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Living lab: City district 4.0
Early stage participation of citizens for a sustainable development in Baden-Württemberg


Digitalization of economy and society is one of the most comprehensive transformations in our time. Future challenges lie in managing the change towards an industry 4.0 as well as developing new life and working environments. Little is known about the impacts of digitalization on our cities and the citizens do not have an adequate understanding of the complexity of the process yet. Short time innovation cycles of digital products and processes stand in sharp contrast to the persistence of cities and their infrastructure. Planning and decision making is done on basis of conventional and strictly regulated practices and tools which are no longer appropriate for the challenges of our times. New forms of planning need to be developed. The research project „Living lab: City district 4.0“ addresses to two innovation fields:
  • Digitalization of planning and decision making processes in more and more complex situations under inclusion of all relevant actors
  • Digitalization of urban space as living and working place in a more and more digital society
Research questions
  • How can we integrate impact factors on future developments in cities into (digital) planning models? How can we possibly optimize this process of informal planning?
  • How can we make sure that the results of informal planning processes (e.g. scenario techniques, impact factors on future developments, (interactive) tools for visualization, (digital) participation formats) are compatible with formal planning processes?
  • What challenges and chances will have to be faced regarding the development of city districts in the future?
  • Which (normative) concepts of urban planning are adequate for today’s as well as future challenges?
  • What is the role of citizens and their local expertise for planning the future?
  • What are the tools that can help to improve the connection between the generation of ideas and urban planning as well as the interaction between citizens and administration?
  • We identify future challenges of city districts as well as digital tools to help optimize planning processes.
  • We investigate the potential of digital participation methods and visualization tools for involving citizens in the planning process of city districts.
  • We explore what kind of digital tools, participation methods etc. are suitable in the different stages of district developments.
  • We will develop a planning guideline for cities and communities. This guideline will suggest specific digital tools and participation methods for different stages of the planning process.

The research project „Reallabor Stadt: quartier 4.0“ is set for three years. Our strategy includes cooperation of science and public. We will develop new methods for urban planning using innovative experiments and interventions in city districts. These methods will be tested in so called „Living Labs“, which means that research will take place in real urban environments. The Living Labs are in Herrenberg and Stuttgart.

Project Partners
  • Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies University of Stuttgart
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, Stuttgart
  • High-Performance Computing Center (HLRS), Stuttgart
  • Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft und Technologiemanagement IAT, Stuttgart
  • Städtebau-Institut der Universität Stuttgart

Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg
Project duration: January 2016 to December 2018
Project staff: Dr. Michael Ruddat
Contact: Michael Ruddat

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