HafenCity Hamburg: A New Model For Social Sustainability?

Lea Caroline Marie Jordan & Yvonne von Daniels

Student thesis: Master thesis


Contemporary European cities face pressing challenges of urban growth, density, and lack of affordable housing. Urban regeneration is considered a fruitful answer to expand urban cores and provide additional housing. Nevertheless, the profit-oriented real estate market and increasing rent levels foster rising inequalities and issues such as gentrification. Governments are in demand to steer inclusive growth and provide affordable housing for their growing populations. As such, the concept of social sustainability has entered the debate on sustainable urban development. Despite the urge for innovative solutions to deliver socially sustainable urban regeneration, literature is scarce. Methods of (publicly) enhancing social sustainability through building projects appear widely neglected. The use of tendering processes to secure public control over inner-city building projects does not find attention in extant academic discussion. In an attempt to fill the current literature gap, this research examines the role of tendering processes in urban regeneration. In particular, we will draw connections between tendering processes and the creation of social sustainability. Using a qualitative approach, this research reveals the pivotal role of tendering processes in fostering social sustainability in the case of HafenCity Hamburg, one of Europe’s largest inner-city regeneration projects. In HafenCity, the publicly-owned privately managed regeneration corporation, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH (HCH), acts as a guardian of the public good and steers private development towards socially sustainable outcomes. Through the use of strict tender requirements for building sites, HCH manages to induce social sustainability in the newly developed area. Finally, this research presents an original process model to deliver socially sustainable urban regeneration, bringing together critical success factors and aspects of the tendering process in the unique context of HafenCity Hamburg.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages120