Sep 27, 201309:00 AMPoint of View

The METROPOLIS Blog

Future Hamburg Now: Part 1

Future Hamburg Now: Part 1

European Green Capital.

Courtesy Roberto Kai Hegeler, Hamburg Marketing GmbH

(page 1 of 2)

Hamburg, Germany is one of those cities that seems hidden in plain sight. When you are there you can’t imagine that you have never been. There is something uncannily familiar about its low-rise brick buildings, its canals, the port, and the modest church towers that mark the skyline. In fact, these spires are the perfect metaphor for a city where development is not about flashy verticality or the logic of property value, but about a social contract with citizens.

Hamburg Container Terminal

Courtesy Christian Spahrbier, Hamburg Marketing GmbH

To the outside world it is perhaps best known as the place where The Beatles got their start. In its present tense, however, it is a city at the forefront of progressive energy and development strategies, worth paying attention to, worth visiting if you are looking for case studies for smart development models.

As a journalist I went over looking for the chinks in the armor, the exceptions to this ideal vision for city building. And though there is certainly room for debate and questioning, the overall impression I came away with was of a city willing to take risks, not reckless risks but adventurous risks, just risky enough to push the envelope of the known a little further.

Courtesy Guy Horton

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