Eileen Mandir

aqt — Redesigning urban neighbourhoods

Kick-off event aqt Living Lab in the southern Au and Giesing, Munich
Kick-off event of the aqt Living Lab in the neighbourhood »Südliche Au«, Munich (Foto: Viktoriya Zayika, Hans Sauer Stiftung)

How must we rethink mobility in urban neighbourhoods in order to tackle the climate crisis and uphold social justice? What are possible paths for change? How can we reshape urban communities together?

With their Mobility Strategy 2035 and Urban Development Plan 2040, the City of Munich aims to reduce individual car traffic and improve the quality of urban public spaces. In line with these goals the research project »aqt« explores transition pathways to neighbourhoods characterized by fewer cars and more space for people.

Research approach | Living Labs

From May 2023 to October 2023, various measures will be temporarily implemented and evaluated in two neighbourhoods in Munich: »Südliche Au« and »Walchenseeplatz«. During this time, further participation formats take place in order to develop transformation paths together with research partners, municipal administration, industry and NGOs and civil society. The findings produced during the Living Lab are further developed, evaluated and discussed by summer 2024. The project period ends in October 2024.

There needs to be a reallocation of public space; plenty of room for improvement for a much more efficient use of private cars.”

Georg Dunkel, Mobilitätsreferent der Landeshaupstadt München, June 2023

In the neighboorhood »Südliche Au« on Schlotthauerplatz and Edlingerplatz and Kolumbusstraße, the urban space was redesigned with lawn, raised beds and a sandpit instead of asphalt, bike racks and seating instead of parking spaces. Over 5 months, residents can experience their neighbourhood with various recreation areas as well as new open-pore road surface to keep the city cooler.

Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse
Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse
Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse
Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse
Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse
Living Lab at Kolumbusstrasse

The residents play an important role in this project as experts on the local mobility situation and as a source of feedback. Through its participatory and transdisciplinary character, the aqt project creates a platform for the reorganisation, negotiation and transformation of public space in the selected neighbourhoods.

This change should be perceived by the residents as something they can experience and shape.

Feedback on everyday needs from citizens is an important input for urban planners and policy makers, so that incentives for behavioural change get it right when it comes to adpoting these ideas and concept to other neighbourhoods.

Futures Workshop

Living labs are a great research tools to test concrete measures in real-life and get in touch with habbits, needs, local culture, and reveiled preferences. Confronting people with an alternative reality produces great learnings about what works and what does not – fast. However, there is a down-side. People get entangeled in the nitty-gritty details of their new everday life. And somtimes this makes it hard to imagine what could be possible if all the problems – that come to life in the early phase of a new situation – were resolved over time.

Futures Workshop with citizen from neighbourhood

Weak signals and trends that could influence the new everyday

Live illustration of images of the future at workshop

To spark the imagination and to offer the citizens a space for discourse, 15 residents were invited to join a design futuring process. In a two-half-day workshop the group explored trends and signals that might affect them in their neighbourhood and then jointly developed future scenarios which were illustrated and translated to narratives of neighbourhood-personas that people can relate to.

What’s next?

These Images of the Futures, in the form of illustrated storyboards, will serve a larger group as an entry point to a value negotiation of preferrable futures during a Futures Forum open to the public in October 2023. More information and updates: aqt.

My role:
Design and facilitation of futures workshop (July 2023) and futures forum (October 2023), Co-direction visualization of scenarios and storyboards
Project Partners:
Hans Sauer Stiftung, Bayrische Hausbau, aimsun, SIXT, ChargeX, Technische Universität München, Landeshauptstadt München, Stadtwerke München
Commisioned by:
MCube Münchner Cluster für die Zukunft der Mobilität in Metropolregionen, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

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