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 & 2021/2022 | online / onsite course (4h/w)
Instructor: Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi

In 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 with walking has motivated European policy-makers and municipal planners to employ sustainable policies and design interventions for creating pedestrian-friendly environments. Such efforts have ranged from complete pedestrianisation and permanently or temporarily closure of streets to traffic to encouraging a symbiotic relationship of multiple transportation modes. In Berlin, such as in Paris, Barcelona, Milan and other European cities, soft and pedestrian mobility is gaining momentum. Specifically, the Municipality of Berlin has taken action to create pedestrian-friendly environments by implementing a planning strategy grounded on four pillars:

1. The Mobility Act, with a new branch focusing on pedestrian mobility;
2. The development of “pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods”;
3. The creation of safe crossing;
4. The improvement of accessibility for pedestrians.

Against this backdrop, these research-informed project studio courses aim to investigate whether and to which extent this planning strategy is progressing towards the goal of making Berlin a walkable city, by working on the following case studies:

  • 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.
  • Making a map (and related descriptive database) of the temporary and permanent pedestrian-friendly projects implemented in Berlin.

For the investigation of these case studies, a definition of “walkable city” will be provided by the students and used as a lens through which to analyse the case studies. The students will be required to organise themselves in small working groups, select a case study among the three proposed, choose the research methods, manage the workload for the analysis and assessment of the case studies, present the progress work during the course of the semester by means of presentations and report the results of their work in the final outputs of the project studio courses.

A broad range of research methods can be applied for the investigation of the case studies such as review and content analysis of literature and policy documents, media and press scanning, interviews with stakeholders and local residents, statistics, spatial analysis, behavioural and mind mapping, sensory ethnographic methods (such as senses walks), multimodal tools (e.g., combining audio, visual and text content).

YEAR

Winter Semester 2020/2021, 2021/2022

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“.
Guest critics in the AY 2021/2022 (in alphabetical order): Prof. Em. Dr. Dietrich Henckel, TU Berlin, Prof. Dr. Antje Michel, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Rolf Monheim, Universität Bayreuth, Ing. Ricarda Pätzold, Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik.