Hamburg represents one of the largest German urban agglomerations, which is structured by a differentiated Green Network consisting of landscape axes, the 1st and 2nd Green Ring with green spaces and parks as well as nature reserves and the Hamburg Biotope Network. This Green Network covers a total of more than 40,000 hectares and thus more than half of the city's area, provides habitats for numerous plant and animal species, and contributes to the quality of life of the population due to diverse ecosystem services.
Nature reserves occupy over 9% of Hamburg's area, parks and green spaces cover about 2,900 ha and about 250,000 street trees line the city's paths. Due to a special spatial and climatic situation, natural habitats with a great diversity of species have developed in Hamburg. Thus, Hamburg has a special floristic diversity as well as a high proportion of nationally endangered species.
With the large-scale nature conservation project "Natürlich Hamburg!", the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg wants to use the opportunity in the project area to secure and develop its existing natural capital in the form of diverse parks and green spaces, nature reserves, biotope network areas and also along selected traffic axes, and to communicate the associated values to the population. The parts of nature and landscape worthy of protection in the urban cityscape should be permanently secured and developed into a diverse urban green infrastructure. The main objective of the "Natürlich Hamburg!" project is to strengthen the function of parks and green spaces as habitats for animals and plants, taking into account their function for experiencing nature and recreation, and to enhance nature experience and other ecosystem services of nature reserves by improving biodiversity.
The nature conservation goals for the overall project include the protection and development of biodiversity in the entire project-related planning area, the strengthening of both the inner-city and the cross-state biotope network on the outskirts of the city in the transition to the states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, the strengthening and upgrading of nature conservation areas, and the nature-oriented development and ecological management of parks and green spaces with the establishment of ecological standards for all parks and green spaces with locally adapted maintenance practices. With the "Natürlich Hamburg!" project, Hamburg aims to significantly increase the intersection between nature conservation, open space planning, and green space maintenance, involving all stakeholders from the departments and associations responsible for the environment, landscape, open space, and green space planning, and nature conservation, as well as the population of Hamburg. The aim is to eliminate the sharp contrast that has existed up to now between species and biotope protection-oriented nature conservation on the one hand and traditional green space maintenance on the other in favor of a joint approach that strengthens biodiversity and conveys new, near-natural, extensive and aesthetically pleasing images of urban nature to urban society. It is deliberately about promoting "nature on the doorstep", i.e. the targeted increase of biodiversity e.g. through the creation of near-natural elements, the use of native plants, the creation of food sources and habitats for native animal species and the near-natural management of green spaces in settlements as well as in parks and green corridors.
The goals for integrated development include raising awareness of the value of biodiversity among the urban population. On the one hand, this involves the timely communication of information about urban greenery and urban nature. On the other hand, opportunities should be created for the urban population to experience urban nature - i.e. animals, plants and their habitats in the direct living environment. In addition, the activation of civic engagement is an important goal.
The most important socio-economic goal is the equal integration of nature conservation concerns into the urban development of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. This includes urban planning, open space planning, agriculture and forestry as well as land management of public Areas.