The Foundation of HafenCity: the Masterplan

HafenCity is a city in the making: the almost completed west already has an urban feel; the center is moving towards completion, while in the east construction has begun

The picture shows the 10 quarters of the HafenCity

HafenCity will enlarge Hamburg's city center by 40 percent. A whole new city district is emerging south of the historic Speicherstadt, with an urban mix of homes, workplace, culture, leisure, tourism and trade (© M. Korol / HafenCity Hamburg GmbH) Start slideshow

HafenCity is one of the most remarkable urban redevelopment schemes in a water situation worldwide. Its trend-setting concept will see the area of Hamburg City Center enlarged by 40 percent, with the development sparking impulses not only for the existing city center, but also for the municipality with its 1.8 million inhabitants, as well as the surrounding metropolitan region, with an overall population of around five million. Hamburg’s identity as a maritime city is being further reinforced, while HafenCity is a blueprint for the development of the European city of the 21st century. HafenCity is already regarded as a showcase for major international urban development projects, even though its development timeframe extends to 2025.

New core inner city created

Development of HafenCity is essentially based on a Masterplan approved by the Hamburg Senate on February 29, 2000, which was developed further for the eastern section of HafenCity after wide-ranging public discussions in 2010. For the previous ten years the Masterplan, with its concept for an urban horizontal and vertical mix of uses and its flexible basic framework, served as a good point of departure for development of old port sites south of the city center. However it initially lacked an adequately detailed planning basis for the three eastern neighborhoods, Oberhafen, Baakenhafen and Elbbrücken.

The underlying circumstances have also changed during the past decade. Initially, eastern HafenCity was regarded almost as suburban, yet now – partly due to new subway connections – it is seen as very much part of the new city core. Redefinition of the Masterplan was led by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH in conjunction with the Hamburg Urban Development and Environment Ministry as well as the principal authors of the original Masterplan, Kees Christiaanse, with ASTOC. At the same time there was intensive public discussion, with a program of more than 40 events. Since then the reworked draft has been honed increasingly in further phases (urban design competitions, open space competitions, zoning plans and architectural competitions).