Large-scale development projects have frequently been interpreted as products of neo-liberal policies. Many of them have been fiercely criticized because of their closed governance settings and their negative local spatial impacts. What space is left in them for a more progressive planning agenda? This article presents an empirical investigation of a major mixed-use large-scale development, the Ørestad project in Copenhagen. Although Ørestad is certainly representative of a timeframe in which Danish urban policies shifted strongly towards neo-liberal competition-oriented approaches, this project aimed to develop a progressive agenda as well. Our study analyses its success and failures and discusses the possibilities, inspired by North-American and Pacific-Asian examples, for stimulating a progressive agenda in these kinds of urban interventions.