Cities in the knowledge-based society

We are convinced that science and education are the central factors that will drive social development in the 21st century. But do they change the face of our cities? In contrast to industrialization or the introduction of the automobile, educational establishments and research institutes can favorably influence the appearance of our cities in the future. Yet how do we build a city where knowledge is networked? How do we create places and spaces where innovation becomes manifest for all to experience? And how do we design such spaces so that they can be used as meeting places for all sorts of different milieus? The knowledge city of the future faces challenges that are complex and can only be met to a certain degree by traditional planning processes. We at the IBA Heidelberg are therefore seeking innovative solutions by experiments – beyond the customary day-to day planning.

Communication is key

Communication is key on the journey towards a knowledge society. Even if it appears to be increasingly globally structured, knowledge and education are ultimately a matter of people and therefore tied to places. Developing something new and communicating it to third parties normally requires close personal encounters and discussions, frequent and planned, as well as random and incidental. Despite Internet and smartphones, the basis for such intense communication is physical proximity. The generation of knowledge is directly linked to the city’s spatial structures and architecture: Knowledge creates a city. And a city creates knowledge.