Why Copenhagen is building parks that can turn into ponds

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Why Copenhagen is building parks that can turn into ponds

Copenhagen’s new Enghaveparken will have spaces that can host sporting events during dry weather and fill with water during heavy rains

At first glance, the square known as Tåsinge Plads doesn’t look much different from other parks in Copenhagen. A young couple lounges on a small hill surrounded by newly planted trees and wildflowers. Children laugh and play. Old women sit chatting on benches under the shade of tall sculptures shaped like upside-down umbrellas.

But there are hidden features that make Tåsinge Plads part of this seaside city’s plan to survive the effects of climate change.

During heavy rains, the flowerbeds fill with water and wait to drain until the storm runoff subsides. The upside-down umbrellas collect water to be used later to nourish the plantings. And clever landscaping directs stormwater down into large underground water storage tanks. Above those tanks are bouncy floor panels that children love to jump on — when they do, the energy from their feet pumps water through the pipes below.

Just a few years ago, this square was paved with asphalt and dominated by parked cars — a small grassy area was used more as a toilet for dogs than as a park. Now, it’s the cornerstone of a plan to make the surrounding area of Saint Kjelds into what planners here are calling the world’s first “climate-resilient neighborhood.” […]