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Copenhagen wants to build its own Silicon Valley from scratch

And it plans to build nine fake islands to do it.

Copenhagen wants to build its own Silicon Valley from scratch
[Photo: Urban Power for Hvidovre Municipality]

The developers behind Holmene, a new development in Denmark, want to create a European Silicon Valley. Their idea? Build nine artificial islands from scratch and turn them into a scientific and technological haven.

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[Photo: Urban Power for Hvidovre Municipality]

Created for the Danish government by architecture and urban planning firm Urban Power, the project will extend Denmark’s largest industrial area with 32.3 million square feet of  grounds and energy-efficient buildings that are expected to attract 380 new business and 12,000 jobs.

The area, which will rise atop 918 million cubic feet of soil recycled from the city’s subway system and other architectural projects, will include 24.7 million square feet of industrial structures for research and manufacturing powered by five 6-megawatt wind turbines on its shoreline. In theory, the turbines alone will produce 10% of the electricity consumed by the entire city of Copenhagen. Holmene is also expected to have the largest biowaste power plant in northern Europe, processing the waste of about 1.5 million people and turning it into energy and clean water. Furthermore, the creators say it will have a large natural area for sports, recreation, and “improved biodiversity.”

[Photo: Urban Power for Hvidovre Municipality]
It sounds like an amazing place, right?

Greater Copenhagen 1960, 2019, and 2040. [Images: Urban Power for Hvidovre Municipality]

The government and some important Danes certainly think so. But some Copenhagen residents disagree. Citizens worry that the new development will disrupt traffic and public transportation, and increase inequality due to a boom in housing prices. Sound familiar? Many in Copenhagen believe that Holmene may transform the Danish capital into San Francisco 2.0.

It’s an eternal problem: Progress always brings conflict, no matter how careful you are about it. At least the development is designed to be gentle on the environment. Silicon Valley had no such luck.

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About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.

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