Aarhus DK

Type Invited Competition 2014, 2nd prize
Role Main consultant landscape
Team Cebra A/S, Habitats and Urban Catalyst
Client Brabrand housing association, Aarhus Municipality and Realdania
Area 228.000 m2
Status Completed


Gellerup Park neighborhood is a troubled marginalized area in Aarhus, the aim of the competition was to create a proposal for how to transform Gellerup into an attractive, diverse and sustainable neighborhood. A big part of the competition was to develop a strategy for the transformation process, in order to ensure local engagement and as a tool to increase social interactions and sense of ownership.


The proposal is a safe and multi functional city park where all residents have direct influence on the eco systems and the structuring of the park. The terrain modeling allows for more functions and creates a flow of people that increases the security.  The masterplan creates a comprehensive and flexible green area in Gellerup, which will raise its identity and create an active participatory urban space that will contribute to shaping of the future Gellerup. In the team we had a great focus on sustainability and biodiversity, and several aspects of sustainability have been incorporated in planning of the park.


In a transformation process with a ten year span it is crucial to develop a strategy for how to maintain the interest, the creativity and involvement of local users, whom will live in this building process for a decade. Conventional buildings process doesn’t dell with this, and therefore new ideas where developed for our proposal. The cornerstone in the process will be the user driven Instant City, where the transformation

becomes visible and the locals are engaged in the process. Temporary initiatives that revolve around local resources and organizations maintain the energy and create the possibility for local user to influence the transformation process. This new way of working with an urban transformation process will ensure that the ‘waiting’ time will become a interesting experience and ensure local ownership and involvement.

Phase one revolves around Instant City as a cornerstone of the establishment of Byparken. Through different experiments, user driven processes and organizations will the local residents be involved in the conversion and development of the new park area. Instant City is a tool to create local engagement and initiative. In phase two the focus is to create visibility in the process, where a series of events ensures visibility for the users and creates awareness of the ongoing transformation. The year after the first idea competition is launched, where local citizens and organizations in Aarhus are invited to compete about small implementation grants and a five year contract in Instant City. Billboards,

door-to-door campaign and the local news media will be used to create awareness of the competition. An administration person will be hired to organize the competition, and to plan an user driven culture café and to organize workshop with the local residents. One year later a new competition about local pioneer projects will be launched, and the children institutions are moved to their new buildings while unused buildings will be torn down. During ‘Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017’ Instant City will be one of the main attractions with events that celebrate the multicultural identity of Gellerup and with the opening of Det Ny Gellerupbad, Verdenspladsen and Byparken.

Bypark Midt will become one big unifying park with activities for everyone. The many new programs and activities will be linked to the main path to ensure access for all residents. The large variety of programs will include football fields, large playground, an amphitheater, a tribune, a fruit grove and animal husbandry. The area will be the base for Instant City Vest and a part of the sports and culture campus. Bypark Nord revolves around informal play instead of sports activities in order to engage smaller children and girls that usually don’t take part in organized sports activities.

 Placed in the center of the park is the outdoor area of a children institution, and the park is designed and programmed to support the institution and create a fun and challenging park space that appeals to non-organized play. Byparken Syd connects the park and the areas south of Gellerup. Small hills and slopes are created and the path is divided in two, one that creates easy access and one that use the new landscape to form a fun and inviting path for exercise and play. Instant City Syd focus on green activities with community gardens, beehives and animal husbandry.



The design of the park is based on principles of accessibility, security and plentiful experience and activities for all ages and background. The design revolves around two main paths, one that goes through the park with a strong landscape approach and many different play and sports activities affiliated. The other path is closely related to the housing and with a more

urban feel and programming. The path system is the foundation for the proposal. The path systems creates a connection across the park and the focus was on creating a accessible and safe passage. In some parts the path becomes an exercise trail for children and adults.



The development strategy will be implemented over time and the conversion of Gellerup will happen in a period of twenty years. The dark pink areas will be developed first.

The light is concentrated around the paths and squares, where the light reflects the activities. The focus was to create a robust lighting system that contributes to create a safe atmosphere.



Rainwater becomes a blue resource and a important part of the eco system and the aim to create a sustainable park, where the water creates recreational value and contributes to a park with high biodiversity.

We propose to move around 70.000 m3 soil in order to create a more friendly landscape that is accessible for everyone. Instead of steep slopes the terrain is remodel to become more round and soft curved with smaller pockets.