Value and Making of Hobrecht's Berlin. Growth, change and heritage of the Berlin city expansion

2014 – 2018


The development plan for the environments of Berlin, approved in 1862, created the basis on which the inner city has been built on till today. As a product of the capitalist-liberal economic order in the 19th century, the plan is the starting point of a debate about planning as a public policy. For the international exponents of urban modernity Hobrecht embodied the negative example of a socially blind reactionary planning, whose spatial realization had to be removed. Since the questioning of the guiding principles of modernistic town planning, the criticism on James Hobrecht has been questioned and the plan itself equated with the 19th century neighborhoods in an idealizing way. Accordingly, the development plan is a recurring reference not only in the study of the Berlin urban development, but also of the history of European planning paradigms.

The plan has undergone different interpretations, in which design, realization and transformation mix in various ways. Yet, ideas and real history have hardly been considered in relation to each other. This is the project’s starting point: The interdisciplinary research project aims to illuminate the history of ideas and the real history of the plan and the planning area in an integrated way. By focusing on the example of Berlin, the project examines general principles of the emergence and change in urban structures and in the planning discipline.


The interdisciplinary research project enables a profound and critical analysis of the urban and planning history of Berlin, in which the plan’s ideas and real history are illuminated in an integrated way. Objectives are:

Attributions of value, spatial development and planning statements are combined in the term „Hobrechtian Berlin“ to underline the multi-dimensionality of the analized object. This complexity is also reflected in the research methods: by linking urban and morphological analysis with studies of role models, social valuations and comparable European city expansion plans of the 19th century.

Thus, we aim to reflect local insights about Berlin’s city structure in the European context, to gain historical and methodological knowledge and to re-evaluate Hobrecht’s contribution to urban planning.


DFG – Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


Prof. Dr. Angela Million, Felix Bentlin, Laura Calbet i Elias


Prof. Elke Pahl-Weber
Chair of Urban Renewal and Sustainable Development
Institute of Urban and Regional Planning (ISR), TU Berlin

Prof. Dr. Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper
Chair of Urban Heritage
Institute of Urban and Regional Planning (ISR), TU Berlin


Flyer (EN)
Flyer (DE)


will be available soon: Dolff-Bonekämper, Gabi / Million, Angela / Pahl-Weber, Elke (Hg.) (2018): Das Hobrechtsche Berlin. Wachstum, Wandel und Wert der Berliner Stadterweiterung. Band XX in der Reihe Grundlagen. DOM publishers, Berlin.

Bentlin, Felix (2017): Understanding the Hobrecht Plan. Origin, composition, and implementation of urban design elements in the Berlin expansion plan from 1862. In: Planning Perspectives. ISBN (Print): upcoming print publication in 2018. DOI (Online):

Calbet i Elias, Laura / Hutterer, Florian / Uttke; Angela (2013): 150 Jahre Hobrechtplan. Die wiederkehrende Frage nach dem großen Plan. In: AK Städtebau SRL „Der Große Plan. Aktuelle Beiträge zum Städtebau.“ Berlin. S. 123-126. ISSN 0936-0778.

Bentlin, Felix (2012): Raumschule Neukölln – Architekturvermittlung durch Mapping im Hobrecht’schen Berlin. In: PLANERIN 5/2012: Pixel, Bits & Netzwerke, S. 43-44.

Uttke, Angela / Brück, Andreas / Heinrich, Anna Juliane (2012): Mapping Hobrecht Neukölln. In: Bezirksamt Neukölln von Berlin (Hrsg.): QUER/STRASSE. Die Schülerworkshops 2012 zur Sanierung der Karl-Marx-Straße. Projektdokumentation, S. 6-13. Zugriff unter

Rhede, Christiane / Hutterer, Florian / Herold, Stephanie / Calbet i Elias, Laura (2011): Bebauungs- oder Freiflächenplan? Die Rolle des öffentlichen Raumes bei Hobrecht. In: Flecken / Calbet i Elias (Hrsg.):  Der öffentliche Raum? Sichten, Reflexionen, Beispiele. Berlin 2011, S. 95-106.


SS 2011: Mapping das Hobrechtsche Berlin I – Cerda meets Hobrecht
DozentInnen: Prof. Dr. Angela Million, Andreas Brück, Laura Calbet i Elias
SS 2012: Mapping das Hobrechtsche Berlin II – Finding Hobrecht auf der Karl‑Marx‑Straße
DozentInnen: Prof. Dr. Angela Million, Andreas Brück
WS 2015/16: Housing for the MASS – Old Ideas, new Forms of Urban Living
DozentInnen: Prof. Dr. Angela Million, Felix Bentlin, Laura Calbet i Elias