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Presenting prospects for »future city 2050«

Globalisation, urbanisation, climate change and digitalisation – these represent the burning issues of our time. The key players from urban planning and architecture therefore need to declare their position as well. Consequently, a one-week, interdisciplinary university conference on the topic of “Future City 2050” took place in Detmold and Bielefeld in September.

Far removed from everyday business, it gave Master's students and experts the opportunity to talk about the future of the city and develop unconventional approaches to solutions through workshops, presentations and group discussions. The conference was hosted by the Detmold School of Architecture and Interior Architecture (Ostwestfalen-Lippe (OWL) University of Applied Sciences) together with Schüco International KG as partners of the “Science Year 2015 – City of the Future” initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The conference was launched with a three-day workshop at the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences in Detmold. In ten international teams of six to eight participants, Master's students from International Façade Design and Construction, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Building courses examined the current status-quo in the four metropolitan regions of Mumbai, Lagos, Bogotá, Berlin and the regiopolis of East Westphalia-Lippe as examples. In a second step, they developed potential scenarios for “future cities and schools”. In their own words, the young participants found the topic very accessible, and the exchanges between the cultures and disciplines in particular were a source of inspiration for their work:

“The composition of the groups with members from different specialist areas led to constructive, complex results. Through the exchange and mixture of structural thinking and creative ideas, we were able to gain unique experiences,” commented Interior Architecture student Verena Solle on the Berlin 2 workshop, for example. Using virtual school construction projects, the students from Egypt, Syria and India among other countries, discussed socio-political topics and tackled issues relating to urban planning and mobility, energy provision and the requirements placed on façades. The results reflected a wide variety of design options: from the “floating” school through to a modular building system, from the concept of eating together as the key to education through to learning in “migratory” classes as an alternative approach to lecture-style teaching. The second part of the conference – a two-day symposium with talks given by experts and group discussions – took place at the Schüco International KG conference centre in Bielefeld. To begin with, the students presented the results of the workshop – an exhibit of their work provided the guests and speakers with wide-ranging sources of inspiration over the following days. Following this, Professor Eckhard Gerber (Gerber Architekten) and Professor Axel Häusler (OWL University of Applied Sciences) gave an insight into the relationship between town planning and architecture, as well as the increasing digitalisation of the world in which we live. An interdisciplinary panel discussion then dealt with the key topics of the day in more detail.

On the second day of the symposium, speakers from universities and economics, including Professor Thomas Auer (TU München, Transsolar), Dr Alexander Rieck (Fraunhofer IAO, L-A-V-A) and Professor Winfried Heusler (OWL University of Applied Sciences, Schüco International KG) shifted the focus onto the topics of “people, space and technology”, “construction products and processes” and “façades in the urban environment of the future” in their presentations and panel discussions. Despite how varied and, in some instances, controversial the topics and arguments discussed were, there was a general consensus with regard to the aim of this event: designing a “future city” means taking responsibility together and presenting prospects for people from all walks of life – beyond national borders.