Kartoffelrækkerne | Østerbro, Copenhagen



  • Built in 1873 after the English model and was designed by the architect Friedrich Christian Bøttger
  • the houses were public housing built by the Workers Construction Association (Arbejdernes Byggeforening), an association initiated by the workers at Burmeister & Wain
  • situated in the central location close to Svanemøllen Station
  • named the Most Livable Neighborhood in the World by multiple planning organizations
  • dense (Patrick Condon figures about 1.2 FSR gross, 2 FSR net), but still, in a sense, suburban
  • Kartoffelrækkerne means “potato rows” –  as it was built on former potato fields and follows very straight rows of construction as says one source, or as they were built on old market gardens and the urban layout somewhat resembled rows of potatoes
  • two to three-storey townhouses with private gardens
  • the front garden space has landscaping and short fences to buffer residents from the street activities and provide privacy, but there is a visual connection between the street and the yard
  • a home like this, in the past, would house 2 families of about 12 people on 3 floors
  • beginnings as housing for working-class families, yet the area has become a very popular and expensive place to live, Danish prime minister lives in one of the houses
  • the houses are now some of the most expensive and sought-after real estate in the city, thanks to their central location, safe streets, and the perfect size homes that allow enough private space but are small enough to force the residents to interact with their neighbours and surroundings
  • the homes have landmark status, which means homeowners can alter layouts but not add volume
  • prices: about  $1 million for a house

The streets:

  • are narrow, and place the focus on people and community as much as cars
  • people are prioritized – this is reinforced by street furniture- tables, chairs; play structures, and landscaping- trees and planting beds that are all placed in the streets themselves
  • varied paving surfaces
  • cars can still get through but must go very slowly
  • bicycles are also used quite a bit, as the neighbourhood is centrally located and easy to access other parts of the city by bike (as well as walking, transit, etc)
  • at the middle of most blocks, a tree or other feature is placed in the middle of the street, and many have picnic tables, a stage, or other items there that help to turn the street into an outdoor living room for all the neighbours
  • the streets have no curbs, but instead, feature paver-lined runnels or gutters on either side
  • while there are areas that would appear to be sidewalks, these are used in most cases for parking, again reinforcing the use of the centre of the street as not only a road but a path and pedestrian walkway

Historical plans of neighbourhood and of housing here and here


Sources of text and images:,,, 



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