The Hamburg Metropolitan Region, European Green Capital 2011, covers 19,802 km2 and is comprised of the city of Hamburg and 14 surrounding districts. By popu- lation, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany. In 2005, the population of the region was 4.3 million. The Metropolitan Region reaches into the neighbouring states of Schleswig-Holstein and Niedersachsen. Ham- burg is situated on the North German Plain, at the head of the Elbe estuary.
Trading and transport services have a long tradition in Hamburg. The area has a legacy as Northern Europe’s main transhipment centre. It is still a key gateway for the overseas trade of the Baltic states and as a logistics hub for Eastern Europe. Its port, now the second largest in Europe, is over 820 years old and provides 150000 jobs. The Hamburg Dock Railway is the largest hub for freight distribution by rail in Europe. Hamburg’s GDP per capita is €48200.
The region has the world’s third largest aviation in- dustry, with 38000 employees and 300 subcontracting firms in the surrounding districts. South of the river Elbe is Europe’s largest industrial area which is situated next to Europe’ largest fruit growing area and includes refineries, metal and petrochemical works and the largest copper plant in Europe. The region has a strong media sector and is home to large publishing houses, advertising agencies, computer game producers and film and television companies. The region is also an important location for the renewable energy industry, both in terms of business headquarters and installa- tions. Agriculture is the main economic activity in most of the peripheral districts of the region.
The region has an integrated transport system. In the city of Hamburg 98% of the population live within 300 meters of a public transport station. There are six S-Bahn lines, with 68 stations covering 239 kilometres. In total, there are 27 rail routes in the region covering 1,030 kilometres. Additionally, there are 653 bus routes that cover 15,320 kilometres.
Hamburg is a city endowed with numerous green areas, parks and trees. Of Hamburg’s total area 40% is green space, which forms a nearly continuous ‘green net- work’.
Hamburg has a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, against a 1990 baseline. It has a Climate Action Programme covering 14 action goals. The Climate Protection Plan for 2011 includes over 450 projects aimed at households, schools and businesses. Per year, €22.5 million is provided for new climate orientated ideas and projects, but many projects are supported through existing budget or co-finance. This partnership has around 750 active busi- ness partners.
In 2009, Hamburg Energy was founded by the city administration to provide a climate-friendly, publicly owned energy supply to Hamburg’s citizens. Hamburg Energy’s electricity is free from coal and nuclear. Electricity is generated from photovoltaic technology, biomass, wind and geothermal. The company also supplies gas comprising 10% biogas. A sister company, Hamburg Energie Solar, offers residents the opportunity to rent out their roof space so that it can be used for grid electricity generation.