Sustainable Urban Development: Examples in Excellence
A Visit from Europe's Green Capital 2011, Hamburg (Germany) to Boston, MA, March 6-9, 2012
Enlarge image Newly elected Mayor of Cambridge, Henrietta Davis, who had headed a New England delegation visit Hamburg in June 2011 at the invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office, congratulates HamburgAmbassador Bodo Liesenfeld on a successful visit from Hamburg to Greater Boston. (© German Consulate Boston) The partnership between Greater Boston and Hamburg is getting ever closer. At the initiative of the German Consulate General and the Honorary Representative of Hamburg, Bodo Liesenfeld, a delegation from Hamburg came to Boston for the Building Energy 2012 conference and a dense program of meeting and informational visits titled "Sustainable Urban Development: Examples in Excellence."
The delegation was headed by Ms. Jutta Blankau, Hamburg's Minister for Urban Development and Environment. The group included esteemed architect Mr. Hadi Teherani and Hamburg's top leaders in urban development, architecture, building-engineering, and renewable energy.
Energy-independence is possible
Enlarge image Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, MOITI Executive Director Ken Brown, Consul General Friedrich Loehr, Boston-born Hamburg Venture Capitalist Thomas Cusack and other members of the delegation at a briefing on business opportunities in Massachusetts. (© German Consulate Boston) At Building Energy 2012, the German Federal Government's Transatlantic Climate Bridge initiative supported a fascinating presentation on energy independence becoming a reality in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg: “How Hamburg Will Generate 100% of Heat and Electricity from Local Renewable Resources.” Uli Hellweg and Jan Gerbitz of IBA Hamburg invited a fascinated audience to come to Hamburg in 2013 to see how novel and holistic concepts are implemented in the "living urban laboratory" of the International Building Exhibition.
The delegation met with several top Massachusetts and Boston public officials, including Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, to learn about the state's plans to promote renewable energy, retrofitting, and energy efficiency. Jim Hunt, Chief of Environmental and Energy Services for the City of Boston, gave an all-enbracing presentation on Boston's climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Learning from the entrepreneurial eco-system
Enlarge image Tom Nally, Planning Director of A Better City, gave a tour of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway starting at a preserved strut of the former central artery near Quincy Market. (© German Consulate Boston) In the spirit of sharing best practices and learning from each other's experience, the Consulate General and HamburgAmbassador Liesenfeld made sure the delegation learnt about what makes Boston and Massachusetts such a fascinating place to develop solutions, strategies and policies: a vibrant entrepreneurial eco-system, innovative ways of tapping private financing and the active role corporate citizens play in promoting public goods. Meetings with venture capitalists, founders, MassChallenge and the Cambridge Innovation Center, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and A Better City clearly provoked many questions and inspirations for the visitors from Hamburg, which can be described as Germany's northern knowledge-economy on the water.
Enlarge image Walter Pelka of HafenCity University, Secretary Jutta Blankau and Mike Lake, Executive Director of World Class Cities Partnership, signing the Association Agreement. (© German Consulate Boston)
Three days of beautiful spring weather made sure the group could experience Boston, the walking city, from its most beautiful sides. A tour of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway with background information on the United States' largest infrastructure project, the Central Artery Tunnel (a.k.a. the "Big Dig"), the Harbor Walk, and a beautiful evening cruise on the Spirit of Boston for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Night and an architectural tour on the MIT campus left the group deeply impressed and admiring.
Hamburg joins the World Class Cities Partnership
The week's events culminated on Friday afternoon at the Massachusetts State House with the signing ceremony for Hamburg's associate membership into the World Class Cities Partnership, initiated by Northeastern University. Both the City of Hamburg and the HafenCity University Hamburg are thrilled about this opportunity to share best practice in public policy for 21st-century challenges. With concrete projects and committed people, this partnership is sure to be a win-win.