Limitations of Copenhagen’s Lynetteholm

Limitations of Copenhagen’s Lynetteholm

Jozi Harty

Controversial artificial Island, Lynetteholm moves into new stage of construction. The island will see limited welfare gains for the population of Copenhagen.

By & Havn site, east of Copenhagen’s harbour. Lynetteholm currently exists only as a perimeter of sand but will begin to be filled in this month.

Image: Jozi Harty

Real estate company By & Havn of Copenhagen has begun construction on Lynetteholm, an artificial island that will sit adjacent to the city’s east harbour. The project begins phase two today, in which construction will begin in the area between Refshaleøen and Kronløbet. The new peninsula has raised environmental concerns from the city’s citizens but with construction already underway, conversations have emerged around the effect Lynetteholm will have on welfare. The 2.8 km² island is said to supply more housing and jobs to the people of Copenhagen and make it easier to protect the city against potentially disastrous floods.

Maria Juul Hansen, an economist at Copenhagen University, has analysed the welfare gains of Lynetteholm and finds there will be only a small change in the housing market:

She says, “what we could see from our model is that houses would drop a little bit and people would be better off in terms of welfare from an economic viewpoint, but it’s not a huge drop.”

In terms of the job market, Hansen’s colleague, and fellow economist Christian Langholz Carstensen says “we can assume there is going to be an increase in jobs in [Copenhagen] on Lynetteholm”. He says many of these jobs are created by companies being able to physically expand onto the island.

By and Havn have claimed that the project will be self-funded, but with only a small housing price decrease, Lynetteholm is at risk of costing taxpayers’ money. This risk will increase depending on the method used to link the island to the metro line of the city.

Mogens Fosgerau, transport economics professor at the University of Copenhagen said in a conversation with BT that “the financing is associated with great uncertainty, and if the sale does not generate enough money for some reason, only the taxpayers have to pay the difference”.

Many citizens of Copenhagen find themselves concerned with what good Lynetteholm will bring, given the construction’s end date is still far. MorgenDAC hosted a discussion on Friday to discuss alternative development in relation to Lynetteholm, with many concerned citizens attending to be in communication with speakers Ane Cortzen and Ole Birk who have published a book on the Lynetteholm debate.  

Attendee Cecile Peterson and resident of Copenhagen says, “I do recognise the need for more housing for a growing population, but I don’t know if this is the best way to do it,” and “I sympathise with the people living near [the construction].” Another concerned citizen and attendee of the discussion, Anna Sofie Christensen says, “it effects the environment a lot, those huge projects… I think we should try to improve what we have instead of building new things”.

Reporting by Jozi Harty and Justin Fung.