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The Danish Neighborhood Atlas: Fostering inclusive regional development

May 1, 2024

In 2023, the Department of the Built Environment at Aalborg University launched an interactive, freely accessible web tool called The Neighborhood Atlas. The platform web tool offers detailed insights into over 13,000 Danish neighborhoods and their development over a span of 30 years across a 30-year period, aiming to promote data-driven urban development and foster equity, and increased quality of life in urban planning decision-making processes.

Empowering Communities Through Data-Driven Insights

The Danish Neighborhood Atlas is motivated by an increasing regional divide observed not only in Denmark but also across much of Europe and North America. The rising economic inequality among regions results in heightened migration flows from disadvantaged communities. Typically, these migrants are highly educated young adults who relocate to major urban centers in pursuit of educational and employment opportunities.

These persistent patterns in who is moving and who is staying behind reinforce the regional differences. Often the underserved communities are left with difficulties ensuring local public services and economic security. The regional inequalities risk being exacerbated by unequal access to reliable data and disparities in the distribution of skills needed to effectively utilize such data for informing local decision-making processes. Hence, democratization of data and data-driven urban planning is needed to mitigate regional disparities and increase quality of life for all.


The Danish Neighborhood Atlas equips public authorities and decision-makers across regions with tools to compare different areas and identify where there are gaps in local economic opportunities. To promote the utilization of data-driven insights in all regions and across communities, BUILD has developed a publicly accessible website featuring key indicators of economic prosperity for any given area in Denmark.


The Danish Neighborhood Atlas applies Danish administrative data sources containing annual information on key economic indicators across a 30-year period. The time span of the data makes it possible to acquire empirical insights about how regional inequalities exacerbate during economic recessions, such as the financial crises in 2007.  In addition, the geographical granularity of the tool is unique. The tool provides insights into the demographic and economic development of more than 13,000 Danish neighborhoods, which makes it possible to identify local challenges and create tailored local solutions.


Interactive maps and infographics illustrate key insights and give an overview of the regional differences. The Danish Neighborhood Atlas illustrates a range of prosperity indicators, such as housing prices, residential mobility measures, education level, access to education, demography and family types,and work and income measures.


The website is targeted at local public authorities, interest organisations, and local grassroots organisations, who are engaged with placed-based policies. Data-driven insights are crucial to developing the right solutions promoting equitable economic development.  


Some of the highlights the initiative has resulted in include:

-An open-source approach to establish granular homogeneous residential areas in Denmark.

-A website on which the public can compare each area’s economic development across a 30-year period.

-The promotion of data-driven insights in regional planning.

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Department of Built Environment research, consult and teach within the complex issues of the urban, residential and construction area. Their mission is to build a better and more sustainable society.

The tool was developed by a project group from the Department of Built Environment at Aalborg University with support from and Splunk.

The neighborhoods were created in collaboration with Two Sigma Data Clinic. The interactive mapping tool was developed in cooperation with Septima.

Project Group

Elise Stenholt Lange, PhD, post.doc, Department of the Built Environment

Malene Rudolf Lindberg, Ph.D., post.doc, Department of the Built Environment

Sixten Maximillian Thestrup, Ph.D., statistical officer, Eurostat, European Commission (The work was conducted while Sixten was a post.doc at the Department of the Built Environment)