Design and Politics: the next phase
6 - Moving Cities, Meaning and Mobility

Monday, 20 January 2012

The 6th event in a series of seven thematic debates taking place in 2011 / 2012.  'Design and Politics: the next phase' was initiated by ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory in collaboration with Henk Ovink, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. How do we examine and appreciate the mutually influential relationships between transport modes and nodes, movement patterns, population shifts, and urban fabric and composition? What are the key planning tasks around this next stage of network mobility? Is it the regional scale, the network, the hub, or the individual scale - or all four - that is most critical when it comes to making city?

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Statements and Discussion

Part I
Welcome and Introduction
Beate Engelhorn
, Curator, Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin - 00:00 - 02:25
Bart Hofstede, Head of Press and Culture, Dutch Embassy in Berlin - 02:26 - 05:25
Henk Ovink, Director for National Spatial Planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - 05:30 - 17:21

Rients Dijkstra
,  Founding partner, Maxwan Architects and Urbanists, Rotterdam - 00:00:00 - 00:11:40
Marc Wolfram, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden - 00:11:50 - 00:19:00
Paul Gerretsen, Director of The Deltametropolis Association, Rotterdam - 00:19:05 - 00:27:30

Podium Discussion - 00:27:35 - 01:43:55
moderated by Henk Ovink, Director for National Spatial Planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
with: Rients Dijkstra; Marc Wolfram; Paul Gerretsen; and Philipp Rode, Executive Director and Senior Research Fellow LSE Cities / Urban Age Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London; Florian Lennert, Innovation Center for Mobility and Corporate Change (InnoZ), Berlin; Peter Haimerl, Founding partner of Studio for Architecture und Consulting, Munich; Hubert Klumpner, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Institute of Urban Design/ NSL, ETH Zurich; Oliver Schütte, Founding partner A01 Architects, Costa Rica and Utrecht; Martin Ertl, Chief Innovation Officer Transportation, Bombardier Berlin; Dirk Heinrichs, Institute of Transport Research, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Berlin

Henk Ovink framed the debate with the observation that city-ness emerges when people economise at the points of overlap between physical and social hubs. He noted that the explosive growth of city regions and the increasing complexity of transportation systems have led to the development of opportunity-generating networks that transcend their functional role. He concluded with a series of questions: What is the nature of the relationship between mobility and the physical fabric of the city? How can planning facilitate networked mobility? What is the critical scale for mobility in terms of making city?

Podium presentations then raised a number of issues, such as the fact that ‘empirical research is critical for the future of mobility and urbanism’ [Rients Dijkstra]; that ‘governance should be the subject of design’ [Marc Wolfram]; and a call for ‘the network city in which new growth is based on access to mobility rather than outdated boundaries’ [Paul Gerretsen].

Regarding the necessary context for a discussion of mobility, there was broad agreement that the future of mobility will be affected by sustainability, limited economic growth and scarce public funding. A consideration of the most critical scale for mobility then led to discussion of the mismatch between the regional scale of urgent mobility issues and government structures concentrating decision-making at the national and the city levels.

Discussion regarding design focused on the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and integrated innovation but also warned that disciplines must operate within their areas of competence.  It was agreed that new integrated mobility strategies must be formulated that utilise smart cards or a mobile telephone-driven interface. The need to reduce car and air travel, the potential for high-speed rail and growing demand for the transport of consumer goods were also discussed and debated.

There was also discussion regarding the need for trial-and-error testing the local scale in order to build a body of real-world empirical evidence and facilitate learning. And related to the issue of experimentation, it was argued that an alternative to conventional short-term cost-benefit analysis is required for the assessment of mobility-related proposals. It was suggested that this effort should incorporate public consultation, qualitative criteria such as passenger comfort and productivity, ‘real prices’ taking long-term factors into account and clear targets for sustainability and mobility access.

Summary by Matthew Beattie for ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory

We would like to thank the following institutions and enterprises for their generous support:
Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment
Netherlands Architecture Fund
Dutch Embassy in Berlin
Pfefferberg - Haus 13
Kling und Freitag

ANCB Programme


Collaborative Project

For a full summary please click here


ANCB Partners

© ANCB, Berlin