The New Gartenfeld

Berlin, Germany

Buro Happold is leading a joint venture for an integrated, highly innovative infrastructure planning project for a district in Spandau, an area surrounded by waterways on the north western outskirts of Berlin. The Gartenfeld project will act as a sustainable “City of the Future”, a blueprint for forward-thinking, collaborative development in Germany.

The 40ha brownfield project includes innovative concepts around mobility, energy, waste, logistics, water and stormwater, ICT and digital platforms.

Leading the task group and collaborating closely with the developer UTB Projektmanagement GmbH, Buro Happold has shaped a multidisciplinary and integrated approach, to bring together strategic planning, high-end engineering as well as collaborative business and operational models. On completion, the brownfield site will accommodate approximately 4,000 housing units.


Aiming for a car-free mobility strategy is the greatest challenge for the team as Gartenfeld needs an entirely new public transport system that connects the new district to the rest of the city and a completely new approach for a mobility solution within the district.

The island site itself is also an issue in terms of the transit of goods and services.  The integrated concept transforms the isolated nature of this former industrial area into a strength by reducing resource flows between the site and the external environment, creating an autonomous, self-serving development.

The radical nature of the new infrastructure and systems was also a complication in terms of planning approvals and creating new legal frameworks.

Aerial rendering of The New Gartenfeld
This unique island development will be introducing a raft of revolutionary initiatives to promote a greener future. Image: Buro Happold


To overcome the challenges of implementing new transport solutions, the team plans multi-functional mobility hubs connecting the site to the wider city and including interfaces to shared services as well as an autonomous shuttle service.

The developer’s philosophy is based around a shared economy, with the idea that people don’t need and don’t want to own everything, as many things can be shared. Localised shared heating systems, communal reuse of rainwater, shared transport and recycling of biowaste into a biogas plant and a neighbourhood ICT platform are just some of the ways that Gartenfeld strives to be different. By both sharing services, and managing them in a decentralised fashion, costs are lowered for residents and service providers alike.

What is also special about Gartenfeld is the way these services will be delivered to residents; everything is bookable via a “Manage your Life” app.

Rendering of people walking in The New Gartenfeld
The city’s unique ethos, progressive energy policy, low emission transport and pioneering use of technology to manage services will set it apart. Image: Duplex Architekten, Ponnie Images


This development represents a “Quantum leap” in neighbourhood development, acting as a blueprint for sustainable low carbon design and a higher quality of life. Both, the developer’s and Buro Happold’s goal to create a better neighbourhood with a focus on wellbeing and environment is achieved through the innovative use of technology and transformative, collaborative thinking.

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