Langelands Plads: The Tiles Eat Air Pollution
Denmark’s first climate-proof square can be found in Frederiksberg, under the feet of playing children.
There’s a striking openness as you meander through densely developed Frederiksberg and happen upon Langelands Plads. This square offers a range of exceptional facilities for local residents of all ages, while parked cars are tucked away in a three-story underground garage.
You’ll find a playground, ball cages, various spots to picnic and socialize in the sunshine (or shade) at any time of the day, and in the summer there’s a wading pool with a fountain for all the city’s children. Older trees stand alongside newly-planted greenery. Langelands Plads is the epitome of modern family life in the nation’s capital in 2019. And everyone is welcome.
But under the surface, the square holds a different and more serious story. Climate change has also made an impact in Denmark. Major cloudbursts have caused problems on multiple occasions, including overflowing sewer systems and flooding due to a lack of drainage in the dense city.
The large square is essential as a climate-proofing measure. A basin under the square slows the drainage of rainwater into the sewer system. And if you visit the square during a heavy downpour, you may also notice that rainwater seeps slowly into the basin through holes in the stone tiles that form the surface of the square.
Langelands Plads is Denmark’s first climate-proof square, but many more are already in the works. For example, see Skt. Kjelds Plads and the roof on the new home of the Danish National Archives.
- The tiles have yet another superpower. The stone material they are made of binds 10% of toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) air pollution – thus the name “No-NOx” tiles.
- It may seem a bit paradoxical that the square was also developed to cover a three-story underground parking garage with space for 207 cars.