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How does one go about creating an attractive and modern urban neighbourhood that opens up Fredericia to the Little Belt strait, while at the same time paying heed to the unique history of the town? And how can the development of a new urban neighbourhood contribute to safeguarding Fredericia town centre from the impact of climate change, storm surges and rising sea levels? These are some of the central goals of the development Kanalbyen, which Realdania By & Byg is developing in partnership with Fredericia Municipality.
In common with many other Danish coastal towns, Fredericia town centre has been cut off from the sea for a number of years because the entire length of the city's waterfront has been used as an industrial area. At the same time, Fredericia is facing a unique challenge in tackling the impending rise in sea levels and storm surge events. By virtue of its close proximity to the Little Belt strait, the town centre has repeatedly suffered flooding due to storms that have forced water from the strait over the quayside at Gl. Havn, where Kanalbyen is currently under construction.
The development of Kanalbyen will serve to demonstrate how this former industrial town can be developed into an attractive place to live and enjoy life. A place you feel like settling down in and visiting – and a place which has taken steps to preserve its historic town centre against flooding.
Kanalbyen is being developed on a 20-hectare area of land around Gl. Havn in Fredericia. Once complete, the new neighbourhood will provide around 2,800 jobs and 1,200 homes. Behind the development is the limited partnership Kanalbyen i Fredericia P/S, which is jointly owned by Realdania By & Byg and Fredericia Municipality.
Drawing inspiration from old town plans from the seventeenth century, the former industrial area is being redeveloped as a neighbourhood interlaced with canals. The renaissance style of the historic town centre, with its long, straight roads and lines of sight from the centre of town down to the harbour, is carried over to Kanalbyen, and the old town ramparts, which were demolished in the industrial era, have been reinterpreted in the form of a new green route through the area. Finally, a three-in-one solution has been found to safeguard Kanalbyen and the whole of Fredericia town centre against flooding.
The first residents moved in in 2017, and today Kanalbyen takes its place as an integrated part of the city, a place to live, meet and enjoy views of Little Belt and the Little Belt Bridge. The development will continue over the coming 20 years or so until the entire area has been fully redeveloped
Kanalbyen has the potential to inspire other coastal towns with ambitions of strengthening links between the heart of town and the waterfront as part of the transition from industrial town to modern, sustainable city prioritising quality of life, diversity and city life.
Kanalbyen's climate-proofing measures may serve to inspire other coastal towns facing the challenge of storm surges and rising sea levels.
Kanalbyen's strategic and practical work with short-term activities and involvement of local residents may serve as inspiration for other urban development projects seeking to breathe new life into derelict areas, stimulate support among locals or try out particular activities without having to commit to the development of a permanent urban neighbourhood.
Besides Kanalbyen, Realdania By & Byg is involved in the urban development projects Køge Kyst, and Nærheden in Høje-Taastrup in partnership with the municipal authorities in those areas. All three projects provide specific solutions to the challenges faced by the cities of the future, and by committing long-term investment over three decades, Realdania By & Byg – by virtue of its knowledge and experience in the field of sustainable urban development – is helping ensure forward-looking, high-quality solutions.