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Rendering showing the planned Patrick Henry Village from a bird's eye view; Rendering showing the planned Patrick Henry Village from a bird's eye view;

Patrick-Henry-Village, Heidelberg

Heidelberg rethinks former military village with a design concept for tomorrow’s city

Heidelberg’s Patrick Henry Village was built in the 1950s as housing estate for members of the US Army. After its closure in 2013, the city of Heidelberg was looking for ideas to convert this 100-hectare urban area, almost as large as the city’s old town, into a forward-looking innovation district – a model for tomorrow’s city.

As a living urban laboratory, the holistic masterplan envisions a sustainable, climate-neutral ‘city of knowledge’ encompassing five different type of neighborhoods mixing new buildings with the legacy American housing estate. Led by KCAP Architects, the collaborative, dynamic masterplan has been developed together with International Building Exhibition (IBA) Heidelberg and several other leading urban designers, and balances the needs of a wide range of stakeholders.

Designed to accommodate 10,000 new residents and create 5,000 new jobs, the entire are will be brought together by large public and green spaces – including a lake to support the area’s water management. Multi-functional mobility hubs dotted in the periphery of the site will provide parking space, making the centre pedestrian-friendly and parking space free.

A number of international consultants came together to design this inclusive, mixed-use strategy based on a range of future possible scenarios. The development vision allows for a flexible and phased development that can respond to unforeseen and changing condition. Arup worked with initialdesign to deliver the programmatic profiling and mixed-use strategy for the masterplan.

Project Summary

100ha site



We wanted a sustainable and internationally exemplary 16th district. The ambitious masterplan for the Patrick Henry Village is an excellent basis for this. ”

Portrait of the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg

Patrick Henry Village - becoming the city of the future

The development of Heidelberg’s Patrick Henry Village will be driven by a ‘Dynamic Masterplan’ designed under the leadership of KCAP Architects, and which has been deliberately left open to accommodate future requirements. The plan, which has a 20-year implementation period, envisions a stable urban structure with central public spaces, and gradually developing satellite quarters.

The Dynamic Masterplan describes the main objectives and the most suitable implementation principles and measures, while also considering implementation strategies, operator models and governance processes.

Rendering showing the planned lake in Patrick Henry Village overlooking the city Rendering showing the planned lake in Patrick Henry Village overlooking the city

A breeding ground for innovation

Arup and initialdesign developed the concept for the programmatic profiling and mixed use of the dynamic masterplan. The aim is to create a highly mixed living urban laboratory, with a forward-looking range of services driven by innovation. The mixed-use quarters are designed to act as innovation clusters on themes such as education, business and science as well as culture, creating unique selling points for the district.

‘Innovation anchors’ will act as the strategic development engines for each quarter. Designed as multi-purpose buildings, these ‘innovation anchors’ will focus on themes such as education and knowledge, culture and creativity as well as mobility, forming the basis for social innovation and establishing the functional development of each quarter.

Urban development in the 21st century must be more diverse and more ecologically and socially sustainable than in the past. With the vision for Patrick Henry Village we want to show how this can be achieved. ” Prof. Michael Braum Managing Director of the IBA Heidelberg

Flexible urban development

Our vision will be implemented with the help of an urban development toolbox offering a novel approach to land management, governance processes and operator models. This approach invites future users to develop new ways of participating in the city, paving the way for the urban district to become an innovation area. The digital tools needed to accompany and control this process will be developed and tested as a real urban laboratory in Heidelberg’s innovative Patrick Henry Village.

Podcast: Resilient cities

The Covid 19 pandemic has once again demonstrated the need to future-proof our cities. In the episode Resilient Cities of our podcast series "The City of Tomorrow" Rudi Scheuermann discusses with Kees Christiaanse from KCAP why and how future-oriented urban development can make our cities more resilient to future pandemics as well as climatic, demographic and digital changes. Have a listen.