Construction Fences of Copenhagen

Halifax has been working to improve the quality of fences around downtown construction sites. This includes a commitment to make the pedestrian experience less fraught (no more disappearing  sidewalks). Have you noticed things getting better? Me neither.

While recently walking in Copenhagen, we passed a number of construction sites and a few of you might be interested in how a city sensitive to pedestrians and good design handles their fences.

Tall Plywood

Copenhagen is building a new metro line and there are several huge construction sites including one that totally occupies an important public square. A simple, but high, plywood fence surrounds this site. And because Copenhagen likes pedestrians the walking experience is safe and thoughtful.dsc00354-001

One of the sections we passed had an exhibit of photos of old people with quotes about their dreams for the future (eg. “I dream about being able to bid life farewell with a smile and a thank you”).


While having afternoon tea in the Magasin de Nord department store, we had a great view of this construction site and could see that the fence along the motor vehicle/bicycle route was covered with advertising (for products like rum). These ads are most visible when you are on a bus and I assume the city is generating some revenue.


Hey, let’s get kids to paint the fence!

Developers often get children to decorate construction fences but I usually find the results disappointing. Here along a narrow walkway, is an example that really works (the header image is another view).


It felt like a gallery, with the images an appropriate size to view as we walked by. Collectively, the paintings were delightful; I suspect inspirational art teachers channelled the young creatives’ energy.

dsc00781Under construction behind the colourful bird paintings is an innovative multi use building. The art and the clever viewing window in the O are appropriate branding for the project.


Destination fences

We glimpsed this wavy design at a distance. It is around another construction site for the Metro, and beside a lake. The pattern probably reflects nicely in the water but we didn’t investigate.


This last fence is not around a construction site but runs for hundreds of metres and encloses a dreary looking site for trade fairs. We saw it first from an elevated Metro train; reindeer walking into a forest.


Gradually the deer and trees turn black . . .


and eventually the tones are reversed. Delight conquers dreariness.



  • For you fence nerds, here are glimpses into a couple of construction sites to show how the fences are built.



  • A couple of years ago I wrote another blog about construction barriers I had seen elsewhere. You do what you can.
  • And just because: walking in the road on Spring Garden Road while the Doyle Block is demolished.


About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.