Based on the guidelines for participation in residential construction, published by the six state owned housing associations of Berlin – Howoge, Gesobau, WBM, Stadt und Land, Gewobag and Degewo – the team of Form Follows You developed a digital participation tool for a planned redensification by the Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte (WBM).
The neighborhood is located in the district of Berlin Friedrichshain in striking distance to the Osthafen, right between Stralauer Allee and Corinthstraße. Currently there are twelve former four-storey GDR buildings and two eleven-storey towers on site owned by the WBM. Through redensification the lower buildings might be increased by three storeys, new houses on free areas in the coutyard could be developed and outside spaces can be requalified. For this purpose the WBM was searching together with the current tenants for a common building scenario.
The participation tool reaches the first two layers of participation as described in the guidelines, namely information and consultation with different stakeholders. The communication of information within the participatory process is the base of any communication within citizen engagement. This means that the application displays the included datasets of the different experts (e.g. architect, landscape architect, owner) in an understandable and comprehensive way. The interaction with the digital model allows the user to explore and understand major changes through planning processes. Global parameters such as light conditions on selected times of the year and individual perspectives in the neighborhood simulate spatial impressions. In this way, the complexity and richness of urban datasets can be grasped easily in real-time.
As one of many possible settings, the spatial expert – in this case the team of Form Follows You – controls the tablet computer which is connected to the projector. All attendants can follow the narration with the visual support – the whole neighborhood including the close surrounding is visualized in 3D. This slightly abstract representation of the related area allows every person to find specific familiar places within the contextual model.
During the participation workshop with around 200 present tenants on 12th of May 2018 the tool included the following functions:
The tenants used the app and its functions as a neutral platform to also demonstrate their own thoughts and concerns within the 3D environment. Consequently the participation tool articulates itself on an information and consultation level as a neutral entity that equips experts, as well as non-experts with knowledge.