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Air pollution


Climate change adaptation



7. June 2022

Solution provider


ADEPT focus on urban development and building architecture with an aim to push users, clients, profession and the world around us towards a deeper responsibility for the limited global resources. We design holistic and sustainable places, spaces and communities within a wide range of architectural scales - from urban planning and strategic development to building architecture, landscapes and public space.

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Ambitious urban development designed from an integrated climate adaption strategy and the future of mobility

In the future, Oberbillwerder will not only be the second largest district of Hamburg, its 105th, it is also envisioned as its most sustainable. One of the main challenges was, from the very beginning, the danger of the area becoming an isolated urban island, cut off from its surroundings by heavy infrastructure and urban sprawl. Our plan for Oberbillwerder has been nick-named ‘the connected city’ for its ability to meet that challenge and turn the obstacles into potential, connecting not only urban fabric but also green loops, social as well as technical infrastructure, water management, circular principles in one holistic planning concept.


The 105th Hamburg district, Oberbillwerder,  is well on its way to become one of Europe’s most ambitious urban developments. The district, just 15 minutes outside Hamburg, is pre-certified for DGNB Platinum. Oberbillwerder is the largest overall development in Germany since Hafencity and covers a total area of 360 hectares. Fully developed, the district will house around 1 million m2 with more than 7,000 homes, 4,000 jobs, new schools, day-care centres, sports facilities, etc. Among the key focal areas of the development are future mobility, green infrastructure and energy supply. Other key elements are water management and integrated climate adaptation.

A well founded strategy for integrated landscape qualities provides the potential to integrate water management and climate adaptation more visibly in the public spaces, which provides tangible value in the everyday life of the area. It provides alternative possibilities for being in the city, for re-creational activities that hard surfaces simply do not offer. And as a bonus, nature and landscape in almost all its forms are subtle creators of identity, simply because of the many opportunities offered by plantation – to vary composition, volume, density and moods.


The vision for Oberbillwerder is to make it a parking free city, a pilot project for future mobility with mobility hubs acting as both hubs for parking and shared public activity. To plan for a parking free city is not the same as planning for a completely car free city. It is all a matter of envisioning the infrastructure as a different kind of system, an altogether different kind of mobility. Local streets will be almost without car traffic as the Mobility Hubs ‘collect’ the cars before entering the local streets, instead making these streets effectively shared spaces including surface water retention.

One of the main aspects in treating the process as an active factor is working with time instead of rushing things through. Among the urban layers that will just get better when given time is the integration of nature and green public spaces and activities into the urban tissue – with the green loop that binds all neighborhoods together and make qualitative green public spaces accessible to all future neighborhoods.


Location: Hamburg, Germany
Client: IBA Hamburg GmbH
Program: Mixed use urban development + landscape
Size: 124 ha
Status: Planning 2018 – 2025
Collaborators: Karres en Brands, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Ingenieurburo Kraft

Images: ADEPT + Karres en Brands