Accessible only to swimmers and kayakers, a collection of floating islands is to be built in Copenhagen harbour to create the world’s first ‘parkipelago’. Samuel Ballard reports

The islands, which will be small enough to hold small groups, will only be accessible by swimming, boat or kayak. They will have endemic grasses and trees planted on them, and will function as fishing platforms, picnic spots, diving points, gardens, stages and even mussel farms.

The project, named Copenhagen Islands, is being developed by Marshall Bleecher and Studio Fokstrot.

A prototype island, CPH-Ø1, was built in 2018. The 20 sqm platform, which has a single linden tree planted on it, has so far hosted talks and exhibitions. The plan is now to build more islands, made from recyclable materials and encased in Forest Stewardship Council-approved timber. CPH-Ø2, CPH-Ø3 and CPH-Ø4 will come next.

Copenhagen IslandsA statement on the project’s website read: “The Copenhagen Islands introduce a completely new type of public parks in Copenhagen – a ‘parkipelago’ focusing on the place and function of public spaces in the city – both in a local context with rapid urban development along the harbour side, threatening the recreational spaces, but also in a global context with rising sea levels creating new challenges for urban environments.

“The islands will be dispatched on suitable locations around the inner harbour, but also find their way to more forgotten and underused corners of the harbour, catalysing life and activity. Hopefully giving back a little bit of space for whimsey and wonder to the old industrial harbour sides.”Copenhagen IslandsThe website goes on to reveal that each island will serve as a platform for a different activity. Some will be designed for swimmers while others will have floating gardens or cafes built on them. There will even be one with a sauna.

Each island will be anchored to the floor of the harbour and will be moveable. In the summer they will be spread out across different areas of water, while in the winter they will make up a “super continent” that can easily be accessed from the harbour side.

In a statement, Fokstrot said: “The intention is to renew the proud traditions of Danish harbour life, by strengthening the social cohesion and awareness of the maritime life in, and around the harbour. Copenhagen Islands“The activities and functions of each island are flexible, depending on its position in the harbour and the time of the year. The users of the islands are dictating the actual use of the island, and what functions to have.”

In an era of social distancing, being able to swim to your own private island for a picnic – alone or with a few close family or friends – seems the perfect way to spend downtime outdoors. Globetrender hopes other cities will follow Copenhagen’s innovative example.

Other Danish harbors are also undergoing development, to help future-proof towns and cities at a time when urbanisation is growing and sea levels are rising.

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