urban planning upside down with issues raised by citizens now forming the basis of a wide range of city planning initiatives and projects – from big to the small. It’s hard to visit Aarhus and not notice the impact its having on the city. It’s an exciting place to be right now. What I found most amazing is the everyday design details that are making the city that much more liveable for those who call Aarhus home. For instance;
DOKK1 This large urban media centre, located on the waterfront, incorporates the library, culture house, cafe and borgerservice (residents service centre). It also has various indoor and outdoor play areas for children of all ages, including virtual football. It feels very much like one big happy communal space thoughtfully designed for as many people within the community to enjoy. Right down to ‘smart pram parking’ – my personal favourite – a pram park with
painted lines just like you would find in a regular carpark. A small initiative but a super smart one – Viking organisation at its best.
SMART START-UP Having nailed city-wide bike share schemes in Denmark many years ago, it now seems to be the time for city-wide umbrella share schemes courtesy of Aarhus start-up Dripdrop. Just one example of the many creative startups you can find here. I found one of their smart umbrella sharing stations at the Aarhus Street Food Market. It’s one of eight sites they’re using in their testing phase. Soon this will be increased to over 35 locations. They’ve also established umbrella sharing schemes (although without the smart technology) in 15 other cities throughout Denmark, as well as in Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Finland. But it all started in Aarhus – a city seemingly incubating a whole lot of great ideas. The idea is simple, yet more importantly, smart. It al-