Has Hamburg Mastered the Formula for Creating Urban Life?

In Germany's second largest city, a $14 billion experiment will prove whether planners and designers understand what it takes to breathe life into large scale urban redevelopments.
December 17, 2013, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With 25 million square feet of gross floor area spread over 100 new buildings, nine miles of new promenades, 70 acres of parks and plazas, three subway stations, a university and symphony hall, Hamburg and its private partners are placing a $14 billion bet that they can turn the largest inner city redevelopment underway in Europe into "a living, organic place".

"HafenCity is one of the most ambitious urban redevelopment projects now being built across the world," observes Nate Berg. "Its peers are the largest megaprojects in cities like Seoul, where $28 billion is going toward a Daniel Libeskind-designed waterfront business district, or New York, with its $12 billion Hudson Yards development. The goal is to create an entirely new section of Hamburg’s downtown over the course of 25 years, converting city-owned former warehouse land serving the river port into a neighborhood." 

"To create a community from nothing, its developers are employing a complex approach to social engineering that, if it works, could provide a model for other urbanizing areas. If it doesn’t, well, the state of Hamburg could end up losing billions of dollars."

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Published on Monday, December 16, 2013 in Next City
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