Prof. Dr. Ing. Ekhart Hahn

"The ecological transformation of our cities is the most urgent task of the 21st century. The natural foundations of life of present and future generations are endangered by the consequences of a linear and short-term optimization of individual, technical, social and economic systems to an unprecedented extent."

These theses I formulated in 1984 - and in 1979 in the preparation of the then trend-setting 10th Kaiserslautern forum on "settlement ecology":

"The modern urban and settlement structures are the starting point of the environmental crisis of the industrial society - and they must be overcome in them. The latter is the big challenge we face."

Today, these positions are accepted state of knowledge. At that time they were revolutionary, visionary and highly controversial.

My website should inform you, motivate you to act courageously and guide you in a concrete way. It is important to me that my knowledge and my many years of experience are not lost, but incorporated into new projects. As a first step, you may like to look at my featured projects and publications. In addition, references and links to other relevant contributions and publications on this key issue of the future are given and continuously supplemented.

Contact me for information exchange, expert discussions, lectures or courses. Contact

Your Ekhart Hahn


"We owe the theoretical foundations of 'settlement ecology' and 'ecological urban renewal' and the conception and implementation of trend-setting model projects to Ekhart Hahn."
Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Udo E. Simonis


Aktuelle Veranstaltungen


„Eco City - International Campus Wünsdorf“, Freie Universität Berlin, 18.10.2019


„Eco City - International Campus Wünsdorf“, Extinction Rebellion Camp, 08.10.2019


Two-week lecture series on ICEC-Project Eco City Wünsdorf, Japan, June 2019

My Philosophy

From the tanker to the sailing ship society

For many people, pictures are helpful for understanding new topics and fundamental changes. For me as a sailor, the metaphor of the transition from an industrial-fossil tanker age to a new post-modern sailing ship age is a particularly striking and memorable symbolic power for the societal and settlement ecology paradigm shift to a sustainable future in the 21st century.

The large-scale linear and resource-consuming structures of the industrial-fossil tanker age have proven to be an ecological dead end. They are dependent on global supply and disposal systems, require material and energy-intensive infrastructures - and these are usually less flexible systems with short lifecycles.
The immediate impact and experience relationships between humans, technology and the environment in daily life are dissolved.
Instead, they are linked to the loss of meaning of local conditions and physical conditions, local sources and sinks, individual responsibility, cultural traditions and active behavioral components towards the environment.
The consequences for humans and the environment are the loss of holistic perceptions of nature, the environment and social environment - and thus of sensitivity to life-supporting and hostile processes. This results in high levels of MIPS, IPAT and risk and the increase in excesses.

Quite the opposite is true for the sailing ship …

... it stands for small- scale, flexible, networking and synergy-oriented system structures based on the latest scientific findings.

It stands for the priority use of locally available and regenerable raw materials and energy sources.
The key role is played by the person who sets sail, determines the course and observes nature.
The system is optimized by the intelligent interaction of humans, nature and technology, by organizational and sensory design, transparency and the experience of the impact relationships between humans and the environment.
Of central importance are design and design qualities from the biological-technical to aesthetic-artistic and cultural design components.

ECO-CITY. ecological urban redevelopment. sustainable city

The ecological transformation of cities is one of the key tasks of the 21st century

Cities represent the materialized form of the human-environment relations of a respective social formation in a special way. They are built thinking. Urban lifestyle is lived awareness and behavior towards people and the environment. In the cities, the contradictions of ecological-social developments are exacerbated, but at the same time new solutions are sought and found. The industrial environmental crisis has started from the cities, but in them and with their innovative power it also has to be overcome.

The task of the "Ecological Urban Redevelopment" is the adaptation of urban structures and future urban development to the requirements of ecological compatibility on the post-industrial level. It concerns both the reflection on ecological correlations and requirements as well as the application of resource-saving and environmentally friendly processes and the observance of self-regulating cycles in the design of production, consumption and life processes.

This challenge will determine the future viability of many cities and regions. There will be winners and losers. The history of human history has many examples in which cities and cultures have gambled away their futures by overuse of their ecosystems and today only ruined cities in deserts or primeval forests reminds us of their former glory and prosperity.

The city of the future is cellular, cycle and resident oriented

The urban development of the new post-industrial sailing ship age will lead to a renaissance of neighborhoods and districts. Above all, it will be civil society, the residents and local actors who are driving this process forward. The driving forces are, on the one hand, the increasing ecological social and technological risks and, on the other hand, the revolutionary technological and radical changes of the new solar and digital age.


This process has already begun and can be observed in many places in the world. Keywords and models of this decentralized and cellular paradigm shift are: the city of short distances, new local mixtures of uses and qualified density, the change to sustainable mobility concepts and car-free neighborhoods. An important role is played by the energy transition with the conversion to renewable and local energy sources with the introduction of intelligent Smart Grid technology, decentralized storage systems and electromobility. An important role will be played by measures of a new, climate-active and solar urban development in connection with decentralized water and nutrient cycles, a new green-blue infrastructure with the prerequisite for new forms of urban gardens up to highly efficient professional or semi-professional food production be created in the cities and city quarters.

Despite - or even with a robotic future - a renaissance of decentralized solutions and neighborhoods are also emerging in the social sector, in the services sector, in business and production.

Projects (selection)

current projects

Eco City International Campus Wünsdorf

Campus city. Eco city. city of peace

In the 20th century Wünsdorf was one of the most important places of both world wars and then, as the headquarters of the Soviet Western Group, the Cold War. Since the departure of the Soviet troops in 1993, the central area of the huge area has been abandoned. The in parts valuable and heritage listed buildings crumble. Only an initial registration facility for 1,200 refugees was built in one of the former barracks. All other previous plans have failed.

The project initiated by Initiativkreis Wünsdorf 3000 for a campus-ECO-peace-city aims to reconcile the military past of the 20th century with a landmark European peace project of the 21st century. The aim is to create a model ecological laboratory and training city in which refugees and Germans are prepared for the job market and future-oriented tasks of the 21st century with the dual German system. They can gain skills and experience that are relevant to both the future of Germany and that of their respective countries of origin. It is a European project with far-reaching perspectives and opportunities for the future, also especially for the region.

Further project information can be found in Downloads and on the project website.

As-One Community with urban Farming Park and ECO-Station in Suzuka city, JAPAN

First model project of ecological neighborhood development with eco-station in Japan. Ekhart Hahn has been involved in the project since 2009 as an external consultant with annual invitations to lectures, seminars and technical discussions. It is currently one of the most innovative and exciting urban ecological neighborhood projects worldwide. It is a recognized pioneer of the Japanese Transition-Town movement and headquarters of the Global Eco Village Network, Japan.

Trend-setting Urban Ecological Model Projects 1983 – 1997

Berlin Tiergarten (1983–1992)
Eco-houses in the Cornelius- / Rauchstraße
Architect: Frei Otto
Block 6, Berlin Kreuzberg (1983–1992)
First integrated urban water concept
Berlin Moritzplatz (1986–1991)
First city ecological district concept, theory development and practical model project
Berlin Potsdamer Platz (1991–1993)
First ecological model project for
a Central Business District
Masterplan: Richard Rogers, London
Dresden-Gorbitz (1992–1994)
Model project for the ecological reconstruction of prefabricated housing estates
Leipzig Ostraum (1992–1996)
First model project of an ecologically oriented city-periphery development

Ekhart Hahn


Ekhart Hahn is one of the pioneers of ecological urban development and urban renewal. Since 1975, these topics have been at the center of his professional work. In 1979 he introduced the term and the field of research "settlement ecology", with subsequent book publication in 1982. Ahead of his time, he proposed the thesis that especially urban development is a central cause of climate change and environmental destruction.
A fundamental ecological rethinking in the theory and practice of urban planning would be a prerequisite for sustainable development. Eco-cities and ecological urban redevelopment would become central challenges of the 21st century.

In the following years, Hahn developed the "theory and action concept ecological urban renewal" at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), which is still valid today. The corresponding book publication took place in the year 1991. As managing director of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft ökologischer Stadtumbau, Berlin" (later: "Öko-Stadt - Gesellschaft für Ökologischen Städtebau und Stadtforschung ") Hahn led trend-setting model projects on the three most important urban-ecology action levels: buildings and neighborhoods, urban districts and the revitalization of ecological urban-rural relationships. All while continuing his theoretical research activity. Since 1998 Hahn teaches the subject Ecological Urban and Regional Planning at the Technical University of Dortmund and other German and foreign universities.
Dr. Hahn is the author of several books and over a hundred other publications. Selected writings are available with translation in seven languages.

studied Architecture and Town Planning at the Technical University Berlin
research assistant and lecturer under Professor Poelzig, Architecture Department, Technical University Berlin, Research project: “Settlements and Adapted Technologies in China”; first research trip to China
Numerous research projects relating to Urban and Settlement Ecology at the Science Centre Berlin (WZB) and PROGNOS AG, Basel; second and third research trip to China (1978 and 1982)
Project leader of the interdisciplinary research project "Environmental Policy in China" at the Science Center Berlin, second and third research trip to China (1978 and 1982)

PhD and book publication on "Environmental Settlement Policy in China"

Development of the "Theory and Concept of Ecological Urban Renewal", with subsequent book publication in 1991

Founding member and managing director of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft ökologischer Stadtumbau, Berlin" (1983 - 1990), (since 1991 "Öko-Stadt - Gesellschaft für Ökologischen Städtebau und Stadtforschung); concepts and model projects in Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig
Project leader of the International Research Project "Ecological Urban Redevelopment - an East-West Research Cooperation" at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB); with partners in Poland and Czechoslovakia
Several months of research trip through Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

Substitute Professor and Head of the Department "Supply and Disposal Systems" at the Faculty of Spatial Planning of the Technical University of Dortmund; Teaching topic: Ecological Urban and Spatial Planning

Since 1999:
Visiting professor at the School of Technology and Science of the University of Aalborg, Denmark

Honorary Professor of Ecological Urban and Spatial Planning at the Faculty of Spatial Planning of the Technische Universität Dortmund

Annual invitations to Japan to hold seminars and lectures at various Japanese universities, such as: Todai University, Tokyo; Hosei University, Tokyo; University of Kyoto; Kobe University; University of Chiba Prefecture and others; consultation of urban and urban ecology model projects in Japan

Since 2007:
Master Studies "Ecological Building", Wismar International Graduation Services GmbH
Since 2015:
Master Programme "Architecture and Environment", Wismar International Graduation Services GmbH
Since 2016:
Project "Eco City- International Campus Wünsdorf"

Teaching activity | Research | Presentations | Publications

Permanent teaching position

  • Technical University Dortmund, Faculty of Spatial Planning (since 1998)
  • University of Aalborg, School of Technology and Science, Denmark (since 1999)
  • Master Course Real Estate Management, Technical University Berlin (since 2002)
  • Master Course Ecological Building, Wismar International Graduation Services GmbH

Temporary teaching activities

  • Seminars and lectures in Germany and abroad

In the future you can watch videos of my lectures here.

Technical University Berlin

Siedlungswesen und angepaßte Technologie in der Volksrepublik China, (Settlement Structures and Appropriate Technologies in the Peoples Republic of China),
Research Project for the Ministry for Economic Cooperation ofthe Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn (BMZ)
Responsibilities: Research Design and Project Director

PROGNOS AG, Basel and ZIPF e.V. Freiburg

Machbarkeil von Umweltprognosen (Feasibilty of Environmetal Prognosis),
Research Project for the German Environmental Protection Agency, Berlin
Responsible for the chapter Urban and Regional Planning in the interdisciplinary Research Team

Umweltprogramm für den Großraum Hannover (Environment Program for the Greater Urban Region of the city of Hannover);
Study for the Council of Greater Hannover Region
Responsibility: Carried out the study

Langfriststrategie zum Thema Bürgerdialog (Participation strategies)
Study for the office of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn
Responsibility: Carried out the study

Praxisnaher integrierter methodischer Ansatz zur umweltpolitischen und sozio-ökonomischen Beurteilung regionaler Entwicklungschancen in Europa, (lntegrated approach for assessing future chances of regional development by environmental and socio-economic analysis ),
Study for the German Environmental Protection Agency, Berlin
Responsible for the chapter Urban and Regional Planning in the interdisciplinary Research Team

Untersuchung der Machbarkeil von Sanierungsmaßnahmen in hochbelasteten Räumen (Feasibility study on Rehabilitation of very polluted areas), Case-Study Oker-Harlingerode, a heavily lead-polluted area in the Harz-Region in the central part of Germany, in Commission of the German Environmental Protection Agency, Berlin
Responsible for the field of urban and regional affairs in the interdisciplinary project team

„Siedlungsökologie - ökologische Aspekte einer neuen Stadt- und Siedlungspolitik“, (Ecological Aspects in the future planning of Settlement Structures), 10. Kaiserslautemer Gespräch der Stiftung Mittlere Technologie, Kaiserslautern, together with Karl Werner Kieffer (President of the Foundation), Thomas Krötz, Ralf Schneider and Prof. Hans-Stephan Wüst; Results are published in the book "Siedlungsökologie" (see publication list)
Responsibility: Project Director and Editor ofthe Book publication

Science Center Berlin (WZB),

Umweltschutz und technologische Entwicklung in der VR China – ein internationaler Vergleich unter siedlungsökologischen Aspekten, (Environment and technological development in the People's Republic of China – a comparative international research project) Research Study on behalf of the Ministry for Science and Technology ofthe Federal Republic of Germany (BMFT); carried out with leading Scientists ofvarious German research institutions. The Project included a several week research travel to China.
Responsibility: Project Design, Project Director

Die Zukunft der Städte  Chancen urbaner Entwicklung, (The Future of Cities – Chances of the Urban Environment). Research Study in Cooperation with Technical University Berlin.
Responsibility: Project Director

Project Group for Ecological Urban Restructuring, Berlin

Integriertes Wasserkonzept mit Pflanzenkläranlage Block 6 in BerlinKreuzberg, (Integrated Water Concept for Block 6 in Berlin-Kreuzberg), Environmental Pilot Project of the Ministry of Building Construction and Planning of the Federal Republic of Germany and the IBA (International Building Exhibition, Berlin)
Responsibilities: Project Design and Ecological Project Director

Ökohaus in der Cornelius- und Rauchstraße in Berlin-Tiergarten, (ECOHouse in Cornelius- und Rauchstraße in Berlin-Tiergarten) Environmental Pilot-Project of the Ministry of Building Construction and Planning of the Federal Republic of Germany and the IBA (International Building Exibition, Berlin), Architect Frei Otto
Responsibilities: Ecological Project Director

Planungsverfahren für die städtebauliche Neudefinition und Neugestaltung des Moritzplatzes und seiner angrenzenden Blöcke unter stadtökologischer Zielsetzung, (Moritzplatz-Project, first Demonstration Project on Ecological Urban Restructuring on the level of City Neighborhoods), on behalf of the Ministry for Building Construction and Planning of the Federal Republic of Germany and the IBA (International Building Exibition, Berlin)
Responsibilities: Project Design and Ecological Project Director

Ökologischer Stadtumbau Schöneberg Block 132 und Sanierungsgebiet P VIIL Yorkstraße – (Ecological Urban Restructuring of Block 132 and Urban Renewal Area P VIII in Berlin Schöneberg) Feasibility Study for an Integrated Approach. On behalf of the Council of the District of Schöneberg in Berlin.
Responsibility: Project Director

Entwicklung von sytematischen Planungsgrundlagen für ausgewählte Bausteine einer Ökologischen Quartiersentwicklung, (Studies related to the development of a systematic planning foundation for selected aspects of Ecological Urban Restructuring) on behalf of the Senate of Berlin in cooperation with interdisciplinary experts in the fields of: Water, Energy, Waste, Economy, Law, and Evironmental Information Systems.
Responsibility: Project Director

Ökologischer Stadtumbau Moabiter Werder, (Ecological Urban Restructuring of the area "Moabiter Werder") Feasibility Study for an International Demonstration Project on behalf of the Senate of Berlin
Responsibility: Project Director

Science Center Berlin (WZB)

Ökologischer Stadtumbau – großstädtische Umweltprobleme und stadtteilbezogene Umweltstrategien in unterschiedlichen Gesellschaftssystemen – (Ecological Urban Restructuring, environmental problems in cities and designing strategies on the level of city neighborhoods) an international and cooperative East-West research initiative financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.
Research partners:
- URBION – Institute of Urbanization and Regional Planning, Bratislava, CSSR
- Politechnika Krakowska, Krakow, Poland
- Institute for European Environmental Policy, Bonn
Responsibility: Project Director

since 1991
"Öko-Stadt", Dr. Ekhart Hahn & Partner, Berlin"

Stadtökologisches Konzept für die Neubebauung des Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, (Ecological Concept for rebuilding the area of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin) on behalf of Richard Rogers Partnership, London and the Investors Daimler Benz, Sony Europe, Interdisciplinary Project Team: Energy – Rolf. Disch, Freiburg und Peter Kotschate, Berlin; Water – Herbert Dreiseitl, Uberlingen u. Jochen Zeisel Berlin; Ecological Architecture – Joachim Eble, Tübingen; Environmental Law – RA Uwe Linneweber; Berlin, Urban Ecology – Ekhart Hahn
Responsibility: Project Director

Systematisierung, Bewertung und Vernetzung von Technik und Technikkonzepten des Okologischen Stadtumbaus auf Gebäude- und Quartiers ebene; (Systematic evaluation and networking of technologies and technlogical concepts related to ecological urban restructuring at the building and neighborhood Ievel) Interdisciplinary Study on behalf of the Institute for Urban and Regional Planning of North Rhine-Westphalia (ILS);
Responsibility: Project Design and Project Director

Competition Zentralkrankenhaus St. Jürgen-Straße, Bremen, Architects: Nägeli/Vallebuona, Berlin; 2. Price
Responsibility: Urban Ecology Consultant

International Campefition for the New Congress Center of Leipzig) Ecological Concept on behalf of and in cooperation with Rogers Partnership, London Interdisciplinary Project team: Hans Loidl, Berlin (Landscaper); Helmut Köster, Frankfurt (Engineer for Lighting- and Climate Control); Peter Kotschate, Berlin (Energy), and Joachim Zeisel, Berlin (Water), Elmart Hahn und Clemens Dahl, Berlin (Urban Planning)
Responsibility: Urban Ecology Project Director

Competition Cottbus, Bahnhofstraße, Architects: SL W2 (Springer, Lundquist, Wieland); 1. Price
Responsibility: Urban Ecology Consultant

Environmental Perspectives and the Quality of Life 19952010; Case Study Germany (together with Dipl. Pol. Helmut Schreiber, on behalf of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin
Responsibility: Project Director and Author of the Chapter "Urban and Regional Perspectives"

Dresden-Gorbitz; Demonstration Project for the Ecological Rehabilitation of Prefabricated Buildings and Settlement Areas; Interdisciplinary Planning and Research Project on behalf ofthe Ministry ofBuilding Construction and Planning of the Federal Republic of Germany interdisciplinary project team: Architecture – Lucien Kroll, Brüssel; Water – Herbert Dreiseitl, Überlingen; Landscaping – Hans Loidl, Berlin; Biological Building – Joachim Eble, Tübingen; Ekhart Hahn and Clemens Dahl – Urban Planning
Responsibilities: Project Design and Project Director

Leipziger Ostraum – Modellprojekt einer ökologisch orientierten Stadt-Umland-Entwicklung; (Eastem Region of Leipzig – Demonstration of ecologically-oriented, urban-rural Development); on behalf of the European Commission of Europe, LIFE-Program.
Responsibilities: Project Design and Project Director

Schadstoffminderung durch städtebauliche Maßnahmen in Leipzig, Modellquartier Reudnitz, (Pollution Reduction and new Concepts of Urban Planning in Leipzig-Reudnitz); Interdisciplinary Pilot-Project on behalf of the Ministry of Building Construction and Planning of the Federal Republic of Germany
Responsibilities: Project Design and Project Director

since 1998
Berlin Studie – Zivile Wege in das 21. Jahrhundert, (Berlin Study – Civil Perspectives for the 21. Century) Interdisciplinary study on behalf of the European Commission and the Senat of Berlin 
Responsibility: project area "Environment and Sustainable Development"

since 1998
Research Project ''Arbeit und Ökologie" (Employment and Ecology); Interdisciplinary Research Project on behalf ofthe "Hans Böckler Stiftung" Commissioned Instituts: Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Berlin, Wuppertaler Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie, Wuppertal, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
Resonsibility: research area "innovations and new concepts in sustainable urban development"

Ekhart Hahn has held more than 500 lectures on ecological urban renewal since 1975.

Of those:
> 200 in Germany
> 100 in other European countries
> 200 in non-European countries, more than half of them in Japan


E. Hahn (Hg.): Siedlungsökologie, Karlsruhe: C.F. Müller, 1. Auflage, 1982/2. Auflage, 1988, 230 Seiten

E. Hahn: Ökologischer Stadtumbau – Idealistischer Zukunftstraum oder zwingende Notwendigkeit, in: M. Kennedy (Hg.): Ökostadt, Frankfurt a.M. 1983, S. 129 - 143

E. Hahn: Ökologischer Stadtumbau – Paradigmenwechsel im Städtebau, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin; IIUG rep 86-4; 1986, 42 Seiten

E. Hahn: Ökologischer Stadtumbau – konzeptionelle Grundlegung, Frankfurt a. M.: Lang, 2.Auflage, 1993, 163 Seiten

E. Hahn & U. E. Simonis: Ökologischer Stadtumbau – ein neues Leitbild, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin; FS II 94-403 rep; 1994, 40 Seiten

E. Hahn: Local Agenda 21 and Ecological Urban Restructuring – A European Model Project in Leipzig, Science Centre Berlin, FS II 97-408, Berlin, 1997, 58 Seiten

E. Hahn: Towards Ecological Urban Restructuring: A challenging new eco-cultural approach, in: EKISTICS: The problems and science of human settlements, Vol. 69, Number 412/413/414, Defining Success of the City in the 21st Century, 2 of 2, January – June 2002, page 103 - 116

E. Hahn: The Key Role of Cities in the Process of Sustainable Development, Research Results and Experiences from Germany, in: H. Hidenoba (Ed.): Regional Design, Tokyo 2004, S. 78 - 102

E. Hahn: The Sustainable City – Challenge of the 21. Century, in: New Frontiers in Urban and Regional Design for Addressing Global Environmental Issues and Disaster Mitigation, Tokyo 2008, S. 57 - 67 (Über 100 weitere Veröffentlichen in 7 Sprachen)

E. Hahn: eco city international campus wünsdorf - die stadtrevolution, icec wünsdorf e.V. (Hg.), 2019, 46 Seiten (Download)

Ecological Transformation of our cities

Excerpts from German-language articles

Articles in other languages

Current projects

Trend-setting Urban Ecological Model Projects 1983 - 1997

Kontaktieren Sie mich gern für weiteren Informationsaustausch, Fachgespräche, Vorträge oder Lehrveranstaltungen