Focus group 4: Experimental City

Focus group 4 / Experimental City develops new, participatory formats at the interface of science and urban development; social and technological innovations are tested and implemented in the urban area.

The focus group „Experimental City“ initiates and promotes the exchange for open questions of the urban society. Stakeholders include urban society as well as universities, city administration, business, local initiatives and politics. Synergies and cooperations are being used to break new, innovative ground and to tackle the problems and challenges of urban society. Dortmund can thus become a pioneer of scientifically based social innovation and innovative urban development. In addition to this approach, the development of existing university and science locations will also be accompanied.

The work of focus group 4 is essentially carried out in three strands:

  1. Debate spaces and real laboratories for open questions in urban society.
  2. New urban neighborhoods: Innovation space SMART RHINO
  3. Development of existing university and science locations

The focus group focuses on the development of novel, participatory formats and is in exchange with the other thematic groups, especially focus group 1 „Science City and Cultural Metropolis„. The work is strongly project-oriented.

Debate space and livinglabs for open questions on urban society

Debate spaces are used to promote an exchange between the urban society on urgent requirements, problems and issues. To kick off the „experimental city“, the aim is to develop places and formats that initiate, promote and provide space for exchange and debate. This is to be done in two directions: The citizens are invited to visit the scientific institutions within the framework of open event formats and to inform themselves about current research topics. In addition, it is planned that representatives of the scientific institutions will meet citizens in their everyday environment.

Concrete projects on site („livinglabs“) will be derived from the debate spaces. In these livinglabs, solutions will be developed and tested experimentally together with the urban society, interested citizens and with the involvement of science. Successful projects are examined for their transferability.

New urban quarters: Innovation space SMART RHINO

Findings from successfully implemented debate spaces, projects and reallabs are to be incorporated into the planning and development of new urban quarters and used as an innovation laboratory. This is to be tested, applied and implemented above all in the SMART RHINO pilot project. Here, there is an opportunity to design and implement the interplay of living, learning, researching and working in an innovative, smart and digital way. The planned future campus of the Fachhochschule Dortmund – University of Applied Sciences and Arts plays a central role with regard to science.

Future perspective development HSP area – SMART RHINO (photo: Thelen Gruppe)

Development of existing university and science locations

As part of the first phase of the Science 1.0 master plan, a „Campus 2030“ concept was developed in cooperation with the stakeholders involved. This concept outlines the future development of the university, science and technology campus in Dortmund and was agreed upon by all stakeholders as a common mission statement. This concept was adopted by the City Council of Dortmund in December 2016. It serves as a joint decision-making basis for the future development of this location and offers scope for individual design wishes. Joint monitoring is intended to ensure that a review of the guiding principles takes place in order to guarantee and further improve the attractiveness of the location.

North Campus and Technology Park (photo: TU Dortmund University/Peter Sondermann)

Planned procedure and project ideas

Successful, activating participation of urban society actors and interested citizens requires that they participate in the brainstorming and conception of the projects. Therefore, projects are not defined in the Master Plan Science 2.0 itself, but are developed out of the experimental debate spaces or the livinglabs.

Close cooperation with existing initiatives, such as „nordwärts“, is sought. Here, the planned participation formats within the framework of SMART RHINO should be highlighted in particular. SMART RHINO offers the space for active and innovative citizen participation with various forums and formats (participation and involvement concept SMART RHINO).

Further interfaces of the focus group 4 / Experimental City exist with the model project Smart City, which is funded via the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs (BMI), as well as with the Ruhr Academy on Smart Metropolitan Transformation and the think tank anchored there. The think tank sees itself as an interdisciplinary think tank. Here, scientifically innovative contributions from the participating representatives of the research institutions and other participating partners are coordinated in order to envision the future of the city using the example of the innovation space Dortmund and to test it in the sense of a real laboratory (Head: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiechmann (TU Dortmund University) & Prof. Dr. Andrea Kienle (Fachhochschule Dortmund – University of Applied Sciences and Arts) in cooperation with the Office of Higher Education and Science).

Kick-off of the think tank at the Union-Gewerbehof
(Photo: City of Dortmund/Angela Märtin)

Topics and matters of students

Around 54,000 people, students are important partners* in the Science Master Plan. The student body is actively involved in the master plan process. Through the AStA of the TU Dortmund University and the Fachhochschule Dortmund – University of Applied Sciences and Arts, student representatives have been nominated to participate in the thematic groups and committees. In focus group 4, two student representatives are part of the team of spokespersons. In addition, cooperation is to be intensified in the future through regular exchange, thematic workshops and „idea forging“.

Main topics of the students: Student life & housing, mobility & public transport, participation, digitalization, diversity& sustainability.

(Photo: TU Dortmund University/Aliona Kardash)