Antonella Radicchi

Antonella Radicchi

Architect and Urbanist, PhD

IS BERLIN A WALKABLE CITY?

1599px-Cityscape_Berlin
Figure above: Cityscape of Berlin. Image source: Wikimedia Commons, Ph.  Thomas Wolf  CC License.

DESCRIPTION

Seminar: B5 Bachelor Auftragsprojekt “Is Berlin a Walkable City?”
TU Berlin, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning | Winter Semester 2020/2021 | online course (4h/w)
Instructor: Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi

In the course of the XX century, high speed transport and the quest for efficiency degraded the walkable city. Hazardous high-speed traffic broke up the fine-grained pedestrian network and imposed barriers to free movement on foot. In forgoing the pedestrian experience, the street lost its intimate scale and transparency, and became a mere service road, devoid of public life. In the 1960s and 1970s, people started reclaiming the streets, demanding more public space, as was the emblematic case in the Village, NYC. More recently, in the past few decades, the knowledge of the social, environmental, economic and political benefits associated to walking has motivated European policy-makers and municipal planners to employ different policies and design interventions for the creation of pedestrian-friendly environments. Such efforts have ranged from complete pedestrianisation and closure of streets to traffic permanently or temporarily, to taming vehicular traffic through traffic calming, to encouraging a symbiotic relationship of multiple transportation modes. In Berlin, such as in Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, Vienna and other European cities, soft mobility is gaining momentum. Specifically, the Municipality of Berlin has taken action to create pedestrian-friendly environments by implementing a planning strategy grounded on 4 Pillars: 1) The Mobility Act, with a new branch focusing on foot traffic; 2) The “pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods” concept (that includes the “Temporary Play Streets” and the “Pedestrian-friendly Shopping Streets” concepts); 3) The creation of safe crossing; 4) The improvement of accessibility for pedestrians.

Within the context of this Projekt-Seminar the Municipality of Berlin will act as Project Partner and propose the following as potential case studies for investigation:

  • Assessment and street redesign of the crossing Steglitzer Damm /Bismarckstrasse to reorganise the traffic light system and create a safe crossing for pedestrians.
  • Assessment and redesign of the area Uhlandstr./Mecklenburgische Str. to favour the walkable connection between the two sections of the Volkspark Wilmersdorf.
  • Assessment of the “Pedestrian-friendly Shopping Street” concept implemented in Mitte Friedrichstr.
  • Identification and design proposal of new “Pedestrian-friendly Areas” in Berlin, in line with the pilots already implemented in Berlin and in other European cities.

A broad range of research methods can be applied for the investigation of the case studies, such as: literature and policy documents review, press scanning, interviews with stakeholders and local residents, spatial and statistical analysis, case study analysis, behaviouralmapping, ethnographic and auto-ethnographic methods.

For the investigation, the students will be invited to select the case studies they would like to investigate among the options proposed, and the research methods. They will be expected to organise themselves in small working groups, manage the work flow and elucidate the results of their study work in the final outputs of the project, with the support of the instructor.

By attending this Projekt-Seminar, the following learning objectives should be achieved: a) Knowledge acquisition about international policies and best practices regarding “walkable cities”, with a focus on the city of Berlin; b) Learning of and experimentation with research methods, data collection and analysis; c) Development of soft skills, such as: work and time management, critical thinking, oral and written communication, event planning, leadership, team building, conflict management.

YEAR

Winter Semester 2020/2021

PARTNERS

TU Berlin, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning.
Project Partners from the Berlin Municipality (in alphabetical order): Jörg Kaptain Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz; Saskia Leckel, Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz, Arbeitsgruppe Fußverkehrsinfrastruktur; Dan Orbeck Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz, Gruppenleiter „Fußverkehrsinfrastruktur“.