During the fall semester 2014/2015 we initiated a joint studio format for about 40 first semester Master of Urban Design students, a quarter of them coming from Tongji University Shanghai in China. Against the rich geographical, historical, social and morphological backdrop of Kreuzberg we were interested in exploring the leverage of local public planning authorities in fostering the development of a more inclusive and less segregated district.
The studio sequence initially began with reconnaissance missions. It brought us into contact with a host of stakeholders whose motivation and viewpoints required in-depth analysis in order to understand what was actually at stake. These insights were applied in an actor-driven reality simulating role-play whose objective was securing tenure for a lucrative brownfield development site on the banks of the River Spree. On the basis of this experience, students concentrated on the analysis of seven sites spread over the district. Finally, each group of 5 to 6 students then developed a site-specific program and design. The following pages retrace this journey by presenting the formats, showcasing some of the material produced and discussing the benefits of the exercise. Enjoy!