There is rapid urban growth worldwide as more and more people move to megacities. Free-flowing traffic in urban areas seems to be a utopian vision. Without such traffic flow, there are disadvantages for the quality of life, the environment and the appearance of cities. Experts from fields such as architecture, urban planning, trend research, economics and the automobile industry thus have a responsibility to react to this major trend flexibly and with a variety of strategies.
The aim of the symposium, to which more than 300 international experts from various disciplines have been invited, is to build knowledge networks. How will the urban space and mobility have to develop in order to meet the demands of cities in the future?
In addition to introductory speeches, the proposals of architects Jürgen Mayer H., Bjarke Ingels and Alison Brooks for the Audi Urban Future Award 2010 will form the basis of the discussions. The Audi Urban Future Insight Team, too, will have an active part. This team, which was set up at Audi especially for the Initiative, operates across departments and introduces the discourse on urban life and mobility into the company.
The visions developed for the Award have been summarized for the Summit 2011 into three principal thematic areas: Networks, social cooperation and resource management. In Frankfurt each of these issues will be explored in a distinct workshop.
The workshop “Energies of Data – Networked City” is based on the Award-winning design by Jürgen Mayer H. This workshop will deal with the question of how far the city of the future will be shaped by networks. Will automated driving, personalized electronic systems and social networks generate sustainable changes in urban environment and individual mobility?
Bjarke Ingels’ theses for the Award take up issues associated with the theme “Energies of Resources – City of Abundance”. Networks, into which data on energy sources, participants in traffic and infrastructure are fed, could improve the flow of traffic. This would result in surplus energy and free, interactively usable surfaces. Can cars and buildings thus make use of the same flexible energy storage instead of being reliant on static systems of energy supply?
Alison Brooks’ proposal for the Award is founded on concepts of social interaction. It forms the basis for the third issue, “Energies of Social Relations – City of Cooperation”. If it is assumed that the city of the future consists of many heterogeneous areas, social interaction will be enhanced. New forms of neighborly cooperation will emerge: will social exchange, common use and neighborhood assistance thus take the place of individual ownership in some areas?
Internationally renowned experts will introduce these themes with introductory speeches. Carlo Ratti, an engineer and architect at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will speak on the subject of networks; Ludger Hovestadt, architect and professor at the ETH Zurich, on the field of resources. In conclusion Charles Leadbeater, author, consultant and trend researcher, will speak about his view of social cooperation in the urban space.
The introductory speech by social scientist and economist Saskia Sassen marks an important theoretical foundation for the discussion. As an expert on the subject of cities and globalization, she makes an emphatic call for an interdisciplinary exchange among researchers: “We must think of mobility as a sort of black box that has many more facets than those defined by current technologies,“ says Saskia Sassen.
Audi is the first automobile company to gather important players around one table in order to connect international experts, overcome deadlocked ways of thinking and chart a sustainable course for a mobile urban future.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of AUDI AG for Marketing and Sales, comments on the pioneering role of the company: “For the first time an automobile company is actively engaging in the debate. We are taking a truly holistic view of the urban space and then taking the debate into our company. Today the automobile is a determining factor in the appearance of cities, but in functional terms it is, in principle, completely isolated. In future however, automobiles will be involved and intensively networked. Audi is already doing the preparatory work for this today.“
For further information about the Audi Urban Future Initiative and the Summit 2011, please refer to www.audi-urban-future-initiative.com.