There was surprisingly little disagreement among the panelists of the first workshop discussion on 28 November 2019 on the topic “Urban Mobility – How shall we move tomorrow?”, which we initiated together with the International Design Center Berlin (IDZ). The evening of discussion with Leopold Fellinger, (Porsche Austria) Theresa Kalmer, (Urban Catalyst GmbH), Dr. Nadine Kuhla Bergmann (Creative Climate Cities) and Simon Wöhr (Team Radbahn) brought one thing to light above all else: Cooperation is needed to design our cities with a view to the future.
“The diesel scandal was a door opener”, explained Theresa Kalmer, who is involved in participatory projects for sustainable and environmentally friendly urban planning. That Leo Fellinger, of all people, as a representative of the automobile industry, agrees with her that the scandal was “healing” was perhaps not necessarily expected before the event. This consensus does not run through all the topics addressed during the evening – for example, the question of to what extent people are attached to their own cars and therefore might not want to do without them in the near future. But all four speakers agree that a rethinking in industry, politics and society must begin. Simon Wöhr calls for new images that should show people what urban space will look like in the future, what could be possible. Only by visualising trend-setting projects one could reach people and thus inspire them for innovations. Even the automotive industry has the moral responsibility for this, according to Leopold Fellinger. Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann adds that new visions are needed, which are developed jointly by citizens, industry, politics and urban planning experts. If the necessary institutional back-up from the administration was in place, many more participatory projects and experiments could be dared.
For not only the experts on the podium believe that technology optimism and buzzwords such as “Smart City” alone are not enough, but also some of the audience of the evening. Although resources or CO2 could perhaps be saved in this way, the question of data security, for example, is far from being solved.
For a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to urban development, all stakeholders from IT companies and industry, architects and designers to politics, administration and citizens must therefore develop a common vocabulary, find a common approach and not, as is often the case, think and act separately.
The panel collectively rejects the objection from the audience to think about the possibility of restricting people’s freedom of movement and transport in order to reduce the volume of traffic. It is a fundamental right and in the interest of everyone to enable each person to move freely to wherever she or he wants to go. After this fruitful evening of discussion, cooperation seems to be the key.