The Waterway - Innovative adaptation solution for use of water in urban residential areas

Lars Nyholm Thrane

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The Waterway - Innovative adaptation solution for use of water in urban residential areas

Project start March 2014. Completed March 2017.


The waterway is a paving and drainage system for the city's sidewalks and squares that through new free solutions for drainage, evaporation, and transfer utilizes the potential of the water. The system is not space consuming since it uses an existing area; thus, it can be integrated in places where other blue and green elements would not otherwise be possible. The idea is an individually designed and industrially produced tile system that easily adapts to existing technical standards. In addition to better handling of everyday rain, the development of a new tile system provides a number of new features such as active air cleaning, better working environment and easier access to underlying piping, collection and transfer of water, wayfinding via LED lights and structures in the surface, and seating and movement possibilities. The basic module is a concrete slab with a permeable surface, internal water pathway, and underlying magazine. The water from the pavement and adjacent facades and roof surfaces can be collected only via the built-in channels.

Project objectives

  • Develop a list of solutions to prepare Copenhagen’s sidewalks for the increased amounts of water due to the climate changes
  • Develop solutions in synergy with roads, bicycle paths, urban squares, and city nature


  • ACO, DK
  • Copenhagen Municipality, DK
  • Danish Technological Institute, DK
  • Kollision, DK
  • Orbicon, DK
  • Wewers, DK