A City for the 21st Century
HafenCity is setting leading-edge standards for the future through sustainable urban development. Intensive re-use of old docks and industrial areas is enlarging Hamburg City’s area by 40 percent
As a closely-knit district, HafenCity encourages people to travel sustainably (© ELBE&FLUT / Thomas Hampel) Start slideshow
In itself, the principle behind the development of HafenCity is an important criterion for sustainability, since it is not expanding Hamburg into agricultural land on its peripherybut instead, in some cases, regenerating disused inner-city areas of the port. In addition, the development many other primarily ecological, but also economic and social individual aspects. Sustainability is being initiated at a range of levels, for example for buildings, supply of energy and mobility. This will enable HafenCity in the medium and long term to make a significant contribution to fulfilling Hamburg’s climate goal of a 40 percent cut in CO2 emissions by 2020 compared with 1990. In fact, through innovative supply of power and heat, for example, it should be possible to cut pollution by 50 per cent.
EFFICIENT LAND USE
HafenCity is taking shape on 158 hectares of former port and industrial sites in a central location. In contaminated areas such as the site of the old gasworks (now southern Überseequartier), the soil was removed in an elaborate process, considerably enhancing the ecological value of this old industrial area and also significantly reducing the area of surface sealing of soil. Intensive use is also being made of the ground as a resource through high building density: floor space indexes (FSI) range from 3.7 to 5.6 according to neighborhood, which is in line with density in other European urban centers. In HafenCity, density of uses is correspondingly high, with 94 residents and 355 local employees per hectare (land surface). However, new standards are also being set in terms of distribution of space. Road areas take up only 25 percent of land area (compared with 40 percent, including road surrounds, in Hamburg City), while 37 percent is available for publicly accessible open spaces, including the 3.1km riverfront on the River Elbe. Thus HafenCity creates a high density of uses with a high proportion of public spaces and low proportion of necessary access roads.
HafenCity is also characterized by a fine-grained horizontal and vertical mix of a variety of urban uses. Everything – homes, workplaces, cultural and leisure facilities, commerce – is close by, making for short distances. The close-knit network of non-motorized routes also makes use of private space. The loose-knit building structure and proximity to large expanses of water have climate-friendly effects. In summer, the resulting reduction in the so-called heat island effect in the city cuts demand for air-conditioning, enhancing comfort at home and at work.
The waterside location and thus closeness to the existing port activities on the southern bank of the Elbe, as well as traffic noise in eastern HafenCity, make especially high demands on buildings and infrastructure. Arrangement of buildings, orientation of reception rooms and special window-reveal liners all aid noise reduction. Hamburg port planning regulations also cap emissions from port installations still operating south of the river at their current level.
Another important aspect of sustainability is fulfillment of long-term flood protection requirements. This is achieved by constructing buildings on compacted plinths (warfts) 8 to 9m above sea level. The basements inside them provide flood-secure underground parking for cars. Above-ground parking slots in buildings are not allowed. This means that stationary traffic consumes little public space (also see p. 60). At the end of 2012 HafenCity was integrated into the city’s centrally controlled parking guidance system to cut both traffic searching for parking spaces and illegal parking. A parking space management system is gradually to be introduced throughout.