Graduate School

for Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods

2nd Phase of the Graduate School „Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods“

The NRW Research College “Sustainable Energy Systems in the Neighbourhood” aims to develop technical, economic and social control models to increase energy efficiency in the neighbourhood. With its broad interdisciplinary composition and embedding in practice (transdisciplinary), the Research College makes an important contribution to developing integrated concepts and promoting necessary understanding between the disciplines and between future scientists and practitioners from different disciplines. Specific possibilities for action and options support the parties involved, above all municipal utilities, local authorities, politicians and citizens, in driving forward the energy transition in neighbourhoods.

JAN GEHL AT THE STAEDTEBAU+ NEQ TALK

What if architecture could change the world?

Jan Gehl

Facing special times, excursions, conversations and discussions are no longer possible through usual channels. As the graduate school “Sustainable Energy Systems in Neighbourhoods (NEQ)” unfortunately experienced as a scheduled excursion to Copenhagen could not be carried out and it was, therefore, postponed. The excursion aimed at shedding light on what innovative and sustainable neighbourhoods of tomorrow could look like and one of the highlights would have been meeting Jan Gehl. Nevertheless, to the delight of the NEQ PhD students as well as the staff of the Chair and Institute of Urban Design, the meeting with Jan Gehl was made possible through digital platforms.

Jan Gehl started an intriguing conversation by raising the question “What if architecture could change the world?” and answered it by reflecting on his work as an architect over the past 60 years. During these years, he could observe transitions from functional architecture and urban planning to more human-centred approaches in architecture and planning that focus more on the interaction between people and spaces. A change on which he looks back on positively.

Important issues were addressed that concern our young academics and have a direct impact on the development of our society and our living spaces. Different scales of the challenges must be taken into account here. Climate change is one of the biggest influencing factors in the near and long-term future, which brings resilience more and more into the focus of discussions. The requirements for quality in transformation processes are also increasing. These start at the neighbourhood level with participation tools and methods. Jan Gehl pleads not to forget that the task of a planner is to show citizen’s development scenarios and their consequences and not to transfer the entire planning task to him. This last point also makes it clear how important language and communication tools are. Many trends, such as the Smart Cities as an example, will be taken up and used for marketing purposes. It should be noted that smart is not a synonym for digitalization, but rather for “smart cities”, which use existing opportunities and instruments in a wise and targeted manner.

The fruitful conversation makes it clear that the challenges that architects and planners face are becoming more complex and that the initial question of the conversation is once again in the foreground: “What if architects change the world?

„They can change the world. But we have to want it and we have to have values. Then we can change the world with changing the mindset.”

EVENT NOTIFICATION

Graduate School NRW: Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods

We invite you to the research colloquium

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Graduate School “Energy Efficiency in Neighbourhoods” will present first results and research insights in the context of the conference: Shaping Urban Change- Livable City Regions in the 21st Century, from 2-6 pm in the Reiff-Foyer, Schinkelstraße 1 in Aachen. The research colloquium is open to the public and admission is free.

… click here to register online

The publications produced by the researchers within the framework of the Graduate School can be found here.

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