Leafy and open space

Open space is not a nice-to-have but rather a necessity to create a liveable environment. Well-designed open spaces are neighbourhood locations that enable residents to relax in leafy surroundings, support well-being, and structure the district in synergy with the urban development. Open space design plays an important role at IBA Hamburg. As a rule, urban/open space planning competitions are selected and qualification procedures are initiated for subsections.

During the planning process the identity of the surroundings is addressed and taken into account so that the open space is integrated in the best possible way and stays in keeping with the local character. Large green corridors and landscape axes are continued across the individual districts or may be linked together for the first time.

The open space includes parks, green corridors and gardens, sport and playgrounds as well as local squares, streets and pathways and waterside locations.

  • around 71%

    the proportion of leafy spaces in Hamburg
    (Statista 2016 only german)


  • 311

    allotment associations exist in Hamburg and 36,000 allotments

  • 2002

    is when Park Fiction, a work co-created by citizens, was part of Documenta XI

  • Video

Through multiple uses (different functions or at different times of the day), space usage is kept to a minimum and natural spaces can be retained. This protects habitats for animals. All exterior spaces should, where possible, create cross-generational opportunities, be attractive and accessible to people of all ages and thus become lively places of encounter. The district should be disabled accessible as much as possible.

Careful treatment of nature in and around each district is a particular desire. Here, the IBA Hamburg attempts to go beyond the prescribed standards. Concepts for the retention of valuable green structures (such as impressive stocks of trees) are developed and future-proof strategies to handle the needs of nature conservation are created. The job of the IBA Hamburg also includes providing information to and educating the public, for example, on natural garden design or how to behave in nature conservation areas. Exchange with actors from the world of nature conservation is sought out and, if possible, shared projects initiated.

Open space concepts to define the district

Wilhelmsburg: green axis

On the Elbe Islands and in particular in the new districts, water, in the form of canals and drainage ditches, becomes a guiding element. Already today, waterside areas are open to the public in various places and will be extended in the future.

One special feature resulting from the urban development in Wilhelmsburg is the landscape axis running from the Wilhelmsburger Inselpark in the south to the Spreehafen in the north. Here, people can spend their free time and reach their destination easily by bike or on foot. Accessible paths and the so called LOOP cycle connection lead through leafy spaces, sometimes directly by the canal. Along this main pathway, diverse spaces and atmospheres will arise – from allotments and secluded niches by the water to open play, leisure and recreation areas.

Freiraumachse Wilhelmsburg

Oberbillwerder: the Grüne Loop (Green Loop)

The approximately 15-hectare Grüne Loop is Oberbillwerder’s main artery. It links the five quarters with each other. It also takes you to all schools and kindergartens. Safe, well-made paths with integrated playgrounds and exercise facilities for people of any age, as well as places for rest and relaxation, are what make this green ring stand out. In various places, ecological areas are integrated to improve the diversity of urban nature in terms of plants and animals. The Grüne Loop (Green Loop) is at the same time an important component of the drainage concept. Waterside areas and sports grounds can simply be inundated in heavy rain. These areas store water like a sponge so it can flow away in a measured fashion, without overloading the existing system.

Übersichtsplan Freiraum

Tree retention and district development

The IBA Hamburg has the goal of reducing the amount of felling needed and aims to retain trees throughout the entire planning and development process. This is not always possible given the construction processes; however, the IBA Hamburg integrates tree protection measures into the plans early on. The following measures are always assessed and, if feasible, deployed:

Special measures for military ordnance surveying
(Reduction in tree felling through aerial image evaluation and military history research)

Delineation of plots as far as possible so that trees worth saving can remain standing

Respect for existing trees in street and path planning (even when it leads to higher costs)

In the construction phase, the professional cutting-back of the tree crown can provide space for cranes or diggers; long-term damage or felling can thus be avoided

High-quality new plantings supplement the measures

Neugraben-Fischbek: Play and sports grounds in the district

Local squares and playgrounds, public open spaces and exercise facilities are also part of the open space concept and define the character of the district in interplay with the buildings. The new residential areas of Vogelkamp Neugraben and Fischbeker Heidbrook are already finished to a large extent. Here, the quality of carefully designed squares and facilities is more and more apparent: increased quality of life as a result of public open spaces and neighbourhood meeting points right by the front door. The open spaces have been realised with a selection of native plants and materials in line with the guiding principle of “Living close to nature”.

  • 1 Sport und Spieleband Vogelkamp Neugraben

    Children’s playground in the sport and games strip

  • Quartiersplatz außen

    The outer local squares in Vogelkamp Neugraben form a transition to the nature conservation area

  • Quartiersplatz

    The interior ones become neighbourhood meeting places and public spaces within the district

  • 7 Quartiersplatz Vogelkamp Neugraben 2

    Boules alley on a square in Vogelkamp Neugraben

  • 2019 Juli Luftbilder Vogelkamp Neugraben

    The quality of the large park, running along almost the entire length of the residential area of Vogelkamp Neugraben, is particularly easy to see from the air (in the park, the sport and games strip can be seen, summer 2019).

  • 2 Sport und Spieleband Vogelkamp Neugraben

    Parkour area in the sport and games strip

  • 4 Multifunktionsfeld Fischbeker Heidbrook

    Multifunctional area in Fischbeker Heidbrook

  • 9 Spielplatz Fischbeker Heidbrook

    Natural playground in Fischbeker Heidbrook

  • 10 Spielplatz Fischbeker Heidbrook

    Natural playground in Fischbeker Heidbrook

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