As part of the Urban Future Conference - one of the most important conferences for sustainable cities in Europe - researchers from the iCity sub-project Streetmoves4iCity organized a field trip with 12 participants in Leonhardsvorstadt / Stuttgart on June 23. The goal of this field trip was to give the participants an insight into possible scenarios to reduce car traffic and noise and to increase the quality of stay in this neighborhood.
The spatial-programmatic handling of traffic in Stuttgart was shown and discussed on a route from the old city center through an exemplary, new type of street and an inner-city federal road. The case study of Leonhardsplatz was included to reveal the status quo as a basis for experimentation.
The business psychology team used virtual, mixed and augmented reality to place the participants in three different scenarios, which were intended to make it possible to experience the effects of a reduction in car traffic. Afterwards, a short survey was used to evaluate which of the technologies used most likely enabled the participants to put themselves in the future situation. In the first scenario (virtual reality), the participants saw a 360-degree video of a redesigned traffic-calmed street in Mannheim. They were able to rotate in all directions in the environment and thus perceive the street from different perspectives. The second scenario (virtual reality) showed the redesigned Leonhardsplatz as a programmed environment. Here it was shown how this square could look like with more green spaces. The participants were able to move freely in the virtual world with the help of a joystick. In the third scenario (Mixed Reality), the participants gathered directly on Leonhardsplatz and saw the real environment through the AR glasses, which was cross-faded in places by virtual elements. The overlays also showed the square with more green spaces and seating. The technical development of this augmented reality, especially spatially correct superimposition of the virtual environment partially hidden by real objects, was done by the geoinformatics team in the Streetmoves4iCity project. The third scenario was perceived most immersively by most participants, i.e. here they were able to put themselves in the situation best.
The acoustic aspects were illuminated by the building physics team. The participants experienced very different acoustic scenarios of the city on the short walk from the meeting point Hans-im-Glück-Brunnen via Eberhardstraße and Hauptstätter Straße (B14) to Leonhardsplatz. Here the concept "Soundwalk" was introduced. By means of appropriate indications, the otherwise only peripherally perceived sounds became at least temporarily the focus of perception during the walk. While construction noise prevailed at the Hans-im-Glück-Brunnen (pedestrian zone), it was pleasantly quiet in the Eberhardstraße (bicycle street). Continuing through a small pedestrian zone to Hauptstätter Straße, traffic noise then dominated there. At Leonhardsplatz itself, the traffic noise from Hauptstätter Straße is somewhat shielded by the Leonhardskirche. The traffic present there (parking lot search, delivery traffic) then leads to short-term disturbances when staying, for example, during conversations. At Leonhardsplatz, a survey was conducted with the participants on the acoustic perception of the surroundings there. An acoustic camera was used to show the participants how sound sources (usually passing vehicles) can be localized and their noise visualized. The acoustic camera uses the measurement results of a large number of microphones arranged next to each other to localize sound sources and displays the results as an acoustic video. For the majority of participants, the traffic noise of the vehicles passing directly on Leonhardsplatz was particularly disturbing, as it interrupted conversations or significantly reduced speech intelligibility.