Marcus, what happened at IGSI´s first UrbanLab and who took part?
Marcus Jeutner, head of IGSI network:
Our smart city network IGSI invited 100 Indian urban planners and students to a three-day UrbanLab in New Delhi from 12 to 14 July, 2017. During the event we used our IGSI planning methods which put citizens first place to address an actual Smart City Proposal by the Indian government: the transformation of Connaught Place, one of the most iconic areas and major traffic hub in New Delhi, into a pedestrian zone.
To bring the Connaught Place-Smart City Proposal into practice, the Indian participants developed ideas, strategies as well as tangible solutions and visualisations in the form of small models and other prototypes in cooperation with eight German planning experts and scientists from leading planning companies and research institutions (architecture, urban planning, urban design, mobility, infrastructure development, waste management, governance). The UrbanLab has also been supported by experts of our network partners: School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi and the National Institute of Urban Affairs.
New questions regarding an old challenge
We started the UrbanLab by answering a range of detailed questions that are concealed by the major challenge: What is the right starting point for planning? What do we consider? What does it mean for local people, if the area is turned into a pedestrian zone? What is going to change for people who run a business, are street vendors or simply live in or frequent the area? How can the different traffic systems be integrated and how can, for example, bicycle traffic be integrated and organised in the intended pedestrian zone?
A photo documentation of the local situation as well as interviews with the many stakeholders on Connaught Place – business operators, street vendors, residents, pedestrians – have been created in advance in a joint effort with students of the SPA as part of the new online class. With this approach we were providing junior scientists with small practical exercises that are an important basis for our UrbanLabs and are also raising awareness of human needs as a foundation for urban development projects.
By working on actual planning tasks, the participants of our UrbanLabs investigated programmatic gaps in recent smart city proposals and experienced methods of integrated and collaborative planning processes, which set individuals and users of urban spaces in the centre of the planning process.
12th of July, 2017
Conference “Indian and German perspectives towards Smart Cities” Dialogue of Indian and German scientists, representatives of governmental institutions and planning experts
13th of July, 2017
Workshop on basic design principles and guidelines for Connaught Place
14th of July, 2017
Workshop on specific solutions and their presentation