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A city worth living in

Sustainable and smart

Developing new neighbourhoods and the urban environment

Smart Cities is a term often used to describe digitalised cities. In times of climate change and demographic upheavals, however, planning the cities of the future is about much more than networked houses and rubbish bins that report their fill levels. 

For us, Smart City means a sustainable, multifunctional city worth living in. 

The global climatic changes show us the limits and consequences of our actions. The strictly performance and profit-oriented approach in the construction industry is no longer adequate for our future living spaces. We must answer the questions that climate change, migration and our mobility raise in terms of urban development.

We deal with these questions on a variety of planning levels: In Germany, we work primarily at the neighbourhood level, in China also on the conception of entire cities.

Südliches Überseequartier, Hamburg

Integrated master planning for six typologies and eleven buidlings covering 410,000 m²

Reviving the inner cities

The construction boom of recent years has not only led to numerous new buildings in the city centres, but also to the revitalisation of entire neighbourhoods. 

Areas that become vacant due to the demolition of abandoned industrial areas, facilities (e.g. freight yards and marshalling yards) or office structures that cannot be revitalised are being developed into new residential areas with complementary commercial services, partly due to the lack of housing. 

The following applies: the denser the urban landscape, the greater the mix of uses. 

Our projects Four Frankfurt and Südliche Überseequartier in Hamburg show this particularly clearly: living, working, shopping and discovering combine to create lively, innovative and sustainable neighbourhoods. 

The planning priorities of accessibility, materiality, flexibility and networking of public areas and routes are particularly conducive to sustainability. Whether at the neighbourhood level or for the entire city, these topics are relevant at any scale.


AND Pastel, Istanbul
Bismarck Quartier, Düren
Campus Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln
Four Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main
Gateway Gardens, Frankfurt am Main
H27 Wohn- und Geschäftshaus, Düsseldorf
Hochschule Ruhr West, Mülheim an der Ruhr
Louis am Park, Adler Quartiere, Frankfurt am Main
MesseCity, Köln
Parc du Sud, Wohnquartier Manfredstraße Rüttenscheid, Essen
Quartier Central, Düsseldorf, u.a. mit Pandion D’Or und 25hours Hotel
Quartierseingang Vogelkamp, Hamburg
Südliches Überseequartier, Hamburg HafenCity
Vodafone Campus, Düsseldorf
Wohnquartier Grafental, Düsseldorf
Wohnquartier Herbertzstraße, Krefeld

Designing new cities

Over the past 20 years, urban planning has played an important role in the development of China and its geography. Even today, nowhere else are whole cities designed to this extent on the drawing board.

Landmarks alone do not make a city worth living in.

Spectacular buildings can create highlights, but do not alone make a city fit for the future. At the beginning of the Chinese boom a number of out of context, very European-influenced designs were created - especially by Western architects, with the result that some newly completed cities in China stand empty.

Cities for satisfied residents

Just as for architecture ("no more weird architecture"), President Xi Jingping also calls for "sensible" concepts for urban development that focus more on the satisfaction of future residents and their being implemented in a consistently top quality manner.

There will be no more isolated satellite or commuter cities in the conglomeration of economic centers. Rethinking in terms of sustainable use of resources has also long since arrived in China, for example every fourth solar panel in the world is now being installed in China. 

Expo Village, Shanghai

Sustainable conversion of an industrial waste land into a lively, urban city district

Six architectural qualities in smart cities

Multifunctionality is becoming one of the most common requirements: housing, working, shopping and cultural events all take place in the same building. 

It creates space for people of all generations and from all cultural and social backgrounds to meet and mix together.

Spaces that can be individualised and transformed, excellent execution standards and timeless design increase the lifespan of urban architecture.

By purposefully connecting paths, lines of sight and open spaces, we create places for people to meet and communicate.

Gardens and quiet areas provide intimate and private spaces.

When architecture respects proportionality, identity and context, it produces aesthetic buildings that contribute to the quality of life of a city.

Smart City Design

New possibilities

Megatrends do not only create challenges, they also offer numerous new design possibilities: New mobility concepts enable pedestrian-friendly cities with a high quality of life, while digitisation and, as a consequence, building automation enable buildings to save energy through adaptive consumption depending on the time of day and intensity of use. 

Multifunctional neighbourhoods are being networked through the digitalisation of the various services on offer: From an overview of parking spaces or renting conference rooms to pre-ordering goods in adjacent buildings.

Smartness check

Benchmarking with comparable projects is part of our methodology in urban development. We analyse completed urban designs that are similar in size and purpose to our task and check the results for smartness. 

Using numerous 3D studies, digital and modeled, we assess whether our concept can meet our expectations and those of future residents or users. In the event of spatial contradictions in our planning, we again use reference studies in order to benefit from the evaluation of existing urban development plans and, in case of doubt, decide on a variant that has already been successfully tested. 

This systematic approach finds the best design for the future city at an early stage.



Accurate analysis and data-driven planning

We work with state-of-the-art analysis tools (GIS, Ecotect, Envi-met) and base our planning on the data of these geoinformation systems, area sampling surveys and remote sensing.

Density and variety

One of the challenges in Chinese urban development in particular, is how to deal with the enormous density of existing urban structures, which manifest themselves in oversized blocks of houses and high-rise buildings and lack any human scale. 

Further problems are the constantly interrupted public space, reduced to individual blocks and not arranged continuously, as well as the lack of diversity (e.g. monostructures containing "residential silos") and missing references to the surroundings. 

Our solution is to combine various degrees of density: Different volumes are combined within a block in order to increase permeability and ensure development not only at the edges of the space. The "permeability of the blocks" also includes the continuation and extension of the open urban spaces on the site to be developed. This serves the continuity of the open spaces through the entire city and is intended to avoid individual "open space islands". 

Compaction also includes the mix of uses and so for example, we combine office, commercial and hotel uses within the same building or block. 

Nanshang Science & Technology Innovation Center

Nanshan Science & Technology Innovation Center

A platform for the rainforest


Designing places on site

HPP has been active in the Chinese market since 2002 and has its own offices in Shanghai (opened in 2006) and Beijing (opened in 2017). The breakthrough for our commitment was the competition we won in 2006 for the Expo Village at the World Expo in Shanghai 2010.

Multifaceted project teams for multifaceted cities

With our international team and experts from all disciplines under one roof, we have a special understanding of what it means to bring diversity, density, identity and health together in a Smart City. 

We believe in the integration of the various disciplines available in our company when planning urban development: architecture, town planning and landscape architecture. All these experts help us to find the smartest ecological and functional solution for every area. 

Alibaba Hangzhou Cloud Valley Campus, Changsha
Beixinjing Suzhou Greek Waterfront Innovation Park Community, Shanghai 
Expo Village, Shanghai
International Finance Center, Moskau (Arge ASTOC/HPP)
Meixihu Lake International New Town Masterplan, Changsha
Nanjing Railway Station, Nanjing
Suzhou Waterfront Core Area Design, Suzhou
Taopu City Design, Shanghai
Tusincere Yangze River Science & Technology Town, Shanghai
Xujiahui Sportpark, Shanghai
Yangpu Shiphouse Area Urban Design, Suzhou

Our other services


Design and execution for newbuild, refurbishment, conversion and listed building projects.

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Interior design

Working environments and inspiring spaces that are exciting to be in and that foster identity.

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Lead consulting

The entire design process under one roof. 

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Project management

Representing the interests of the client and ensuring the quality of the work produced.

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Breathing new life into a building. 

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