"The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 746 million in 1950 to
3.9 billion in 2014." 2014 UN report on the world population situation
More than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas. By the year 2050, this will rise to more than two thirds of humanity, as forecast in a 2014 report by the UN on the world population. This megatrend for urbanization poses major challenges for cities themselves, not least due to rising demand for housing, the need for sustainable energy, well-designed infrastructure and the necessity for attractive green spaces for recreation. This requires taking a long-term view of urban development that focuses on the needs of citizens and improving their quality of life.
"A liveable city must feature a strong mix of uses. It needs to be lived in. People must work there. And there should be cultural activities and educational institutions – basically everything we need these days for a good life." Prof. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, professor for the History of Urban Design at ETH Zurich, being interviewed by journalist Michael Kerbler. The interview is part of a 2014 series of talks on the future of the city and the city of the future at the Wiener Planungswerkstatt (Vienna's information centre for architecture and urbanism).
In order to oversee the continuous growth of urban living spaces, many major European cities such as Vienna, Zurich, Cologne, Berlin or Hamburg are basing their future urban planning strategies on a master plan devised specifically for their city. Among other aspects, this plan specifies the structure of new urban quarters and contains blueprints for future developments, infrastructure and the size of public parks while also defining the functionality and quality of spaces there. Quite often in urban areas a mix of uses is sought that encompasses living, working, retail, culture, leisure and tourism. This idea is also a feature of the HafenCity docklands district currently emerging in Hamburg.
HafenCity Hamburg: a model for sustainable urban development in Europe
Hamburg's new waterfront district known as HafenCity is currently Europe's biggest inner-city development project and is setting new standards in terms of meeting the town planning challenges of the future. Taking shape on 157 hectares of former port and industrial sites along the River Elbe, the master plan envisages an ensemble of ten attractive quarters each with its own identity.
Photo 1: The Marco Polo terraces tilt in different levels to the water.
Photo 2: A dense net of foot- and bicycle paths provide a sustainable traffic.
Photo 3: Magdeburg Harbour, Elbtorquartier
Photo 4: Place St. Annen, Brooktorkai
As well as high architectural quality, urban design and sustainability, the underlying planning principles for each quarter combine residential use, office space, shopping and leisure facilities. Smooth transitions between the different quarters and well-thought-out open spaces, including a number of parks, promenades and public spaces, will ensure both a high quality of life and a sense of well-being. (Photos: HafenCity Hamburg GmbH)