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© IBA Hamburg / Bente Stachowske

In the course of complex urban development processes, comprehensive informing and participation of citizens, plot owners, local stakeholders, initiatives, chambers and associations, future investors and owners are important and expedient. Valuable local knowledge from residents, ideas, wishes and needs of the various interest groups and constructive criticism support a high-quality, future-proof and sustainable form of district development.

The IBA Hamburg wants to invite the public to collaborate and participate throughout the entire planning process. To do so, it develops formats that reach out to as many target groups as possible and support the entire development process from master planning to designing a playground. From the very start, the level of influence is clearly communicated so that all participants know where there is room for change and where specialist or political decisions have already been taken.

In order for there to be such transparent participation on a level playing field you need open processes, space for creativity, suggestions and change, such as the competitive dialogue on Oberbillwerder or the workshop process for the Spreehafenviertel (Spreehafen District).

Building a new city together

“I am for the genuine participation of all citizens, interest groups, representatives and associations interested in the development of the city far beyond the minimum number prescribed in law. We have to create an acceptance among the general public for the necessary conversion and extension of the city, explain their relevance, and make the complexity of transparent processes manageable.” (Zeit Online interview)


Chief Planning director, Hamburg

Impressions of workshops / events

  • Public design workshop, Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District)

    In the public design workshop, the participating planning teams developed their initial ideas for the Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District) under the watchful eye of the interested public. Here, knowledge gained from prior events was incorporated. During the three workshop days, participants also had the opportunity to talk to planners and integrate their perspective as citizens into the works.

  • Spreehafenviertel (Spreehafen District) workshop process

    In three public workshops, citizens discussed the designs together with the offices involved in the process. The special thing about this process was that revisions were put up for discussion again and direct exchange took place between specialist planners and the public.

  • Online participation, Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District)

    In the competition process for the project area of the Elbinselquartier in 2016, a form of online participation developed by the Ministry for Urban Development and Housing was employed for the first time. Participants were able to leave comments/suggestions which could be attributed to specific locations. This opportunity to get involved in the process any time and anywhere has since been further developed and used in other processes.

  • Opening event Oberbillwerder

    Around 400 people came to the first event for the Oberbillwerder project. After speeches and plenary discussion, the interested citizens were able to register desires, ideas and concerns at various locations and enter into discussion with the people responsible. The information was collated and used as part of the process. This opening event was followed by 10 further events and an online participation process.

  • Ideas workshop Oberbillwerder

    At the ideas workshop on 2–3 March 2017, renowned experts from planning and research came together to develop future-oriented suggestions, ideas, propositions and concepts as a foundation for the subsequent planning stages. Together with citizens and the professional public, small groups gathered to work in the evenings and finally discuss the proposals and new ideas.

  • 6 Schülerbeteiligung Oberbillwerder

    Youth participation Oberbillwerder

    Schoolchildren from the 12thgrade were given the opportunity to design their ideal Oberbillwerder. With self-built models and photographic collages, they showed their vision of a liveable district. In a second workshop, their own designs were compared to those of the four remaining planning teams and an instructive paper was drawn up for the planners.

  • Neighbourhood participation: playground design / local squares

    Even if the new residential district is partially finished already and the first residents have already moved in, there are still opportunities to get involved in the design. In Vogelkamp Neugraben, for example, one of the local squares was designed collaboratively. Future users should consider what they need in their square and what they want. In Fischbeker Heidbrook, a playground design was discussed and extended together with residents.

  • Regular: project dialogue

    At least once a year, the IBA Hamburg meets representatives of the borough district in an open dialogue with citizens. Alongside information on the current state of planning, the focus is on exchange with participants. The aim is to listen to their wishes, explain the situation and search for constructive solutions together.

Through the involvement of various target groups

valuable local knowledge (e.g. from stakeholders, associations, clubs, citizens) is collected and used in the plans/tasks etc.

the needs of citizens and stakeholders (from an economic, political and social perspective) become apparent.

it becomes possible to identify conflicts of interest in order to react early and be able to mediate (e.g. between residents, business people, farmers).

planners can develop a better understanding of citizens' concerns and needs.

citizens can develop a better understanding of the framework conditions for planning.

the potential of "outside the box" ideas from the interested public, experts or special target groups (e.g. young people) is promoted.

new ideas can be developed and one's own horizons broadened.

joint design and problem-solving are promoted, increasing identification with the project.

an exchange takes place at eye level and planning is qualified.

urban planning tasks and decisions can be communicated in a targeted manner.

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