Eileen Mandir

Empty Spaces? New Everyday! – Exploring futures of urban neighbourhoods.

2023-03 • Futures Studies, Critical Design, Narrative, Scenario Making, Design Futuring
Cover photo
Students in the master studio ideating future scenarios with Futures Wheel


Our urban neighbourhoods are undergoing major changes: Climate change, migration, ageing, traffic change, gentrification, digitalisation, etc. How our cities and urban cultures will develop in the future is also a matter of concern for politicians and researchers. This gives rise to major questions: How must our living spaces change to meet the needs of a modern society? What design elements, touchpoints, interaction and communication spaces will characterise the city districts of tomorrow? What role does design play in the city districts of tomorrow?

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how to light get’s in.” - Leonard Cohen. One thing is clear: the uses of existing spaces, structures, buildings change with changing living conditions. What happens to parking spaces when traffic is reduced? How are large office buildings and their open spaces used when many are working remotely from home? What happens to the small corners where letterboxes and telephone booths once stood? This empty space opens up new possibilities, experiences appropriation, breaks through resistance.

In this course, students learn how to methodically design and reflect on possibles futures – through the lense of different scenarios. The focus is on trying out new methods from futures studies and speculative design. The topic “Empty Spaces / New Everyday” serves to apply the new methods in a concrete context and to better internalise them. In addition, we reflect on “Design Futuring” as a potential field of activity for designers.

The examination of various future scenarios in relation to the topic of “Empty Spaces / New Everyday” is made tangible through so-called “Futures Probes” - the visualisation/description of future artefacts, products, services, situations. Concrete proposals for a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive coexistence as well as criticism of the status quo or speculations about possible positive and negative implications for our neighbourhoods are developed. The Futures Probes developed are presented by the students, reflected on in the course and documented in a joint kiosk of the future: Postcards and a newspaper give small glimpses of possible future everyday situations in Munich’s urban neighbourhoods.

Fakultät für Design, Hochschule München
MA "Advanced Design", students from 3. semester
Spring 2023
Prof. Dr. Eileen Mandir
Sarah Czerny, Luisa Dannhäuser, Kristina Gleißner, Antonia Hauf, Benedikt Hörmannsdorfer, Moritz Keller, Tobias Moser, Franziska Richter, Antonia Schauz, Julia Schneider, Melanie Settele, Daohan Yang
Guest critic:
Marco Kellhammer (TU München, Professur für Urban Design)
Guest speaker:
Prof. Dr. Peter Dürr (Fakultät für Angewandte Sozialwissenschaften, Hochschule München)

Selected student projects