Urban Thinkers Campus 2017

From 18 – 21 October 2017, students and professors from seven regional institutes met up with local protagonists at an ‘urban thinkers camp’, to discuss the development of the Multihalle as a ‘thinking space for future-oriented topics and neighbourhood hub. The camp was moderated by Sally Below, urbanist and strategic supporter of the Multihalle development project, and Wulf Kramer from Mannheim agency Yalla Yalla.

Participants from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, the Technical University of Applied Sciences (HFT) Stuttgart, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, the University of Heidelberg, and the University of Stuttgart were also present.

The urban thinkers camp preceded the Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC), which the city of Mannheim had organised for the second time on behalf of UN Habitat, a United Nations programme for human settlements. The UTC addressed the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at communal level, as well as the “Mannheim 2030” mission statement process.

The Multihalle and the outcomes from the urban thinkers camp were the subject of a special panel at the Urban Thinkers Campus.

The urban thinkers camp

The urban thinkers camp began in the Multihalle on the afternoon of 18 October, with an introduction by Marco Spies from the Building Competence Centre of the city of Mannheim. The group then moved on to the nearby Paul-Gerhardt Church. Sascha Eschmann, founder of the agency My Social City in Wiesbaden, provided additional food for thought with his input on future labs and current approaches to participatory urban development.

On the second day of the workshop, the students were divided into five interdisciplinary workgroups to reflect upon concepts for social thinking spaces, the type of contributors needed to turn such a vision into reality, and potential operation, financing and communication partners.

Parallel to this, students from the faculty of Tectonics in Timber Construction at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern built a 1:1 supporting structure in the Multihalle, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Graf and Prof. Stefan Krötsch.

The workgroups presented their concepts to experts from different disciplines at a speed consulting session in the evening, in a casual setting. Dirk Breunich, managing director of advertising agency Donner & Doria, Tatjana Dürr, spokeswoman for building culture at the City of Mannheim, Lea Gerschwitz, dramatic advisor at the Office of Culture, Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH, Jennifer Yeboah, district manager in Herzogenried, and Frank Zumbruch, head of the Creative Commission Mannheim, gave the students guidance for the development of their ideas.

The students were additionally supervised by Prof. Volkmar Bleicher from the Technical University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jung and Fabian Riemenschneider from Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Jens Ludloff and Florian Kaiser the University of Stuttgart, Matthias Stippich from the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), and Dr. Christina West from the University of Heidelberg.

On 21 October, the workgroup concepts and selected term papers by students from the participating universities were discussed at a special ‘Multihalle panel’ at the Urban Thinkers Campus held in Stadthaus Mannheim. The panel provided the ideal platform for presenting the Multihalle project in a political urban development context.

Multihalle Special Panel

The Multihalle can provide new impulses for urban social encounters and innovations, but it is important to involve the neighbourhood in the development of social utilisation concepts. Can the Multihalle, as a space for new participation formats and civil engagement, strengthen communal democracy?


Arthur Bauer