After yesterday’s finissage, the Berlin Unlimited Festival ended with a couple of guided and participatory walks through urban and periphal areas in and around Berlin today (“Autobahn’strip”, “Restricted Areas”, “Meeting with Gropiusstadt”). Before Narcelio Grud started his collective “paint-bike” ride trip through the city, Jens Denissen and Léa Donguy invited participants to their Grenzgang project, focusing on suburban spaces. Open to detours and drifting, such walks are an effective tool for a sensitive experience of the contemporary metropolitan fabric.
Materials found and created along the way were collected to build a suburban narrative and were conducive to an evolutionary exhibition. Thus, walking on the edges – randwandern – allowed to discover the surrounding territories through bodily immersion. Another perception of metropolitan and cultural limits occured. The form emerging from such walks gives a both mental and physical continuity to highly frequented spaces. This practical yet playful approach is bound to a theoretical one in order to create an embodied knowledge of Berlin’s edges.
Earlier this week Urban gaming was discussed as an approach to stimulate participatory planning and city making. Different methods such as comprehensive neighbourhood maps were being used as game boards to position contextualized icons and visualize collaborative development strategies. Local stakeholders were divided into teams, competing, negotiating and creating partnerships in order to solve some of the urgent neighbourhood issues, such as reconstruction and activation of the neighbourhoods.
Through engaging material, such as infographics, video material or board games, the public would have the opportunity to learn more about specific city quarters and urban areas and how to disrupt the conventional, top-down approaches of neighbourhood planning by bringing its essence – the design and programming of physical space – back to the actual users.