Location: Central Copenhagen, Denmark
Population: 0.5 million
Metro: 1.9 million
Length: 1.15 km (0.7 mi)
Right-of-Way: 10–12 m
Context: Mixed-use (Residential/Commercial)
Maintenance: Several repavings since 1963
Until 1962, all the streets and squares of central Copenhagen were used intensively for vehicle traffic and parking, and were under pressure from the rapidly growing fleet of private vehicles.
The pedestrianization of Copenhagen began with the city’s main street, Strøget, which was converted in 1962 as an experiment. The conversion of the 1.15 km-long main street into a pedestrian street was seen as a pioneering effort, which gave rise to much public debate before the street was converted. “Pedestrian streets will never work in Scandinavia” was one theory. “No cars means no customers and no customers means no business,” said local business owners.
Soon, Strøget proved to be a huge success, with businesses realizing that traffic-free environments provide increased financial revenue. Magasin Torv, the square by Nikolaj Church, and Gråbrødre Torv were the first squares to be renovated.