Trialog series 'City in motion: future infrastructures' in cooperation with the University of Technology Berlin

Berlin experiences unexpected growth for which the city’s infrastructures are not yet prepared. The increasing number of conflicts about space and usage of ground in the city show that the design of the city needs a productive discussion between different societal interest groups that is oriented towards mutual understanding and seeks to develop sustainable solutions.

The great transformations of urbanization and climate change lead to new demands for research and universities. While the present state and problems must be studied and viable future scenarios must be developed, it is also important to advance concepts, instruments and Actions that are needed to induce and shape necessary transformations.

Transdisciplinary Trialogs were jointly developed by the University of Technology Berlin (TU Berlin) and HVGP for creating a method for transdisciplinary cooperation that addresses the much-discussed demand to better connect research with society. During the Trialog series, urban actors discussed with academics and developed transdisciplinary research questions and project ideas. From February to December 2016, we realized four Trialogs.


For more information about common activities to establish and promote a transdisciplinary approach in science, visit TU Berlin here.

For an interview with Prof. Christine Ahrend, vice president of TU Berlin, on the added value of Trialogs for transdisciplinary research see here.

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[+] 1st Trialog: Migration to Berlin | May 4, 2016

How can a city become home to its diverse inhabitants? The discussion revealed the importance of creating flexible infrastructures for migration. For the successful integration of migrants, infrastructures are especially required in the areas of housing, education, social networks, digital infrastructures and work. Cities are nodes of social networks, which migrants use as points of departure for inclusion processes. These social networks are valuable objects for transdisciplinary research and projects. Other fields of action that emerged from the discussion were integration into everyday culture and sovereignty of migrants, procedures to assess competence and models to enter the vocational training system apart from usual routes. Most importantly, Trialog-participants expressed a need for an information platform or database, which pools knowledge and information for the various target groups involved with the support of refugees and migrants.

[+] 2nd Trialog: Future infrastructures for mobility | June 30, 2016

What kind of strategies for mobility does Berlin need for building sustainable infrastructures? To what extent should new mobility concepts comprise ideas of freedom and regulation? The Trialog led to the conclusion that mobility in the expanding city of Berlin must be part of an integrated urban and spatial planning approach. Key issues discussed were the division of space between different road users and the planning of short distances. A new mobility strategy for Berlin must respect climate change, new propulsion technologies and digitalization as well as new trends of societal organization such as sharing models. Transdisciplinary research should emanate from the question how Berlin could become a pioneer in the transformation of the transport sector under the broad participation of the city’s inhabitants. To this end, the city requires a new culture of mobility, concepts for the temporary reutilization or mixed usage of space and means to reduce overall traffic.

[+] 3rd Trialog: Housing in an expanding city | September 1, 2016

The third Trialog discussed questions of future housing, housing construction and renovation, gentrification and different forms of living. The discussion revealed the multitude of diverging and vested interests in the topic of housing. Participants called for the recognition of housing as a policy area in its own right. In order to achieve important learning effects, this thematic area needs broad participation, transparency and exchange formats. Many actors currently look for new approaches in housing construction. The idea was developed to create an “atlas of possibilities” presenting advantages of promoting a mix in urban housing construction between major players, which are able to use economies of scale, and smaller innovative and creative actors. Moreover, participants proposed to initiate a broad public debate with the participation of academia about the common good quality of housing.

[+] 4th Trialog: Flexible infrastructures for smart urban development | November 21, 2016

In response to the earlier Trialogs of the series, in the last Trialog we discussed aspects of an intelligent city. How can we build and apply flexible infrastructures? In the discussion participants often referred to three dimensions of an intelligent city: the governance of cities, flexible infrastructures and digitalization. Regarding the governance of cities, the focus of the discussion was on developing formats for citizen participation and new forms of cooperation. For infrastructures in the context of an expanding city, flexibility and de-centrality were highlighted as key qualities of new infrastructures. Regarding the dimension of digitalization, participants stressed the need to carefully verify the added value of digital technologies and applications, as single digital technologies have the power to induce irreversible societal changes. In light of recently designated development areas in Berlin, participants saw a relevant field for transdisciplinary action in developing new models of sustainable housing construction and integrating spatial planning.

Library Trialog series 'City in motion'