In the early 2000s, the municipality of Copenhagen launched a regeneration programme under the banner “Meat and Creativity”, which marked a former municipal establishment for meat processing as a place for the coexistence of creative businesses and meat producing companies. The programme aimed to revitalize the area by forging connections between these two sectors. Creative and gastronomy businesses were encouraged to set up business in the vacant buildings. Nowadays, the district has developed into a creative cluster where galleries, shops, nightlife and restaurants operate next to, and in cooperation with, the traditional food-producing industries. The area has become a hotspot for both local visitors and international tourists.
The Copenhagen Meatpacking District, officially called Kødbyen, is a district in the Vesterbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen. Between the 1870s and 1934, Kødbyen was erected as a municipal establishment for the local processing of meat. Kødbyen flourished and, over a couple of decades, grew into three large areas: The White Meatpacking District, The Grey Meatpacking District and The Brown Meatpacking District, which were named after the dominant colour of their buildings.
Nowadays, The White Meatpacking District and a great part of the Brown Meatpacking District are listed national monuments, protected by The Agency for Culture and Palaces under The Ministry of Culture. The remaining part of The Brown Meatpacking District and the Grey Meatpacking District have a ‘worthy of preservation’ status. [1;3;4]
In the 1990s, the municipality of Copenhagen opened a cultural centre and exhibition hall in the Brown Meatpacking District. The area soon started to attract creative industries. In the early 2000s, the municipality launched a regeneration programme under the banner “Meat and Creativity”, which marked the White Meatpacking District as a place for new creative activity. The programme aimed to revitalize the area by establishing connections between existing food-producing industries and creative businesses. Creating this interaction with existing businesses in the area was of great importance to the municipality to maintain and build on the area’s unique atmosphere. Through long term leases, creative and gastronomy businesses were encouraged to set up business in the vacant buildings. Nowadays, it has developed into a creative cluster where galleries, shops, nightlife and restaurants operate next to, and in cooperation with, the traditional food-producing industries. The area attracts both local visitors and international tourists. Together with the area’s tenants, the national planning authorities and conservation authorities, the municipality of Copenhagen implements improvements to the public infrastructure in the area. [1;2;3;4]
The City of Copenhagen owns all of the real estate in Kødbyen, and therefore has great control over the developments, and types of new businesses, in the area.  Together with an architect’s office, the municipality designed a plan to transform the area. Through the “Meat and Creativity” programme, the municipality has tried to attract private investments to the area. The programme centred around offering long-term leases to businesses operating in desired sectors (like design, hospitality and gastronomy) while ensuring the viability of the existing food processing industries in the area. [1;3]
The City of Copenhagen invests more than €10.000.000 each year in development and maintenance of the buildings. The municipality aims to generate a positive return on the investments in the area through the rent that is generated. [1;3]
Furthermore, private companies invest in the development of business, and production facilities, in the area. The total amount of public and private investment in the area is currently unknown.
This case is also featured in the HUB-IN Business and Financing Model Guide.
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Municipality of Copenhagen (2011), Strategy for the White Meatpacking District, available at kodbyen.kk.dk/sites/default/files/2021-07/Stategi%20for%20Den%20Hvide%20K%C3%B8dby%20-%202011.pdf, accessed on 06-01-2022.
The Meatpacking District, initiative website, kodbyen.kk.dk/en, accessed on 06-01-2022
Meatpacking District, Annual report 2016, available at kodbyen.kk.dk/sites/default/files/2021-07/aarsrapport_2016_koedbyen_klar_til_web_1.pdf, accessed on 06-01-2022
Strömberg, P(2018), Meat and Creativity: Adaptive reuse of Slaughterhouses and Meatpacking Districts, Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 30(2), pp 65-97.