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Often described as one of the world’s best cities to live, Copenhagen is growing steadily. That growth comes with challenges to keep it a desirable place to live.

In these false-color Landsat images, the urban areas of Copenhagen are shades of purple. Vegetation appears green, and farmland appears bright green when crops are growing and pink when the fields are fallow.

The Øresund Strait separates Copenhagen from Malmö, Sweden. The strait and other water bodies appear black.

In the time that these images span, the population of Copenhagen has grown from 478,615 in 1985 to 580,184 in 2015. But the population of greater Copenhagen in 2014 was 1,246,611, up from 1,084,885 in 2006.


Every picture has a story to tell
June 1, 1985, Landsat 5 (path/row 194/21) — Copenhagen, Denmark
July 12, 1994, Landsat 5 (path/row 194/21) — Copenhagen, Denmark
June 21, 1998, Landsat 5 (path/row 194/21) — Copenhagen, Denmark
July 7, 2001, Landsat 7 (path/row 194/21) — Copenhagen, Denmark
June 17, 2014, Landsat 8 (path/row 194/21) — Copenhagen, Denmark


Additional story information


Knowles, Richard D., 2012, Transit Oriented Development in Copenhagen, Denmark: from the Finger Plan to Ørestad: Journal of Transport Geography, v. 22, p. 251–261.

Maternoski, John M., 2013, Urban Growth in Copenhagen—Addressing Challenges through Regional Urban Design: University of Oregon, available online at (Accessed December 22, 2014.)

NASA, 2006, Oresund Bridge: NASA Earth Observatory, available at (Accessed December 22, 2014.)

Nordhavn, [n.d.], Why Have Urban Development in Nordhavn: Nordhavn Web page at (Accessed January 8, 2015.)

Øresundsbron, [n.d.], Welcome to the Øresund Bridge: Øresundsbron Web page at (Accessed December 22, 2014.)

Saundry, P., 2013, Danish Straits: The Encyclopedia of Earth, available at (Accessed January 8, 2015.)

Selbert, Roger, 2008, Sprawl Is Ubiquitous, Even in My Beloved Copenhagen: New Geography Web page at (Accessed December 22, 2014.)

Statistics Denmark, 2015, Statistics Denmark Web site at (Accessed February 23, 2015.)

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