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Wind of Change in Brabrand: District Transformation through Redevelopment and Social Innovation

Reaching climate neutrality in Aarhus will require an ambitious transformation of the urban system, one district at a time. The city has six of them: Aarhus A, Aarhus C, Aarhus N, Viby J, Højbjerg and Brabrand. The latter, located 6km west of the city centre, has set forth a vision to become energy-positive, meaning that in addition to net zero carbon emissions, Brabrand is also striving to achieve an annual surplus of renewable energy, which can be shared with other areas.


Brabrand’s diverse character manifests itself in the

  • Population: The district has around 20,000 inhabitants, including people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (immigrants, refugees, ethnic minorities)

  • Building stock: The mix includes city offices, library, fire station, apartment blocks, private houses, schools, kindergartens, churches, mosques

  • Business community comprising shops, SMEs and large companies


BIPED activities will cover the Gellerup neighbourhood in the district’s east. Built in the 1960s, Gellerup consists primarily of public and social housing estates in the form of multi-story apartment blocks (Gellerupparken) that comprise nearly 74% of all homes in the area.


Decommissioned building in Gellerupparken

Decommissioned building in Gellerupparken

Brabrand’s development has been high on the city’s political agenda for over 25 years. This political attention has led to a major urban restructuring driven by a desire to create a vibrant multi-functional area. As a result, some buildings were redesigned and repurposed, some demolished, and some built from scratch to provide new facilities to live, work, and rest. For example, the entire technical and environmental department of the City of Aarhus has moved to a new office building in the middle of the district. In addition, there are plans to build a new light rail station that would connect Brabrand with other districts of the Aarhus metropolitan area.


All these changes are part of the energy transition that aims to be green, digital and just. Aarhus currently emits 1.3 million tonnes of CO2e annually. Reaching city-wide decarbonisation will require a lot of innovation and cooperation across sectors and governance levels. One example of this is Sol over Brabrand. The local association wants to establish an energy community where families, companies and public institutions will trade green electricity produced from rooftop solar power.


“We want to participate in the green transition. We want to produce electricity when and where it is needed,” said the association's co-founder Carsten Drasbæk. He expressed interest in working with BIPED on decarbonising Brabrand and making the district energy-positive. Watch the video to learn more about this inspiring grassroot initiative.

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BIPED is funded under the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme. Grant ID: 101139060

BIPED is funded under the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme. Grant ID: 101139060

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