Imagine: What if your district suddenly had a lot of open space because there were no more cars parked there? What would be possible? Would you like to have a public barbecue area? Would you like to play boules outdoors? Or would you like to create a green oasis with others? Or do you have completely different ideas? Such impulses were given to citizens by researchers and students of the HFT Stuttgart at the action day of the Labor Nordbahnhof.
"The essential question is, how would neighbors like to live at Nordbahnhof in the future?", explain the initiators of the action day the urban planners Carolin Lahode and Sarah Ann Sutter. Because with the construction of the new Rosenstein Quarter, a lot will change in the Nordbahnhof Quarter. In the district "Auf der Prag" and at the Wagenhallen, too, many things are to be completely rethought – participatively – together with citizens. Until the end of 2022, the Nordbahnhof Laboratory will be working on the development of the district.
The action day on July 30 was part of the launch of Labor Nordbahnhof. The project is supported by the M4_LAB of the HFT Stuttgart within the framework of the federal-state initiative "Innovative Hochschule". Employees from various disciplines of the HFT Stuttgart participate in the Labor Nordbahnhof: Urban Planning, Business Psychology, Energy Technology, Geoinformatics, Mobility and Building Acoustics.
For the summer day of activities, students and researchers had developed ideas and concepts and set up various stations, so-called real experiments on the topics of acoustics, energy, mobility and participation.
Above all, the goal was to get into conversation with neighbors. For example, the "Mobility" team exchanged ideas with interested parties about alternative forms of use in public space and – incidentally – had set up a small barbecue corner. In a small box, each passerby could leave notes with his or her own ideas and wishes. The scientists also captured atmospheric images: The passers-by were asked to stick colored dots on posters – which form of mobility they use the most: Bicycle, walking, car, car-sharing, bike-sharing, public transport.
The "Stadtbeet2go" team invited people to garden in their experimental field. For this purpose, it developed a mobile raised bed on four wheels from wooden crates with a self-made construction – a suspended bucket with mini hoses as an irrigation system. Rainwater is collected in the bucket for watering the raised bed.
"We want to raise awareness for sustainable use of rainwater with the development of the neighborhood," said HFT students Vera Delfs, Heike Marschall and Charline Girodon. If there were such mobile raised beds in many places in the urban space, this would not only be a splash of color in the midst of concrete, but also a countermeasure to sealed surfaces in the city. During heavy rainfall, rainwater could seep away better in the beds, according to the students' approach. Visitors were given information and a flyer with instructions for building the raised bed, as well as a shovel so that they could dig in vegetable plants such as peppers, tomatoes or zucchini themselves.
Team Akustik – Sound of Nordbahnhof created a special magnet for children and young people on the day of activities. What does the Nordbahnhof neighborhood actually sound like? Using oversized headphones, they were able to listen to a wide variety of sounds from the neighborhood. What does the streetcar, the construction site, the bicycle bell sound like? What does it sound like when a tree in front of a building muffles the noise? With a sound box, the listeners could mix their own Nordbahnhof beat.
Last but not least, the Participation Team worked with passers-by to assemble a mobile table and chairs that can be used in a variety of ways in the neighborhood. These are flexible pieces of furniture that can be converted and adapted to the surroundings in a very short time. A concept that is used in various rooms at the HFT, but can also be transferred to public spaces. Such furniture has already been developed for "creative spaces" with the support of M4_LAB. The effect: mobile street furniture creates seating in public spaces that are often in very short supply – for lingering or having a chat.
Towards evening, the students had to break down their tents again due to the weather – richer by many suggestions for the further exploration of the Labor Nordbahnhof. Now they are evaluating which impulses could be given and how the neighborhood can be sustainably developed together with the citizens.