Mother Nature Network's Chris Turner took a tour with Hamburg city planning director Jörn Walter and found how "even in its infancy, HafenCity's vibe is excellent."
"Here's an even more radical embrace of the nautical: a broad floating plaza on pontoons, serving as a main square for this phase of the development. The fact of water - both embracing it and keeping it at bay - was a central design challenge for the project, and HafenCity has been deliberately built as "a three-level public space" (as Walter put it)."
Turner also described how planners figured in the human element before completely developing the commercial and residential space:
"The school is already up and running; the first supermarket will open this fall; and the first of two planned subway stations linking HafenCity to the rest of Hamburg will open in 2012."
Overall, the project is an ambitious one:
"HafenCity's numbers are pretty astounding: almost 400 acres of old industrial harbor, a 25-year project lifespan, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion eventually invested to house 13,000 people and provide office space for 45,000 more."