Hamburg, Germany was awarded the European Greenest Capital for 2011 making use of innovative approaches for environmentally sustainable development of urban spaces.
The city has already reached a 25% reduction of CO2 emissions, aiming at a 40% reduction by the year 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. The public transportation system is world class offering public transportation within 300 meters to 99% of its residents.
Germany’s second largest city after Berlin has 1.8 million inhabitants. Situated in the heart of the Hamburg, the Port of Hamburg is Europe’s second largest after Rotterdam.
With a growing number of containers going in and out of the port of Hamburg, expansion has always been an issue. However, geographical expansion into the surrounding area is intentionally not pursued. Instead, increasing capacity needs are met by making more efficient use of existing land and generating new areas by filling in expendable harbour basins in order to achive efficient land use.
Van carriers with hybrid drive, power feeds at gantry cranes and light management in logistic halls are accordingly managed by means of climate protection initiatives.
With the changes in maritime traffic towards container ships with higher tonnage, the current port zones to the east have become redundant. Therefore, they have been designated as development land for housing and commercial purposes. For instance, 155 hectares of the eastern port zone situated on the northern banks of the River Elbe have since 1997 been allocated for re-development as a residential and office area named“HafenCity” (PortCity).
Since 2007, HafenCity even has its very own environmental label called“HafenCity Umweltzeichen-Nachhaltigkeit am Bau.” It is the first of its kind in Germany. It assesses the ecological, economic and social sustainability of buildings. This eco label from Germany is similar to the LEED.
HafenCity in Hamburg, is a very extensive development of a sustainable district near the Elbe River. However, HafenCity will not be totally developed for another 10 to 15 years. This new district is expected to increase the size of Hamburg’s city center by 40%. In accordance with large investments for residential and commercial buildings, a plenty of quality designed public spaces have been designed and being constructed throughout the city.
Elbphilharmonie is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) concert hall project in the HafenCity that was designed by Herzog& de Meuron on top of an old warehouse as the highest building of Hamburg. Notable constructions by these architects are the Tate Modern in London, the Allianz Arena in Munich and the De Yong Museum in San Francisco. The national stadium in Peking for the 2008 Olympic Games was also designed by Herzog& de Meuron. In 2001 Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious prize in architecture.
Every Sunday you can visit the construction site with a tour guide and check out the 82-meter-long moving stairways and the concert halls.
Winning the title of the European Green Capital will also bring advantageous side effects to the city such as increase in tourism, more investment and an influx of young professionals.
According to the EU web site, the European Green Capital award scheme is open to EU member states, candidate countries. All cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants can apply for the award.
The candidate cities are asked to outline, present environmental status and results achieved, measures implemented to improve the urban environment, future commitments and initiatives, programme of activities and events to disseminate experience and best practice on environmental matters. Environmental indicator areas include local contribution to global climate change, local transport, green urban areas, sustainable land use, nature and biodiversity, quality of local ambient air, noise pollution, waste production and management, water consumption, waste water treatment and environmental management of the municipality
The assessment of the applications also takes into account the impact of identified historical and geographical factors which may have influenced the environmental status and policies of individual cities.
The main message is that Europeans have a right to live in healthy urban areas, and towns and cities should therefore strive to improve the quality of life of their citizens and reduce their impact on the global environment.
The winners of 2012 and 2013 have already been announced as Vitoria-Gasteiz from Spain, second biggest city of the Basque region after Bilbao and Nantes from France among 17 candidates and 6 finalists, Barcelona, Malmö, Reykjavik and Nurembeg.
Can’t stop but dream a winner or a finalist or even a candidate city from Turkey for the upcoming years.