Accompanying research for the IBA Heidelberg by the Urban Office of Heidelberg University

Real-life laboratory for “Sustainable Urban Development in the Knowledge Society”

The first IBA with live accompanying research

Evaluation is an important directional tool to ensure the effectiveness of your own work. Have your actions been successful? How good is the quality of the project work? How can we measure our project success? Frequently the quality and sustainability of a project are only evaluated once it has concluded. We are the first IBA to make certain our work is scientifically monitored and evaluated while the projects are still in progress. Since the IBA Heidelberg considers itself a “learning organization”, the results of this scientific monitoring will then be inputted into our work and enable us to adjust our course early on where necessary.

A city becomes a research laboratory

The “Sustainable Urban Development in the Knowledge Society” Real-Life Laboratory is dedicated specifically to the research of the IBA Heidelberg. This format, which is supported by the State of Baden-Württemberg, will strengthen cooperation between academia and society in specific ways: In the real-life laboratory, researchers from entirely different disciplines can tap into real change processes and monitor them scientifically. The same applies in Heidelberg: Scientists from Heidelberg University working in a huge variety of disciplines including geography, sociology, social sciences, gerontology and geoinformatics are dealing with various aspects of urban transformation up until 2017. To this end, an “urban office” was set up at Heidelberg University. This brings the university, the city, the IBA and partners in practice around one table and bundles activities from research and practice.

The real-life laboratory accompanies IBA_PROJEKT B³ and IBA_KANDIDAT Knowledge Storehouse

The real-life laboratory examines various aspects of the IBA Heidelberg quite specifically in three sub-projects:

▸ Sub-Project 1 deals with the geographical perspectives, with the transformation of city districts and the development of new districts as a result of a knowledge-oriented city development. Here the researchers are using four spatial examples – Bahnstadt, Patton Barracks, Campbell Barracks and the US hospital – to examine knowledge-based urban development in Heidelberg. The project management here has been assigned to the professorship of North American geography at the geographical institute of Heidelberg University.

▸ In Sub-Project 3 the Institute for Sociology is working with the Center for Social Investments (CSI), as well as the University of Speyer and the IBA Heidelberg on a three-year project for research accompanying the development of the intergenerational learning center “B³ Gadamerplatz – Bildung, Betreuung, Begegnung” – (“B³ Gadamerplatz – Education, Support, Encounters”) in Heidelberg’s Bahnstadt.

▸ In Sub-Project 4, the energy transformation in situ is being scientifically monitored: Using the example of the IBA_KANDIDAT Future and Knowledge Storehouse Energy and Technology, the local energy transformation in Heidelberg is examined for its communication between citizens and local actors. In the context of the IBA, an integrative concept for the Knowledge Storehouse Energy and Technology is being planned, which rethinks the conveyance of theoretical and practical knowledge on energy supply and sustainability.

June 2 and 3, 2016 | Inauguration of “One Year of Urban Office”

On June 2 and 3, 2016, the real-life laboratory invites guests to the ceremonial inauguration of “One Year of Urban Office” / Real-Life Laboratory “Sustainable Urban Development in the Knowledge Society”: There will be welcoming addresses, a festive lecture and more. Alongside the celebrations, initial experiences will be exchanged with all those interested in various academic formats, with future visions developed and further processes initiated. Both days should offer an inspiring framework in which to bring together the actors of the Heidelberg Urban Office/ Real-Life Laboratory and interested individuals from related spheres such as politics, administration, planning and interest groups, as well as citizens and residents, students, academia, research, art and business, with the aim of stimulating discussion.