Summer School

Prototyping Urban Futures

Starting point

Berlin faces many challenges in the course of digitalisation. New technologies promise a better understanding of spatial developments and communication processes. Whether computer science, art, urban development or public administration – all scientific disciplines need best practice examples and use cases. The Summer School provides space for this and explores the preconditions and effects of new technologies on various aspects of a changing city.

Project goal

The Summer School aims to demonstrate the added value of interdisciplinary cooperation to students at Berlin’s universities and partners in the field. At CityLAB we want to develop and use the existing synergies in interactive formats.

Project progression

Every year, CityLAB organises small hackathons on defined topics and challenges in cooperation with various universities and colleges. Students from different disciplines work together to find solutions, develop and test them, and share their results at a joint closing event. We build bridges by finding suitable partners in industry and providing methodological, technical and organisational support throughout the project. This is what has happened so far:

Summer School 2023: Prototyping a healthy Berlin

We wanted to prototype a healthy city with you! Berlin is facing increasing heat, demographic change, a highly challenged ecosystem, just to name a few challenges for urban space! In last year’s Summer School we put our focus on urban health and developed solutions in interdisciplinary and creative approaches.

Summer School 2023 blogpost

Summer School 2022: Open source meets green wave!

At the Summer School 2022, there was no speed limit for the spirit of research. Under the motto “Open Source meets Green Wave”, students of the HTW Berlin, supported by Prof. Dr. Olga Willner (HTW Berlin) and Sara Reichert (TU Berlin), dealt with the topic of cycle track infrastructure along the test track of the RealLabor Radbahn, directly under the viaduct at Görlitzer Bahnhof. Exciting practical impulses came from the surroundings of the Technology Foundation, in particular from CityLAB, as well as from the HTW Berlin, for example from the start-up FixMyCity or from the research project EdgeCity, which is working on innovative solutions for digital infrastructure in urban space. There were also exciting insights into the Reallabor Radbahn project, which is tinkering with the future of cycling.

Summer School 2022 blogpost

Summer School 2021: Prototypes for the Smart City

Using model projects from the CityLAB Berlin environment, we developed prototypes that create sustainable innovations. We asked ourselves the question: “What is the untapped potential of closely intertwined, digitally supported, ecological and social systems?” The experimental prototypes we worked on during the two virtual weeks were based on these three pillars:

  1. Agile administration-designing administrative processes in a citizen*friendly way and removing hurdles.
  2. Designing participative urban design processes that enable citizens to identify and name potentials and problems and to solve them with the help of digital tools.
  3. Develop smart technology prototypes and think through the sustainable implementation of technical solutions.

Summer School 2021 event page

Summer School 2020: Your trip to the digital city

During Summer School 2020, we not only gathered and deepened technological knowledge, but also discussed the structures and processes needed to implement modern, data-driven planning decisions. Based on projects at Tempelhofer Feld, Potsdamer Platz and Lichtenberg, we worked with scientists, experts and students from various universities to explore how to make the implementation of technological innovations more tangible. Partner organisations from the public, private and non-profit sectors provided us with data and presented challenges that Berlin and other metropolitan areas are currently facing. For two weeks, interdisciplinary teams worked together on these projects.

Summer School 2020 event page and video

Summer School 2019: Data-driven urban innovation

Growing urban populations, combined with global challenges ranging from digitalisation to climate change, mean that cities need new innovative ideas and solutions. As part of our first CityLAB Summer School, around 35 students developed prototypes for a better Berlin in September. The aim was to generate new insights, tools and a better understanding of how our cities need to change and adapt to modern challenges. Partner organisations such as Deutsche Bahn, Technologiestiftung Berlin and others provided up-to-date data. Whether it’s smart traffic cameras, a more transparent housing market or shorter canteen queues – we presented two prototypes at the CityLAB exhibition:

– Intervening Südkreuz – Applied Data Analysis
– Beyond Sanssouci: A Closer Look at Potsdam in 17.471 Flats

Summer School 2019 event page and gallery

Next steps?

Summer School 2024

After the Summer School is before the Summer School! We are planning to organise another Summer School in 2024! We will publish all the information on our website in good time.

In the meantime, come and visit our exhibition and explore the Radbahnflow, a green wave assistant created during the 2022 Summer School.

Get in touch