Århus, Denmark
City population: 308508
Duration: 2015 – 2016
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Sub-microscale: Street scale (including buildings)
Project area: 9500 m2
Type of area: Central Business District / City Centre
Last updated: October 2021

The City Council transformed Bispetorve, from a public square, to a green urban space in the autumn of 2015 - available for a wide range of events and experiences - designed to attract life and activity. Bispetorvet was aimed to also play an important role as an attractive crossroads between Strøget, Store Torv, the new harbour area, light railway stop at Skolebakken and the harbour front car parks.” (Ref. 1)

Bispetorv Square


Nature-based solution

  • Parks and urban forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces

Key challenges

  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Environmental quality
  • Noise reduction
  • Inclusive and effective governance (SDG 16)
  • Inclusive governance
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social cohesion
  • Social interaction
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Enabling physical activity
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation
  • Economic development and employment (SDG 8)
  • Economic development: service sectors
  • Real estate development


Creation of new green areas, Maintenance and management of urban nature

Project objectives

Aarhus aims to be an attractive city to live in, with plenty of green urban spaces. (Ref. 3) The objectives are: - A green and attractive Bispetorvet, that invites visitors to linger - An urban space with a wide range of events and opportunities for public participation - A visually attractive crossroads, with easy access for pedestrians from some of the most popular areas of the city centre (Ref. 2) Also, the place will act as a meeting place for residents and council workers for the Smag på Aarhus and Grønt Medborgerskab projects (Taste Aarhus and Green City Residents). (Ref. 1) The goal of the transformation has been to create an urban space that will attract life and activity and that will be open for a wide range of arrangements. The wishes that crystallized from the process were wishes of green urban space, with room for both large scale and small scale events and where several activities can take place side by side so to speak. (Ref 7)

Implementation activities

To realise the potential of Bispetorvet, car parking on the square and through traffic will be banned. Motorists will be directed to the other city centre car parks, where capacity has been increased to a total of 825 spaces. (Ref. 1) Plants, trees and seating areas have replaced cars to make Bispetorvet an attractive place to be in the centre of Aarhus. By focusing on events and opportunities for public participation with local stakeholders, Bispetorvet will become a lively and attractive urban space. (Ref. 3) The project works with three characteristic groves of trees held together by a slanting, undulating wooden deck that allows for both sitting resting and play. The profile of the deck evens the natural slant of the square and creates areas that can be used for outdoor cafes, seating in connection with performances or for children sledding in winter. The lower edge of the deck has been designed in a shape that creates little niches for more quiet activities on the big square. (Ref 7)

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Private sector/Corporate/Company
  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Co-governance with government and non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The City Council resolved to transform Bispetorvet on 12 August 2015, with help from the ‘Begrønningsplan for Aarhus Midtby 2004-2013’ (Making Aarhus City Centre Greener). Architects Schønherr and the City Council have devised the transformation plan with input from key stakeholders in the area. (Ref. 1) The municipality of Aarhus has decided to test the possibilities of an urban transformation in collaboration with Schønherr, citizens of Aarhus, and the neighbouring shops and institutions. (Ref 7)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (The City Council resolved to transform Bispetorvet on 12 August 2015, with help from the ‘Begrønningsplan for Aarhus Midtby 2004-2013’ (Making Aarhus City Centre Greener). (Ref. 1) )


Total cost

€500,000 - €2,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of expertise
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Other

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased number of species present
  • Other

Economic impacts

  • Attraction of business and investment

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved social cohesion
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased opportunities for social interaction
  • Increased involvement of locals in the management of green spaces
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records