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By & Havn Sustainable Urban Development KPIs, Copenhagen

Shaping Copenhagen – developing a sustainable urban development framework

Urban designers are increasingly focused on demonstrating the impact of sustainable urban development initiatives. In Copenhagen, Arup is working with the city’s developer By & Havn to develop a data-driven sustainability measuring tool to help evaluate proposals and easily communicate project performance to a wide range of stakeholders – from politicians and decision-makers to the local children - in an accessible manner.   

Owned by the Municipality of Copenhagen and the state of Denmark, By & Havn is the master developer of Copenhagen’s former industrial sites and reclaimed land, including the harbour area. Driven by sustainability, By & Havn works to regenerate these areas, creating resilient urban space that are closely connected to the city centre. The city developer operates under key sustainability priorities like: energy efficiency, urban nature, green mobility, resource efficiency and communities and city life. 

To bring this vision to life, By & Havn commissioned Arup to design a holistic, data-driven dashboard, tracking a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Following a review of dozens of other city and building certification schemes, Arup worked with By & Havn to select these strategic indicators, aligned with the client's sustainability priorities and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). 

This new bespoke, data-driven sustainability framework has already been applied to Copenhagen areas with different characteristics, tracking the performance of urban typologies with medium- and high-density dwellings as well as single family houses.  


Project Summary

16 sustainability KPIs

3urban typologies

600.000 m2

What makes a sustainable community?

The sustainable urban development framework examines a variety of aspects that future-proof a community: from the total annual water consumption per resident, the percentage of residents’ trips by car, the distance to the nearest recycling station or the proportion of natural areas within walking distance.

Beyond evaluating the resilience of the city’s infrastructure, our team of urban designers and sustainability specialists were also keen to account for the social resilience of Copenhagen’s neighbourhoods and communities. In that way, the KPIs offer a glimpse of how urban life operates within a neighbourhood, shedding light on sustainable ways of living in a city at a granular level.

Copenhagen has some of the most ambitious sustainability objectives in the world, and yet public discussions about what makes for sustainable urban development is often based on opinion rather than data. Our framework helps By & Havn bridge this gap. ” Kristian Winther Kristian Winther Associate, Architecture

© Ole Malling

Communicating Sustainability – data, clarity

Communication was a key aspect in determining the success of the project. Although ready aligned with DGNB certificates, By & Havn was looking for a tailored sustainability framework that help easily transmit this to a range of stakeholders.

By & Havn and Arup collectively valued criteria such as communication, measurability, data accessibility and maintenance in measuring the performance of the KPIs. The use of simple, legible dashboards allows for key information to be communicated, ensuring that the measurements can be understood and related to by everyone.  

Arup’s team of urban designers and sustainability consultants worked to filter and select the KPIs, enabling them to be tailored to the client’s requirements – with the data is already being used in the reporting of current and future projects. 

By & Havn’s sustainability-driven KPI strategy highlights a pathway for creating a more resilient city and promotes transparent communication between residents, businesses and municipal agencies.