World in Denmark 2014 - Conference theme

“Super Danish”, “New Nordic”, and “Scandinavian welfare design” are among numerous seductive names that coin planning and architecture practices from the north these years. Drawing on historic recognition of design traditions, the Scandinavian approach has recently experienced a profound revitalisation.

Landscape architects and urban designers from Denmark and the other Nordic countries have increasingly become exporters of design solutions to places like Beijing, New York and Christchurch, while Copenhagen repeatedly receives awards for its liveability. Nordic planning is often promoted as particularly human, ecologically sustainable and democratic.

However, looking beyond the immediate branding effect, what themes and values, methods and challenges are current in Nordic urban space design and planning in these years? Where are the gaps between imaginary and reality? How does the  nordicness relate to what is going on in other regions and cultures and what does it potentially have to offer? Which movements, paradoxes, conflicts and challenges exist? Where are the blind alleys? And how do these current trends reflect traditions of design and placemaking?

The issue goes beyond Denmark and the Nordic countries. It concerns what it means to intervene in cities and landscapes in a global era. What happens when western designers work in places whose local languages are new to them? How do general ideas about improving cities migrate and mutate, synergize and conflict in the encounter with specific contexts? What are the potentials and losses of producing traditions – such as the Danish or Nordic – in open space design and planning?

This conference invites contributors from landscape architecture, urban design, heritage- and urban studies, geography, anthropology, ethnology, art history and more to discuss how design and planning mindsets travel. Scholars and practitioners working with historical and contemporary design, planning, theory, and education from a broad variety of perspectives are encouraged to submit abstracts related to the tracks.

For a decade, the World in Denmark conferences have brought prominent international designers and planners to Copenhagen.

This 10th conference investigates the role of Denmark – or more broadly the Nordic countries – in the world. Scholars and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts that discuss cultural encounters in open space design and planning.

International keynote speakers from landscape architecture, urban design and urbanism will reflect on recent interventions in the urban landscape.