Institut für Freiraumentwicklung Forschung Forschungsprojekte
Internationales Symposium „Let´s walk urban landscapes. New Pathways inDesign Research“

Internationales Symposium „Let´s walk urban landscapes. New Pathways inDesign Research“

Leitung:  Prof. Dr. Martin Prominski; Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Antje Stokman (Universität Stuttgart); Prof. Dr. IR Hille v. Seggern
Jahr:  2015
Förderung:  VolkswagenStiftung
Laufzeit:  01.-03. September 2015
Ist abgeschlossen:  ja
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Two global growth processes set the frame for the symposium “Let´s walk urban landscapes”: First, the continuous expansion of “urban landscapes”, as the majority of the world´s population is turning into urban dwellers who influence all landscapes by their urban lifestyles, and second the increasing importance of design research for the production of knowledge. Within this frame, the symposium sought to explore new pathways to transform urban landscapes through innovative design research approaches.
For this purpose, the STUDIO URBANE LANDSCHAFTEN as the organizer of the symposium had invited an interdisciplinary, international group of 174 people who are engaged in the fields of urban landscapes and/ or design research approaches. These participants came from universities, practice, PhD and Master programmes.
The three-day event started with introductory lectures and a discussion on different aspects such as design research theory (Martin Prominski), the design theory and practice approach of the STUDIO URBANE LANDSCHAFTEN (Hille von Seggern) or the role of design research in research policy making (Sabine Kunst). Henrik Schultz introduced the workshop sessions scheduled for the afternoon in his lecture on the potential of walking as a research method for designing large scale urban landscapes. The participants had been randomly distributed into six different workshop groups, each focusing on a specific design method of creating knowledge for designing urban landscapes. All workshops were led by members of the STUDIO URBANE LANDSCHAFTEN who had developed these design methods over many years, e.g. through PhD research, and they were supported by an external expert of the respective field: Navigating (Sigrun Langner + Catherine D’ Ignazio), Wandern (Henrik Schultz + Till Krause), Setting Out (Julia Werner + Saskia Hebert), Storytelling (Anke Schmidt + Nathan Burr), Playing (Christiane Kania + Bignia Wehrli) and Moving (Elisa Serra + Emanuele Braga). These workshops provided the participants with a specific methodological foundation for the design research experiment on day two, the core of this experimental symposium: Each one walked one of six proposed areas of Hanover´s urban landscape and explored it physically, mentally and emotionally. After returning to Herrenhausen Palace in the afternoon, people creatively expressed their findings in a collective pop-up exhibition (“Meshwork”) in the ballroom of the palace. Hence, all participants of the conference were active contributors to the conference by integrating research and practice.
In the morning of day three, the findings were intensively discussed by five reflection teams as well as the participants. Four lectures by Helga Nowotny, Antje Stokman, Dirk Sijmons and Christian Gänshirt followed, each sketching new pathways for design research. The symposium ended with the plenary discussion “Walking towards the future”, proposing scenarios for transformative design research in urban landscape design.
In summary, the experimental approach of actively integrating every participant in a knowledge creating process proved to be successful. In addition to general knowledge about design research, each participant acquired specific methodological design research tools. Through walking, they engaged physically, mentally and emotionally with an urban landscape in Hannover and entered a creative process of understanding which was represented in the projects of the meshwork. The reflection of the meshwork made clear that methodological design research tools which particularly include active engagement with an urban landscape are an excellent foundation for producing new knowledge.