Review of Innen.Stadt.Leben. #3
Participation, creativity, and improvisation as engines of urban future
  • Date

    March 24, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

  • Location

    Aedes Network Campus Berlin, Christinenstr. 18-19, 10119 Berlin

  • Speakers

    Dr. Anne Schmedding (Head of Foundation Projects of the Stiftung Berliner Leben)

    Dimitri Hegemann (Founder of Tresor, Berlin, and Managing Director of Kraftwerk Berlin and Happy Locals)

    Christopher Dell (Urban planner, musician, componist)

  • Moderation

    Alexander Gutzmer (Architecture journalist and Cultural scientist)

    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer


  • Partner

The third installment of “Innen.Stadt.Leben.”, our joint event series that we organize with and holds on the premises of Aedes Network Campus Berlin (ANCB), took place on March 24, 2022 under the heading “Participation, creativity, and improvisation as engines of urban future”.

Although Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer could only attend virtually due to a positive COVID test, and although Cornelia Zuschke (Planning Officer of the City of Düsseldorf), who was actually announced and who also tested positive for COVID, was replaced at the last minute by Dr. Anne Schmedding, the panel carried on as casually and precisely as if they’d already met a thousand times. They all agreed that despite the obstacles, there are spaces for opportunities and opportunities for spaces in the city, town, and country, everywhere and always.

Urban interventions like flashmobs, guerilla gardens, pop-up clubs, etc., celebrate spontaneity, creativity, and improvisation. They stand alongside or in opposition to plannability dogmas, which often enough prove to be far removed from the citizenry. However, citizens are ready and willing to participate. What would such a process look like? Where are the options for vitalizing urban spaces, for example, through culture? Or for identifying and coming to grips with these spaces through collective and participatory bottom-up processes?

The crisis of retail spaces, evident from empty ground floors and deserted upper stories, is calling into question the outdated model of monofunctional streetscapes, pedestrian zones, and depopulated city centers. The effects of the digital transformation of retail and of the work and experience society on the city center were intensified by the pandemic. The search for methods for (re)vitalizing the city centers or preventing their devastation is complex. The mobility transition and the urgent imperative to practice consistently sustainable building are at least as relevant as, for example, digitization. It isn’t just a question of architecture and urban planning. It’s a duty to society as a whole. Significant approaches to the problem include the transformation and mixed use of buildings in the city center as well as the creation of more public (meeting) places. Living, working, infrastructure, retail, culture, and leisure must be recombined in a future-ready – meaning sustainable – symbiosis.

“Innen.Stadt.Leben” is a joint event series organized by ANCB and caspar., the architectural firm founded in 2004 by Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer. His book “Retail in Transition” (2021, JOVIS) serves as a starting point for four discussions involving representatives from different sectors, each with a different perspective on a problem that can be resolved only by visualizing and harmonizing as many approaches as possible.

Photos: © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

About “Innen.Stadt.Leben.”

About “Retail in Transition”