IBA Hamburg Logo
Scroll down

Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District):
Living and working between the canals

  • Total area:

    47 ha

  • Housing units:

    approx. 2.100

  • Leafy and open space:

    approx. 18 ha

  • Industrial real estate:

    approx. 29.000 m²

The 47-hectare Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District), in the heart of the Wilhelmsburg island (map) on the Elbe, is intended to develop into a model for success in creating good neighbourly relations between residential and commercial zones, allotments, open space, educational and care facilities. The goal is to create a district in which the interests of all participants are met and where new inhabitants, long-standing residents, locals, businesses, employees and visitors feel equally at ease.

With mixed typologies and architectures, rental housing units (both publicly supported and privately funded) alongside ownership models and cooperatives, a neighbourhood will arise here that is diverse in both design and inhabitants. Through the development of the three Wilhelmsburg areas (Elbinselquartier, Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel and Spreehafenviertel), a landscape axis will be created along the canals offering particular quality in open space.


Christian Hinz

Project Coordinator

  • +49 040 226 227 0

The new district between the canals is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle in the urban landscape of Wilhelmsburg. It links, in the north west, to the Reiherstiegviertel and in the south to the Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District), presenting an important connection with the adjoining Spreehafenviertel (Spreehafen District) to the north. In this district, a new central park with a main square by the water will be created, forming part of the landscape axis along the Aßmannkanal. Existing allotments will be integrated, compressed and partially converted into public recreation space in the form of an allotment park.

In the Elbinselquartier, there are already sports facilities and allotments, a restaurant with boat rental, leafy spaces and businesses. The historically important buildings on Jaffestraße, some of which are listed, create identity and offer space for a small-scale usage structure with classic and creative trade and service providers.

The urban structure is comparable to the block structures of the Reiherstiegviertel, but is more strongly differentiated, offering space for a wide variety of building typologies and development opportunities, guaranteeing variety and social mixing: residential and office blocks, apartment buildings with commercial uses on the ground floor, building cooperative houses and townhouses for individual owners. This is modelled on traditional diverse districts such as Amsterdam’s Grachtengürtel. This colourful image fits the character of Wilhelmsburg and gives the district particular charm.

The aim is to implement the Hamburg housing policy of the “three-way split” and to create housing for all of Hamburgs citizens. From classic multi-bedroom housing units for families to accommodation for senior citizens, students, people with low income, people with disabilities and other target groups. IBA Hamburg will also react to future living environments, with flexible floor plans or combinations of living and work spaces. There will also be a large proportion of plots on offer for building cooperatives.

At a central location in the park on the main square, a school campus will be created with a primary and a secondary school (Stadtteilschule). The school campus is to be extended with additional educational and public amenities for residents and neighbours. Four kindergartens are also planned in the project area.

The Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) is connected to the public transport system via bus connections and the Wilhelmsburg S-Bahn station. In the coalition agreement of 2020, the new senate is committed to implement the construction measures and further development of the U4 in the direction of Grasbrook and Veddel. In connection with the development of Kleiner Grasbrook, the U4 is to be planned up to there. In addition, the foundations for a development beyond Grasbrook are to be laid. Routes are to be examined and, if possible, areas are to be kept free. According to the coalition agreement, this applies in particular to the northern part of Wilhelmsburg.

The basis for the development of the central Wilhelmsburg projects of the Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) and Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District) is the relocation of the Wilhelmsburger Reichsstraße, which currently cuts through the area from north to south. At the end of 2019, the new route along the railway lines that run to the east of the area was brought into operation and the current route was put out of service and dismantled. In this way, new residential districts and commercial spaces can be developed by the IBA Hamburg GmbH over an area of around 80 hectares in the two project areas. In municipal areas, around 3,700 housing units will be built here, alongside new commercial areas, kindergartens, a primary and secondary school (Stadtteilschule), while a landscape axis will also be created with allotments, sport, leisure and recreational facilities. The cycle path connections with their parallel pedestrian paths offer people to go for walks or cycle through the landscape axis.

From the start of April 2016 to mid-July 2016, the IBA Hamburg GmbH carried out the urban/open space planning competition “For good neighbourliness – living and working between the Canals” in collaboration with the Ministry for Urban Development and Housing and the District office Hamburg-Mitte. Citizen participation, which had begun even before the creation of the task paper, was transferred to the project “Perspectives! Planning together for the Elbe Islands” of the Wilhelmsburg Community Centre Foundation and its cooperating partners, the Advisory Council for Urban Development, Wilhelmsburg, and the vhw Federal Association for Housing and Urban Development e. V. Details and results of the participation procedures can be found at www.perspektiven-elbinseln.de.

On 14 July 2016, the jury, consisting of eight professional judges and five community judges, decided with only one dissenting vote on the design by Hosoya Schaefer Architects AG with Agence Ter. Two days previously, the seven participating planning teams had presented their designs in a public final presentation. Over 100 citizens looked into the designs and decided that the design by Hosoya Schaefer Architects and Agence Ter – alongside two further designs – best implemented the needs of the district.

Impressions and retrospections

  • The three areas of the Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District), Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) and Spreehafenviertel (Spreehafen District) (from south to north) and the Hamburger Hafen.

  • After-work walk around the Elbinselquartier planning area

  • After-work walk around the Elbinselquartier planning area

  • Rowers on the Aßmannkanal (July 2018)

  • Allotments on the Aßmannkanal (July 2018)

  • Public intermediate presentation of the urban/open space planning competition “For good neighbourliness – Living and working between the Canals”

  • Public final presentation of the urban/open space planning competition “For good neighbourliness – Living and working between the Canals”

  • Public final presentation of the urban/open space planning competition “For good neighbourliness – Living and working between the Canals”

What happens next?

The IBA Hamburg provides yearly information in a public project dialogue on the current state of planning and answers questions from citizens.

Currently, building permissions are being obtained for the Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) under the leadership of the District office Hamburg-Mitte. Provisionally, from the end of 2020 the first development works and the dismantling of the embankment of the Wilhelmsburger Reichsstraße will begin. Interested investors, housing associations and building cooperatives will be informed of plots on offer on this page, as soon as they are brought to market. No plots for single-family homes are intended. IBA Hamburg is not responsible for rental or sale of housing units.

To project process

At a glance:
District development in Wilhelmsburg

The three project areas of the Spreehafenviertel (Spreehafen District), Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) and Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District) run from the north of the island to the Inselpark. The potential for residential construction here could provide around 4,800 new housing units. A particular feature is the green axis to be created by the developments.

With Georgswerder in the east of the island, a further 190 housing units and commercial spaces will be added.

Another approx. 800 housing units may be built in the Georg-Wilhelm-Höfe (Georg-Wilhelm Courtyards) and Inselparkquartier (Inselpark District). Here, legal land use planning procedures are currently being prepared or are up and running.

Find out more


Leafy and open space


Building cooperatives