ADEPT + KARRES EN BRANDS - The Connected City, The Largest New Urban Development In Hamburg
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The Connected City, The Largest New Urban Development In Hamburg


Urban Planning  /  Future
The Connected City

Oberbillwerder is one of the largest new urban development in Hamburg in decades, second only to HafenCity. With its proximity to a diverse natural area and culturally significant landscape, it will be an urban area brimming with water and ecological resources.

Throughout history, the landscape DNA of the area transformed from a panoramic marshland between the surrounding rivers into a picturesque drained and cultivated landscape divided into a pixel-like structure created by narrow canals. Over the last century, catalyzed by the railroad, the surrounding areas changed from pure nature and small villages into a string of new suburban developments rapidly expanding the Hamburg metropolitan area into the situation we see today. This sub-urbanity developed principally in the 1960’s and continued throughout the 80’s and 90’s, leaving the urban tissue as smaller separated urban islands, with each their specific urban concept, housing typologies, water strategies, sports facilities and spatial identity.

The Connected City aims to be a source of inspiration that expands further than Hamburg and sets the agenda for similar sites across the world. A city rooted in the history and cultural heritage of the landscape. An urban area that avoids transforming into another time capsule isolated island, but one that is focused on bringing cities together, connecting and stimulating. In doing so, it will put forward Hamburg’s second largest district (after HafenCity) as a model of inclusive, affordable, resilient and visionary planning.

Landscape based city
The Connected City is fully embedded in the local landscape. It connects to the surrounding landscape through an active green blue network, that continues to grow from it while drawing its unique characteristics from the landscape itself. It follows the inherit linear landscape structure and brings a contrasting historical meandering to enrich it. It places and defines its neighborhoods based on landscape conditions: from low lying water (blue) areas to higher green neighborhoods and puts water at the heart of the city. The Connected City is not only physically connected to its surrounding landscape, it’s an extension of it in every way.

Framework for Interaction
The Connected City stands for integrative development. The existing surrounding urban areas spread into the area, fusing to create more neighborhoods within Oberbillwerder. A simple and clear framework forms the basis of the plan. It is defined by preserving existing qualities of the landscape, such as its linear structure, the abundance of water, as well as the contrasting meandering of the dike. The water system becomes one of the central qualities of the development. A living working landscape machine, buffering and cleaning the water, while providing high living quality for all. Within this base, reservations for infrastructure and green are defined, making landscape and public space the central framework of the development.

Active City: Public space DNA
The Connected City is the healthy city of the future that places public spaces at its forefront. The Green Loop is the main feature of the public space network. It connects the neighborhoods with all major social infrastructure through a green artery that merges water, sports, play and city. The Green Loop will be a new form of urban landscape infrastructure prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Next to The Green Loop, a network of Neighborhood Squares offers intimate, small scale places for community life while bringing together new forms of mobility, local services and culture.

Mosaic of neighborhoods
By means of this flexible framework, a mosaic of neighborhoods and qualities are formed. They draw their identities from the surrounding landscape to create a robust landscape living experience. Water retention and climate proofing is fundamentally embedded in each neighborhood and gives each its own identity. It creates different characters and opportunities locally. The streets therefore handle water in various ways; for example, in the low-lying blue area there are wider canals while in the green area large green bioswales and narrow blue streams dominate the structure. These distinctive landscape conditions stimulate unique identities in each neighborhood. They are all starting points for developing individual housing typologies and possible collective facilities.

Reinventing urban mobility
In The Connected City mobility is greater than Infrastructure. It is an ecosystem. It combines its own unique mobility concept with flexible infrastructure and innovative technologies. The Connected City anticipates the electrical and driverless revolution and puts forward a city that is ready to take back the streets. It blends a unique system of mobility hubs stimulating transfer between car, public transport, or bicycle. They are integrated in neighborhood centers as active elements of the city life, where small businesses, ateliers etc. are mixed with parking. These buildings will be the batteries of the neighborhoods; producing and storing energy and, as car demand will decrease, they can evolve into new structures combining cultural programs, work, living, and parking for new modes of transport.

Europe’s most sustainable neighborhood
The Connected City is the performative city of the future. It is the largest European development to be pre-certified with the DGNB Platinum certification. Each flow in the city is complemented by the other. Streets and planting are oriented to ensure ideal climatic comfort, blocks are optimized to maximize solar orientation and PV efficiency, water and green become part of the DNA of the city while the mobility will generate and save energy instead of consuming. The city draws its unique ecosystem from the exchanges of flows. On top of that, The Connected City will showcase a state of the art sustainability and innovation in pilot projects and become areas for experimentation.


 Hamburg Stadt, IBA Hamburg
 1000000 mq
 Adept, Karres en Brands
 Martin Laursen, Martin Krogh, Anders Lonka, Tatyana Eneva, Jens Peter Nielsen, Tanja Jeurnig, Nanna Müller Schneider, Simon Lyager Poulsen, Michala Lietavova, Krasimir Krumov, Sylvester Ellekær Michaelsen, Rikuro Sakaushi, Christina Suarez Conciauro, Anika Haget Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Paola Salviano de Souza, Ken Spangberg, Inga Zielonka, Pilar Balat, Davor Dusanic, Justyna Chmielewska, Volker Lescow
 ADEPT, Karres en brands, Doug & Wolf (aerial)


ADEPT is a Copenhagen architecture community. We believe in Place over Building because we see the city as an organism born from the synergies between people and places. We work in all scales - from urban planning to buildings and public space. Across scales, we integrate the latest research in sustainability and customize unique solutions to each project. The most important resource in our cities are the people that inhabit them. Our designs grow from a careful reading of this resource and of the local conditions to create places that contribute to the context they are part of.
Karres en Brands is a multidisciplinary Dutch design office that works on a great deal of assignments in the realm of public space, landscape, urban planning and infrastructure at home and abroad. Karres en Brands combines visionary plans with a down-to-earth understanding of current dynamics and careful attention to detail. Recently the office has been awarded the prestigious World Architecture Festival Award

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