Why the Prince of Denmark Dropped By


For the past two weeks, the wonderful team at the Urban Future Lab has been busy, helping to transform the big room into an elegant showcase for clean technologies, just in time for Climate Week. And on Monday, the Crown Prince of Denmark dropped by to cut the ribbon.

He didn’t just drop by—he hung out too, checking in on the Lab’s Danish startups, chatting with hot shots in the city’s cleantech and urban fields, and touring the office (and our awesome view of Brooklyn and Manhattan) with Frank Jensen, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.


Bjarke Ingles shows Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, RE, SKmd, a proposal for a more resilient Manhattan waterfront 

The Prince and the Mayor also got a taste of the BIG U, a proposed redevelopment for the southern tip and sides of Manhattan intended to protect the island from rising tides. “You know the High Line?” architect Bjarke Ingles asked the Prince. Uh huh, his highness replied. “This is the ‘Dry Line.’” Everyone snickered. 

The Prince’s visit to the showcase, on the eve of the UN’s climate meeting here in New York, wasn’t totally out of the blue: Denmark and its capital city have become global leaders in sustainable, resilient solutions for energy and for cities. The showcase, called House of Green, and organized by the Danish Cleantech Hub, is meant to underscore the country’s contributions and bring it to market in New York and around the country.

“As mayors, we must create livability for our citizens,” Jensen said during the ribbon cutting for House of Green. He cited the C40 network of cities, hailed the 400,000-strong People’s Climate March on Sunday, and noted that Copenhagen is on track to become a carbon neutral city.

The same day, our own mayor Bill De Blasio announced a comprehensive plan to reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels. That would make our hometown the largest city in the world to make that kind of commitment.

Getting to more sustainable, resilient cities isn’t always easy. But the Prince’s visit to the Urban Future Lab was a reminder that that effort is much easier when the private and public sectors can find ways to collaborate and act together. 

As Shakespeare’s Danish prince put it: “The readiness is all.”