Location: Århus, Denmark
City population: 308,508
Project duration: 2015 - 2019
Project cost: Above 4 000 000 EUR
Financing source(s): Public local authority's budget, Corporate investment

SPARK project

SPARK-projektet (Aarhus får ny moderne bypark)

The areas around MarselisborgCenter in Aarhus get a new and better life. The project will contribute to the world's first city park that handles excess rainwater and invites citizens to health-promoting living. . The area around MarselisborgCenter will be converted into a public city park for both MarselisborgCenter's users (people in rehabilitation) and the citizens of Aarhus in general. At the same time, the area will make the city more robust to future heavy rain fall. (Ref. 1)

Urban setting

  • Parks and (semi)natural urban green areas
    • Large urban park or forest

Key challenges

  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Water management (SDG 6)

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Disadvantaged groups
Project objectives
The city park, which goes under the project name SPARK (Sunde Park Aktiviteter, Rehabilitering og Klima/Healthy Park Activities, Rehabilitation and Climate), aims to create open green areas (with the purpose to be used for rehabilitation, climate adaptation with regards to heavy rainfall, biodiversity, recreational values, social sustainability, and promote a healthy lifestyle). (Ref. 1, 2, 3) In addition to the users of MarselisborgCenter, there are 15,000 people within five minutes walk, and there are also several institutions and associations in the area, the park will aim to be these things for all of these stakeholders (Ref. 3, 2)
Implementation activities
The plan is to create the world's first city park which manages both rainwater and promotes a healthy life. (Ref. 3)

Type of initiating organisation

  • Business association

Management set-up

Co-governance or hybrid governance (mix of responsibilities between government and non-government actors)

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning
  • Taskforce groups
Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project
The project partners are: MarselisborgCentret, Region Midtjylland, Aarhus City, Aarhus Vand (Water), Realdania (Business association). A steering group has been established across three magistrate offices in Aarhus city (the magistracy for Health and Care, MSO, the magistracy for Technology and environment, MTM, and the mayor's department). Region Midjylland, Aarhus Water and Realdania have contributed to the development of the project. (Ref. 2)
Project implemented in response to ...
... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes
Many elements of the regional and city policies/strategies will be met by the SPARK project. The regional perspective; Region Midtjyllands Vækst- og udviklingsstrategi 2015-2025 (growth and development strategy) and Lokal Agenda 21 – Strategi og handlingsplan 2012-2015 (Local Agenda 21, strategy and action plan). (Ref. 2) The Aarhus kommune perspective, the following policies/strategies/plans will be met through the realization of SPARK: Parkprogram for Aarhus - Tæt på mennesker 2010-2019 (the park programme), Aarhus Kommunes Klimatilpasningsplan (the climate adaptation plan), Aarhus Kommune, Naturkvalitetsplanen 2013-2030 (nature quality plan) and goals in the Municipal plan. (Ref. 2)
Expected impacts
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Water management (SDG 6)
Details on impacts and indicators used The outdoor space will be available 24/7, 365 days per annum (i.e. availability around the area). The area will be visited/used more (i.e. number of visitors/people using the area), Used by several individuals (days, evenings, weekends). Strengthen health promotion/disease prevention efforts. The buildings: support rehabilitation efforts and handle rainwater from smaller areas. The park: handle rainwater from larger areas and invite rehabilitation in this public space. (This regards all 25 urban spaces). The urban areas: be dimensioned to manage up to a 5-year event of normal rainfall, as well as manage a 100 year event of cloudburst. (Ref. 2)

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting


Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

  • Aerial Image of the SPARK Project Location
    Aerial Image of the SPARK Project Location
    Photographer: Kristine Jensens Tegnestue (2016), retrieved 08/09/2018 from Ole Mygind
  • Detailed image of the SPARK Project
    Detailed image of the SPARK Project
    Photographer: Ole Klintebæk (2014), retrieved 08/09/2018 from Ole Mygind


Disclaimer: The data collection was carried out between June and August 2017, the information presented has not been updated afterwards.