Crisis in the Resurgent City? The Rise of Copenhagen


Copenhagen today appears to be a resurgent city and city region. It came back to life in the mid‐1990s and, until recently, has shown marked growth in key variables such as jobs, income and inhabitants, primarily as a result of the rise and spatial dynamics of its service‐ and knowledge‐based economy. Its resurgence is also evident in the central municipalities that 20 years ago struggled with the repercussions of a long‐term urban crisis. Financially, the central city was almost doomed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the city of Copenhagen was close to bankruptcy. Central‐city development was characterized by a set of eroding processes that included de‐industrialization, suburbanization, high unemployment rates, high welfare costs, an outdated housing market, strong segregation and various other factors. Copenhagen city and its city region have now been revitalized and today are a strong national centre of economic growth. Although one can catch glimpses of the crisis in key variables, urban turn remains strong; for instance, up to now, rising unemployment has been seen mainly outside the large urban areas in Denmark. However, the housing‐market bubble has burst and other signs of crisis have been appearing since as early as 2006. Nevertheless, the city is far removed from the gloomy days of the late 1980s and early 1990s.