Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


PhD defence: Johanne Heesche (IGN)

Ph.d.-forsvar — Transformation of young industrial landscapes – emphasising reuse, porosity, re-naturing and open-endedness through landscape-based transformation


Date & Time:

Auditorium Kongelunden, Front House, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C

Hosted by:
IGN, Section for Landscape Architecture, Planning and Design


Johanne Heesche defends her thesis at IGN

Transformation of young industrial landscapes
– emphasising reuse, porosity, re-naturing and open-endedness through landscape-based transformation

Professor Ellen Braae, IGN, KU (DK)
Professor Gertrud Jørgensen, IGN, KU (DK)

Assessment committee:
Associate Professor, René van der Velde, TU Delft (NL)
Associate Professor Ranja Hautamäki, Aalto University (FI)
Associate Professor Svava Riesto, IGN, KU (DK) (Chair)

This thesis delves into the untapped potential of young industrial landscapes (YILs), which are urban industrial areas developed mainly between the 1930s and 1970s. These landscapes, especially in the Copenhagen area, are considered unique opportunities for urban redevelopment. The aim of the study is to contribute to the transformation of these spaces in ways that go beyond the usual densification with a mix of housing and offices, with the aim of creating richer, more sustainable urban environments. Focusing on Copenhagen, the research identifies these YILs as significant but partially underutilised landscapes that, due to their location and size, are ideal for creative redevelopment.

However, current urban redevelopment often primarily focuses on densification, and creating mixed housing and office areas, missing the chance to integrate the unique characteristics of these industrial areas. Recognising this gap, the thesis argues for a landscape-based approach to transformation, one that explores and incorporates the historical and ecological aspects of these places. The core of this study is a detailed analysis of five such industrial landscapes in Copenhagen.

Using a method called the typo-morphological approach, the research uncovers both common and distinct features of these landscapes, offering deeper insights into their structure and potential. The findings lead to a set of strategies and principles for transformation that are inspired by both European and North American urban planning models. These include ideas like making spaces more porous, reusing existing structures in innovative ways, reintroducing nature into these areas, and designing them to adapt and evolve over time. By applying these principles to two specific YILs in Copenhagen, the thesis takes an initial step towards demonstrating how industrial landscapes can be transformed into vibrant, multifunctional urban landscapes. It suggests that such transformations can provide meaningful alternatives or supplements to traditional urban densification, contributing positively to sustainable urban development. In summary, this research offers valuable insights and practical approaches for transforming YILs. It presents a path forward for urban planners, landscape architects, and communities looking to reimagine their industrial past into a sustainable and enriching urban future.

A digital version of the PhD thesis can be obtained from the PhD secretary at phd@ign.ku.dk