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HafenCity Universität Hamburg
Hamburg, Germany


University description (as per official university website)

The HafenCity University Hamburg — University of the Built Environment and Metropolitan Development) (HCU Hamburg) — was founded by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on January 1, 2006 as a merger of four departments from three Hamburg universities.

It is the only university Europe-wide which is solely focused on architecture and metropolitan development. For this reason, the entire range of disciplines of the HCU is oriented towards understanding and designing the urban environment:

Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geomatics, Urban Planning – in each case as a bachelor’s degree with the option to continue studying to a master's level
Metropolitan Culture – as a bachelor programme
Urban Design und Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP) – as an interdisciplinary master programme

The HafenCity University Hamburg was founded by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on January 1, 2006 as a university for architecture and spatial development through the merger of four departments from three Hamburg universities.

We started a public debate on the pressing questions, which relate to development, design and the future of our built world so that the opportunities offered by the foundation of such a specialised university can really be benefited from. We want to get to the bottom of the education and research topics of our specialist fields, develop our own strengths within these specific fields, define innovative topics and methods for our future interdisciplinary orientation as well as develop interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education and research fields. Together we want to develop new approaches to the problems of our cities in the 21st century.

The HCU Governing Authority, together with the HCU professors and experts from the relevant professions, spent almost two years fine tuning the profile of Hamburg's new university for architecture and urban development - the only university of its kind in Europe. On December 3, 2007, the HCU presented the model thus developed and the focal points of the HCU to a (specialist) public. (download "The scientific profile of the HCU".)

The Business Community's Innovation Agency for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft) and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation were so convinced by it that the HCU profile made it to the 2nd round of Excellence Initiative competition in the category "Individual profile formation" for small and medium-sized universities.

The following topics of the HCU are the result of this intensive work process: Urban metropolitan areas and their development in a developing world, which is changing ever quicker, the associated complexity of the problems, which arise as a result, and the poles of "home and city", between which everything happens. Four disciplines form the basis of the professional excellence to be developed at the HCU: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geomatics and Urban Planning, which from 2009 will, however, be supplemented by the "Metropolitan Culture" degree programme. Furthermore, three additional interdisciplinary master programmes will be added to the School programme: Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning - Project Development and Real Estate Management - as well as Urban Development, which are open to graduates from different disciplines.

The aims of studying at the HCU are disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, i.e. in-depth knowledge of one's chosen discipline, an understanding and appreciation of neighbouring disciplines as a prerequisite for creative co-operation – which is achieved due to module structures and project-based courses, and is a central element of every curriculum at the HCU – and the ability to solve complex construction and urban development tasks through being open to radically different perspectives and mindsets – supported by transdisciplinary studies, which is firmly anchored in all bachelor and master programmes and was developed together with the University of Witten/ Herdecke and the Hamburg University for Music and Theatre.

The research at the HCU should also be characterised by interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. For this reason, the research structures at the HCU are oriented less towards fixed institute limits, and more according to the requirements of the research topics. The current research topics at the HCU are:
Metropolitan Regions in Flux - City Metamorphoses – REAP: Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning - Architecture: Construction as an Interplay of Design, Society, Economy and Technology - Real Estate and the City - Virtual / Digital City.

Overall, the HCU has an interdisciplinary approach to the future design of metropolitan areas and for this purpose wants to develop a new understanding of the traditional construction, design and planning professions: as part of the creative industries, always on the look out for the most innovative and at the same time most sustainable solutions for the challenges of the urban environment.

The profile was presented to the public on December 3, 2007 in Kampnagel. In this connection, the Governing Authority was accompanied by contributions from high-ranking representatives from politics, industry and the scientific world:

Jörg Dräger, Senator for Science and Research
Axel Gedaschko, Senator for Urban Development and the Environment
Konstantin Kleffel and Karl H. Schwinn, Chairpersons of the Hamburg Chamber for Architects and Civil Engineers,
Ulrich Kießling, President of the German Real Estate Association,
Prof. Elmar Lampson, President of the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre,
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Sobek,
Hagen Graeff (Dipl-Ing.), President of the German Surveying Association Prof. Christiane Thalgott, President of the German Academy for Urban Development and Regional Planning, former Urban Development Consultant of the City of Munich
Amelie Deuflhard, Kampnagel Theatre Manager
Prof. Franz Oswald, Emeritus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich with a Professorship in Architecture and Urban Development,
Herbert Girardet, Program Director of the World Future Council (WFC)
and as the speaker Neil Kirkpatrick, Team Manager for the Development of Sustainable Solutions of ARUP, London

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