City of Copenhagen, Denmark
This study examines the development of the city of Copenhagen’s housing market in the late twentieth century and the subsequent boom and crisis after 2007. It covers the period from 1990 to the present, illustrating the urban, demographic, and economic development that has been closely related to changes in the housing market, including a decline in affordable housing. The city itself is the core of a larger metropolis; only a fourth of the regional population resides in the city proper. Thus, Copenhagen’s bounded geography severely limits its ability to react to changes in housing demand and other neighborhood-level needs.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the city’s economic and demographic redevelopment, along with a more entrepreneurial municipal urban strategy and changes in national housing regulation, led to considerable changes in home-ownership types and to rising house prices, resulting in a decrease of affordable housing opportunities. This case study outlines changes in the housing market in the intervening decades and the reduction of affordable housing between 1990 and today. It then describes a new affordable housing self-management concept, Social Housing Plus, which targets middle-income households and has proven relatively effective. Moreover, Social Housing Plus has led to other innovative housing concepts in the social-housing sector. Finally, the study considers preconditions for success.