• Research
  • Organisation
  • CityScienceLab
  • Energieforschungsverbund Hamburg
  • Forschungsprojekte
  • Arbeitsgebiete / Professuren
  • Promotion/ Postdoc
  • Gastforschende
  • Forschungsförderung

Urban Metamorphoses


The research group „Urban Metamorphoses“ at the HafenCity University Hamburg is dedicated to a transdisciplinary research of the social, cultural, economic, ecological, and spatial challenges of understanding the processes of change in urban and city contexts. Cities changed and are constantly changing in a multitude of different aspects and dimensions. However, a systematic research on the forces and impacts of urban planning interventions in the context of the complexity of urban change rarely exists but is key for understanding the conditions of the production of space in our contemporary urban societies. The research on urban metamorphoses is the attempt to better understand driving forces of the process of urban change as to establish transdisciplinary research methods as well as relational and action orientated strategies for sustainable future urban developments. 


Urban Metamorphoses stand for a dynamically changing relation of „the old“ and „the new“ in the process of production of urban space challenging the structuring role of any fixed origin. This exposure to the complexity of changing urban conflicts of affect claims the optimistic conviction that the city itself is the most important medium of its improvement.




The research on urban metamorphoses addresses the process of urban change, its different contexts of development, the related conditions and driving forces as well as their intrinsic interconnections. Being the only university in Europe focusing exclusively on the built environment and metropolitan development, the HafenCity University Hamburg offers the ideal framework for this essentially transdisciplinary research approach. Participating professors and disciplines:

Prof. Dr. Michael Koch
Urban Design and District Planning (spokesperson)

Prof. Dr. Ingrid Breckner  
Urban and Regional Sociology (deputy spokesperson)

Prof. Dr. Angelus Eisinger
Metropolitan History and Culture

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dickhaut
Environmentally Sound Urban- and Infrastructure Planning

Prof. Thomas Kersten
Photogrammetry and Laser Scanning

Prof. Bernd Kniess
Urban Design

Prof. Dr. Dieter Läpple
Urban and Regional Economy 

Prof. Dr. Alenka Poplin
Computer-based Methods in Urban and Regional Planning

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Willkomm
Architecture and Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning



In a multidisciplinary research composition consisting of humanities, social and engineering sciences, urban planning and architecture, high qualified experienced and ambitious researchers work together in a professional and creative scientific discourse. For a transfer of the results of a systematic research on planning impacts into the praxis of urban planning and design, the integration of new information and communication technologies are of great importance. In combination of narrative and process oriented illustration methods, these technologies help to link relevant knowledge about urban development processes not only in a systematic way, but also appropriate for practical applications. This future oriented research design of “Urban Metamorphoses” has the potential to internationally establish a transdisciplinary approach to processual urban change, being one of the most pressing questions for urban research in the next decades. 



Timothy Pape
Scientific Coordinator

HafenCity University Hamburg
Überseeallee 16, R. 3.111.2
D – 20457 Hamburg
phone +49 (0)40-42827.5203