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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 026 - Using Resources Efficiently

026 - Hamburg Hafen City, Germany

HafenCity is one of Europe’s largest urban redevelopment projects. At 157 hectares it will extend Hamburg’s inner city area by 40% and is pivotal in realizing the city’s aspiration to meet future growth requirements within its urban area.

With HafenCity, the city of Hamburg, winner of the European Green Capital 2011 Award, seeks to deliver the highest standards of sustainable development through efficient use of available resources. When finished, HafenCity will accommodate over 10,000 residents and 45,000 jobs in a finegrained mix of land uses.

The district is build out out to high densities with a floor space index varying from 3.4 to 5.2 across the ten neighbourhoods. Parking above ground is strictly limited, with the vast majority of car parking located within the buildings. Plazas, parks and promenades are developed to total an area of 27 hectares. Together with the close proximity of the waterfront this gives the district a sense of openness and spaciousness which makes the high densities acceptable.

Located on an island in the Norderelbe River, integration of HafenCity’s transport networks was a top priority. The two stops of the new U4 subway line ensure excellent connections to local public transport services. Due to its central location, cyclists and pedestrians can access the city centre in minutes. Within the new district a dense network of cycle and pedestrian paths total a length 2.5 times that of the road network. Some 70% of this runs along promenades, the waterfront and through parks and plaza’s to provide high quality and car-free routes throughout the district.

Decentralised energy supply networks using a variety of renewable energy sources will significantly reduce CO2 emissions across the district. An Ecolabel award system is designed to motivate public and private developers to meet high sustainability standards in the design of individual
buildings. The award considers five categories including energy consumption, use of public resources (such as water, but also public spaces), construction materials, health and well-being (sound, ventilation, temperature control) and accessibility.

Other Information

  • Partners: HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, Hamburg Ministry for Urban Development and Environment; Materplanner: KCAP with ASTOC
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Integrated Designg the Seed

Many destinations in HafenCity are so close together that they are reached most quickly by walking or cycling

Images (image bank)