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Digital City Science

Digital City Science - Exploring Urban Systems

Digital City Science at HCU explores urban complexity with digital technologies. Our team develops scientific new approaches for the analysis and integrative planning of urban systems. For this purpose, the team comprises expertise in architectural design, urban and spatial planning, media technology, IT, and software development, among others. In cooperation with partners from academia, business, administration, and civil society, we develop data-based tools and methodologies that are applied in the national and international context. Our scientific activities span from fundamental research across applied projects to knowledge transfer in scientific teaching and training.

Research and Projects

Here you can find an overview of our current Research and Projects

Research Focus

Convergence of sustainable and digital city research: In projects like „Sustainable Development of Urban Regions“ or the Grasbrook City Scope we explore how two megatrends of current urban research – the digital transformation of cities and the demand for sustainable urban development – can be converged within a unified scientific framework.


Multi-layer Analysis of Urban Systems: In projects like Grasbrook City Scope (a cooperation with the MIT Media Lab) we investigate how multiple functional and physical layers of urban systems can be analysed and cross-connected, e.g. social activities, transportation and accessibility, noise emission, or stormwater runoff, or. The key instrument here is Agent-Based-Models.


Smart Quarter and Smart Building Data: In investigations on smart buildings and neighbourhoods in the context of the HafenCity and Kleiner Grasbrook urban development, as well as in teaching courses like „Data Café“, we explore how data from the „internet of buildings“ can be used for the purpose of intelligent urban development.


Integrated Urban Development worldwide: In international cooperations with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), among others, we search for new approaches how the rapid evolution of urban agglomerations and informal settlements especially in the Global South can be supported by open source tools like the „Open City Toolkit“.


Current Projects


MICADO: Migrant Integration Cockpits & Dashboards

MICADO is part of the EU research programme Horizon 2020, the consortium consisting of 15 partners is coordinated by the Digital City Science at the HCU Hamburg. By using new technologies of data analysis and data integration on the one hand and easily accessible audio-visual interfaces on the other, MICADO will provide a technical solution to facilitate the arrival and participation processes. These solutions will be developed and tested in co-creative processes in cooperation with the target groups of migrants and new citizens, public administrations, CSOs, and civil society. They aim at supporting communication with and between local authorities and facilitate access to relevant information.

Sponsor: Europäische Kommission Horizon 2020 

Partnesr: MICADO Consortium

Project Duration: 01.01.2019 – 30.06.2022

MICADO Website



TOSCAToolkit for Open and Sustainable City Planning and Analysis

The Toolkit for open and sustainable city planning analysis is a cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in India and Ecuador. Further partners are the municipal administrations in Ecuador and India, local tech companies, and universities.

Sponsor: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH / Partners: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, municipal administrations in Ecuador and India, local tech companies and universities

Project Duration: October 2019 – March 2021

The Open City Toolkit – Video Tutorial on Vimeo

github - The Open City Toolkit



SURE - Sustainable Development of Urban Regions


SURE is a BMBF-funded, HCU-coordinated facilitation and synthesis research project carried out in cooperation with THL Lübeck and TÜV Rheinland Consulting. SURE operates a larger BMBF programme (nearly 150 institutions), in which 10 individual research and development projects focus on sustainable urbanism in South-East and East Asia, by supporting the projects in their scientific work, cross-sectional research, and finding cross-project synergies and transfer potentials.

Project Duration: 01.09.2020 – 30.08.2025

Sponsor: The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this project within the framework of the Strategy „Research for Sustainability" (FONA) www.fona.de/en

Partners: Technische Hochschule Lübeck, TÜV Rheinland Consulting

Project Description



Gracio: Grasbrook CityScope

Using methods and tools for digital urban research, the DCS develops an interactive city model for the district of Grasbrook in Hamburg. The model will be used to support planning and decision-making via the visualization of complex spatial and social contexts. It will simulate development scenarios based on important urban planning qualities such as mobility and accessibility, energy consumption, and air pollution.

Sponsor: HafenCity Hamburg GmbH 

Project Duration: November 2018 - November 2020

Grasbrook Website



MEDIFLY Medizinischer Luftfrachtdienst mit unbemannten Luftfahrzeugen / Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

The joint Project Medifly Hamburg researches the possibility of unmanned aircraft for the transport of medical goods and how they can be safely integrated into existing urban air traffic. In addition to the legal framework and technical setup, the project is investigating the opinion and support of citizens, with the DCS researching, evaluating and conducting participatory formats.

Lead: GLVI Gesellschaft für Luftverkehrsinformatik

Project Duration: 2021-2022

Medifly Website



i-LUM Innovative Luftmobilität in Hamburg

The i-LUM joint project develops and evaluates the feasibility of innovative concepts and technologies for airborne urban mobility for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region in future scenarios (2040/2050). Within the project the DCS focuses on the planning, functioning, modeling and application scenarios of the ground-based infrastructure of the Vertiports.

Lead: Research Consortium of Hamburg Universities for Innovative Air Mobility in Hamburg

Coordinator: TU Hamburg, Prof. Gollnick

Project Duration: 2021-2023

i-LUM Website




Multimodal hubs for zero-emission transport

EU Horizon 2020 project

Lead: City of Oslo

Project Duration: 2021-2024

MOVE21 Website



Cooperation with the LIG Landesbetrieb Immobilienmanagement und Grundvermögen

Establishing experimental-explorative research and development projects, and creating new tools and methods for the visualization and analysis of urban data in the context of strategic land use and urban development.

Partner: Landesbetrieb Immobilienmanagement und Grundvermögen (LIG) /State Agency for Real Estate Development Hamburg

Project Duration: October 2019 – April 2021



ROMI Reallabor Offenes Modell für Interdisziplinäre Planung

Incentive Research at HCU

Lead: HCU Digital City Science

In cooperation with HCU Profs. Ballestrem, Bögle, Breckner, Mondino, Schiewe, Wildner

Project Duration: 2021-2023



Sharing City College

Joint PhD research into topics of participatory urban development

Coordinator: ahoi digital, Hamburg Universities´ department of Computer Science

Project Duration: 2021-2023

Project Description



Cities4People Urban Living Labs for Mobility

Towards people-oriented transport and mobility

EU Horizon 2020 project

Coordinator: Copenhagen Business School

Project Duration: 2019-2021

cities4people Website


PhD Candidates

Neele Eicker: Participative Community Networks – Applications in the Indian Context

Taha Hatcha: Mobility as a Service system optimization and its data exploitation for city planning

Holger Prang: Generating Urban Soundscapes From Single Images





Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Rainer Noennig

HafenCity Universität Hamburg
Henning-Voscherau-Platz 1
20457 Hamburg


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