The world’s science cities understand the importance of intensively networking scientific institutions with one another, with their environment, and with the surrounding areas, businesses and communities. Science cities are founded upon and developed with the understanding that the exchange between science and the world outside of research and academia is becoming increasingly important and increasingly productive in many ways ― in cooperation with companies, in the embedding of scientific institutions in the local education landscape, and in projects with civil society initiatives that promote the dialogue between civic and expert knowledge.
Hamburg’s Bahrenfeld is already a player on the global science stage thanks to housing a number of leading science institutes, including the research and technology centre DESY and parts of the University of Hamburg, making the district an ideal choice to hold high the torch of science and innovation in Hamburg as Science City Bahrenfeld.
Founded on a former airfield, the existing research campus in Bahrenfeld developed in close proximity to the surrounding neighborhoods and the Altona Volkspark. Its integration within the city, proximity to educational institutions, shopping and development opportunities, as well as its generous open and green spaces, offer a promising start for a planned knowledge-based urban development. And with anticipated DESY expansions and the resettlement of many of the University of Hamburg’s science departments, there is even more incentive to develop the surrounding Bahrenfeld neighbourhood into an area dedicated to nurturing scientific research and innovation.
This translates to a wealth of projects being planned in support of the development of Science City Bahrenfeld. These include the new Altona Research and Innovation Park for research-oriented companies and startups, approximately 2,500 new apartments, and new public transportation stations, all of which will feature modern, groundbreaking designs. After all, science cities set a high bar for contemporary urban architecture that explores new building methods and materials.
With nature at the doorstep
Just as important as urban planning and sustainable architecture to the profile of science cities are attractively designed and easily accessible open spaces. These will be present throughout Science City Bahrenfeld, and Volkspark Altona will be the crowning jewel. Science City Bahrenfeld will be a green oasis of knowledge like nothing else in Hamburg, thanks largely to the Volkspark Altona, which will contribute to quality of life in the district in unique and special ways, offering plentiful opportunities for leisure, sport, and free-time activities.
Integration instead of displacement
This multitude of development, combined with the close spatial connections of these projects, creates an opportunity for coordinated campus and neighborhood development. Such a large undertaking means, of course, that change will come to Bahrenfeld. Careful attention must be paid to the available space, and the current residents and business owners in the district kept in mind. The future success of Science City Bahrenfeld hinges on an ongoing and close dialogue with those who already live and work in the district. After all, these are chief among the Hamburg residents who stand to benefit directly from the changes coming to Bahrenfeld. Existing resources in the area will be integrated into the new, larger picture. The projects, institutions, schools, parks and green spaces that already contribute to the district's identity will play an important role in the development of Science City Bahrenfeld, while further impetus will be put into the creation of a modern and integrated urban environment.
To fully realise this vision, Bahrenfeld will need to be even more physically integrated into the surrounding areas and the rest of Hamburg. Currently there are no truly attractive routes between the existing research campus and the rest of the city. Improved foot, bike and public transport options are being developed to aid in ensuring seamless connections to, from and within Science City Bahrenfeld. These new connections will ensure that Bahrenfeld is best able to show off the assets that make it the perfect location for a sustainable science hub in Hamburg. Science City Bahrenfeld will be the linchpin of a new culture of knowledge, strategically linking scientific laboratories, learning centres, incubators, residential districts, and schools with neighborhood offerings and attractive leisure facilities, with the monumental Altona Volkspark at its centre.
Cities of the future
Researching, learning, working, living ― science today is open, networked and diverse. New solutions and innovations emerge through cross-border exchange between science, industry and civil society. This process is reflected in the science cities of tomorrow ― international places with strong focus on interaction and cooperation. With its image of the future in 2040, the plans for Science City Bahrenfeld are the beginning of a process that will develop over the coming years and decades, making it clear that Hamburg is ready to join the ranks of other such international science cities.