HAMBURG, GERMANY, 1999
This masterplanning exercise was undertaken as
the result of a public art commission from the city of hamburg and was displayed in an art gallery there in early 1999. we called the project a “portrait” with the understanding that portraiture is always an idealized representation of its subject. in this case, we hoped that it was clear that our project grew from our affection for the exciting form of the city, especially for its system of waterways and its thrilling juxtaposition of maritime activities with more traditional urban form.
as with many cities, the great threat to hamburg is sprawl, the loss of its edge to a miasma of ill-built suburban development, lacking urbanity and adding pressure to the - largely automotive - transport system. we’ve proposed a strict urban growth boundary along with the strategic enlargement of selected towns and villages on the city’s periphery. to accomodate the major portion of anticipated growth, however, we have proposed large-scale develpment of the harbor area and the creation of a strong north-south connection between hamburg and harburg.
the continued vitality of the port is crucial to the health of the city and we do not propose to remove this important use. however, looking thirty years out, we do believe
that the tremendous area of the harbor given over to the storage of petroleum will become redundant, whether because of conservation, green energy technologies, or remote distribution systems. urban growth will, in our proposal, infuse this newly available space with fresh systems of canals, new neighborhoods and green areas, and a new layer of “slo-mo” transportation, both on land and water-borne.
Credits: Michael Sorkin, Andrei Vovk