What's it about?

The project is about devising a master plan for the northern Syrian city of Azaz (formerly 75,000 inhabitants). Over the past years, numerous inhabitants left Azaz, yet many wish to return. Due to its safe location close to the Turkish border 300,000 refugees are currently living in the city and its surroundings. Many of them will stay and others will come back, finding a new home: The growth of Azaz has to be planned.

Who are we?

ulrich hartung gmbh is a company of urban planners, architects and developers, planning together with Syrian and German architects, the local administration, and stakeholders with the participation of the local community in Azaz and in Germany. ulrich hartung and its co-operating planners and companies in Germany support the master plan on a charity basis for the benefit of the city and its community – without political and economic interest.

What can you do?

Soon, Azaz will be the first city in Syria having finished its post-conflict master plan. You want to take real action and do something effective and with impact? You would like to help people finding a home worth living and new hope for a prosperous future? You are a planner or an engineer and would like to design a school, a kindergarten, technical infrastructure, etc. in the city of Azaz? You are a donor, a company or an institution interested in developing a charity project for Azaz? Then get in touch with us and join our project.

The project focuses on the design of a growing city worth living in, in accordance with the principles of long-term urban, social and economic development.

1. About the project


As a result of the war, today Azaz is subject to tremendous pressure of development and change. Over the past years, numerous inhabitants left Azaz, yet many wish to return. Many people from all over Syria, however, also searched refuge in Azaz and may want to or have to stay. This way, big challenges emerge in the city, e.g. in the fields of housing, supply, infrastructure, education, employment, traffic, environment, culture, and urban society. The purpose of this project is to plan a sustainable urban development for Azaz on the base of partnership and participation in order to create an attractive home and secure prospect for the people in Azaz. The project focuses on the design of a city worth living in, in accordance with the principles of long-term urban, economic and social development. Therefore, a comprehensive master plan will be elaborated with the city’s inhabitants, German and Syrian architects, engineers, as well as urban and landscape planners. Tangible building construction, open space and infrastructural projects will be planned. This master plan will provide the conceptual frame for tangible quick emergency response projects and long-term future-oriented projects.

azazplan is a project that aims at devising a new master plan for the city of Azaz based on the conditions of the current master plan and its evaluation as well as the emerging conditions of the city over the past years. The project is not profit-oriented. Actually, the motivation is to use our expertise together with the local experiences in Syria in order to create a general frame for the city’s urban development. The master plan will be both a tool for the local council to manage the development in the city, and a supportive factor to attract international funding and aid. Being the highest governmental administration in the city, the local council of Azaz has the exclusive right of disposal of the master plan.

2. Project phases

Phases of the master plan-process 04/2016 – 7/2018

What: General information about Syria, selection of Azaz
Who: Media, experts

What: First contact with Azaz, engaging Syrian architects, finding refugees from Azaz in Germany
Who: ulrich hartung gmbh

09.2016 – 01.2017
What: Digitalising the map of Azaz
Who: ulrich hartung gmbh

01.2017 – 04.2017
What: Survey, workshop in Bonn
Who: Partners in Azaz, Syrians in Germany

05.2017 – 09.2017
What: Analysis, workshop in Bonn
Who: Partners in Azaz, Syrians and planners in Germany

What: Memorandum of Agreement between Azaz Local Council and ulrich hartung gmbh
Who: Azaz Local Council, ulrich hartung gmbh, Technical Services Office in the Local Council, Technical Office in the Municipality of Azaz

10.2017 – 01.2018
What: Guiding principles
Who: ulrich hartung gmbh, Technical Services Office in the Local Council, Technical Office in the Municipality of Azaz, planners in Germany

02.2018 – 04.2018
What: Land-use plan, discussion in Azaz
Who: Azaz Local Council, ulrich hartung, stakeholders in Azaz

05.2018 – 12.2018
What: Frameplan (1:5.000 / 1:2500 / 1:1000), agenda of prioritys and projects, meeting in Gaziantep, presentation / discussion in Azaz, publicity
Who: Azaz Local Council, ulrich hartung, stakeholders and planners in Azaz

3. Project team

ulrich hartung gmbh is a company based in Bonn, Germany, working in city planning and project development. We initiate projects and manage them from beginning to completion. This means working with investors, municipalities, and the civil society. During project development and owner representation, we manage the essential processes and co-ordinate external experts and consultants. Also we organise architectural competitions and participative events. ulrich hartung gmbh has established a dedicated azazplan project unit located at the company’s office. For azazplan, the so called “team Germany” is formed by architects, city planners, developers, partners from the private sector and universities.


Hermann Ulrich

Project Initiator (uh CEO) -
Urban Planner

Maren Brixius

Project Development -

Bernd Op‘t Eynde

Project Development -

Ahmed Wleed Alnajm

Technical Supervision -

Matthias Barutowicz

Project Co-ordination -
Urban Planner

Fabiana Florczyk

Project Communication -

4. What has happened so far

10. The adjustment and stratification of Azaz digital base file - 11 June 2018

With the advisory role of Pilhatsch Ingenieure, and based on the notice from the experts in Azaz in the stakeholders meeting, azazplan acquired an ortho-rectified satellite image from Airbus with a resolution of 0.5m. This image allowed azazplan to adjust parts of the base file to an accuracy of drawing of 25cm on the ground. This level of precision in the base file lays the ground for a future stratification of the digital plan on the local coordinates.

9. A virtual meeting between azazplan team and the major stakeholders of Azaz - 21 April 2018

The major meeting took place between azazplan team in Germany and representatives from the Union of Architects in Azaz together with the Technical Services Office in the Local Council and the Technical Office in the Municipality of Azaz.
The meeting attendants included a representatives of international stakeholders working in Azaz such as Solidarity and World Vision as well as representatives of other local administration institutions such as HLP Office in the Local Council, the Court of Appeals in Azaz and other private sector actors.
The meeting highlighted the challenges of the project such as the HLP complexities and the technical problems in the masterplan base file. One of the proposals is the formation of a workgroup to follow up on the masterplan development with azazplan team.

8. A Memorandum of agreement is signed between Azaz Local Council and azazplan Germany and azazplan Syria - 23 November 2017

In accordance to the memorandum, all agents agreed to commit and trust in cooperating on the basis of partnership to design a city worth living in for the inhabitants of Azaz. The Local Council is represented by the technical services office and the technical office in the municipality of Azaz who form the core of azazplan team in Syria.
The collaboration is based on the development of the masterplan together with the city administration through a series of meetings.

7. Call for research on alternative housing typologies in Azaz to Bochum University of Applied Sciences students – 25 October 2017

The co-operation between azazplan and Bochum University od Applied Sciences has been expanded, and a call for research on housing in Azaz has been released to two student groups of different specializations. The first group re-invents the current housing typologies in accordance with building regulations and materials, providing cheap and fast-building design solutions meeting the current problems in Azaz. The second group focuses on the structural design of the propositions given earlier by them, including the structural analysis, the thermal performance, and energy consumption, to meet the requirements of local conditions such as the climate and the lack of energy resources.

6. Getting completed design propositions for a growing house typology in Azaz by Bochum University of Applied Sciences students – 28 July 2017

Based on the azazplan co-operation with Bochum University of Applied Sciences, students deliver almost 60 different designs of a growing house. Building a small starter house from scratch, a family is given the option to gradually expand it vertically, for instance combined with building commercial shops in the ground floor for investment.

5. Finalizing a precise physical model of the city of Azaz – 8 July 2017

JSWD, as one of the volunteering partner companies in the project, finishes building a physical model with detailed heights of the houses useful for the three-dimensional planning of the city. The model with its dimensions of app. 150*150 cm is built on a scale of 1:2.000. It is divided in 9 pieces for easy disassembly and handy moving.

4. Fourth workshop as a meeting with the locals from Azaz in Germany – 25 July 2017 in Kiel

The attendants: 10 of the locals from Azaz in Kiel, team ulrich hartung.

The content: Discussion of the analysis conclusions and maps. Discussion of the questionnaire to be distributed in Azaz. Discussion of preliminary research results by Bochum University of Applied Sciences students about alternative housing typologies for Azaz.

Outputs: Modifications of the analysis’ results, elaborating inside-knowledge on housing as well as further existing infrastructure and its status quo.

3. Third workshop as a planners meeting including Syrian planners, JSWD, FSWLA and the Bochum University of Applied Sciences – 09 June, 2017 in Bonn

The attendants: Two Syrian planners, three planners from JSWD and FSWLA, a representative from the department of architecture at Bochum University of Applied Sciences, and the team of ulrich hartung.

The content: First meeting of Syrian and German professional planners from different specializations in order to prove and discuss the five considered thematic maps: communal infrastructure, housing, economy, landscape and ecology, and mobility. JSWD present the first part of the physical model of Azaz. Bochum University of Applied Sciences representative decides to deliver the project to their students in order to develop alternative urban typologies for housing that are suitable for the city. The Syrian and German planners express their readiness to undertake tasks to cover some of the project needs.

Outputs: Set of conclusions related to each of the five thematic maps and the regional map as the core of the analysis conclusions. Thus, the analytic maps get a clear shape. Finalising the the master plan process phase I – Analysis.

2. Second workshop with locals from Azaz in Germany, Syrian engineers, partner companies JSWD and FSWLA – 02 March 2017 in Bonn

The attendants: 13 Syrian participants, 4 Syrian engineers, and two planners representing two German companies: JSWD, a large company consisting of 90 employees working in the fields of architectural and urban design. FSWLA, an established company formed by 30 employees working in the fields of landscape design, urban planning and construction management. Team ulrich hartung.

The content: Work on the plans is amplified: Three groups of German and Syrian planners together with the locals from Azaz discuss the precise mapping of the city on the basis of 6 different themes, each group two themes.

Outputs: Analytic maps and questions related to the status-quo are elaborated. Understanding the contribution of each planner is established. JSWD commits to contribute a physical model for the city.

1. First workshop with locals from Azaz in Germany and Syrian engineers – 27 January 2017, Bonn

The attendants: 14 Syrian participants including 6 engineers of different specializations, team ulrich hartung with 6 persons.

The content: Team ulrich hartung introduces the project, division on 4 discussion tables each of which dealing with the physical survey of the city to identify the major functions and its stories.

Outputs: The major activities of the city are identified and the first mapping work of the city is made by our team.


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