AUDI urban future award 2014 science slam




‘the next leap in mobility’ is the motto of the 2014 AUDI urban future award. this year, the initiative invited four international multidisciplinary teams composed of ethnographers, IT specialists, product designers, urban planners, natural scientists, sociologists, etc. – from berlin, boston, mexico city and seoulto research and develop schemes responding to problems related to transportation in cities. the four proposals were first presented in berlin in april. though distinct in their own rights, reacting to four diverse parts of the world, they all express one underlying commonality: to improve mobility in large, densely developed areas and enhance residents’ quality of life.
2014 AUDI urban future award proposals clockwise from top left: team mexico city, team boston, team seoul and team berlin




to further push and promote the projects resulting from the 2014 AUDI urban future award, a science slam – an event which aims at removing science from its ivory tower, and presenting related complex subjects in entertaining and digestible means – was hosted on may 14th. one member from each of the four teams took to the stage in ingolstadt, germany, where they delivered 10 minute presentations on the first results of their work to a participatory audience of several hundred people. 






science slam berlin: from public transportation to individual transportation
video courtesy of AUDI urban future award




arndt pechstein gave an overview of TEAM BERLIN’s project, which focuses on tegel airport – recently located to a more efficient and spacious site – as its subject. situated 15 minutes outside berlin, it is considered to be the metropolis’s largest urban planning development. for this reason it is given the nickname ‘urban tech republic’, and is quickly becoming a hot spot for knowledge workers and university students. however, it still has no direct transport network linking it to the city. this shift in movement is expected to affect berlin’s mobility system, with traffic volumes bound to increase. as a result, drivers on the autobahn will experience an increase in the already congested road connections.
the ‘urban tech republic’ situated just outside of the berlin city center




TEAM BERLIN feels that ‘individuality and collectivity are not mutually exclusive‘. with the ‘urban tech republic’ heading towards becoming a research and industry park as large as a small town, TEAM BERLIN offers insights into how this quickly developing district can be connected to the german capital. looking at the car as having an integral role in closing certain gaps in getting around, piloted driving and parking are included in their initial ideas.
visualizing the ‘urban tech republic’ and its move towards becoming a developing district of the city





science slam boston: making mobility opportunities calculable for urban-planning purposes
video courtesy of AUDI urban future award




with the thesis ‘the boundaries between mobility and immobility will be removed’, philip parsons of TEAM BOSTON presented case study location: somerville, a community in the boston metropolitan area. overtime, it has morphed into new england’s most densely populated area,  as well as one of the most rapidly-evolving areas, thanks to its cultural vitality and proximity to the massachusetts capital.
TEAM BOSTON believes that technical innovations and the development of urban infrastructure should go hand in hand




concerned with specific urban development projects that come with high mobility requirements, TEAM BOSTON sees technologies such as piloted parking beginning to surface in urban areas, creating gains in space and efficiency in their infrastructure. thus, they have developed a marketplace for mobility that ensures that such innovations will be put on the street more quickly in the future.
investing the possibilities of technology synched with the built environment






science slam mexico city: crowdsourcing – how smart data helps to challenge permanent traffic congestion
video courtesy of AUDI urban future award




it is TEAM MEXICO CITY’s belief that big cities provide many sources of data. therefore, representative carlos gershenson elaborated on the group’s exploration into harnessing crowd-sourcing as a means of solving the problem of traffic hold-ups. they are asking questions such as: what contributions can citizens, businesses and the administration make to improve the traffic situation? as improvements of mobility by infrastructure is limited, they propose that to improve transportation, we must make it more like a living system. that is, mobility should be adaptive, learning, robust and self-organizing.


TEAM MEXICO is analyzing data streams about traffic flows and mobility behavior, in order to find solutions for the future of urban mobility. with this data, they think that car congestion can be regulated to improve navigation around the city.


mapping mobility patterns to resolve traffic hold ups






science slam seoul: cars as the ultimate interfaces to a smart city
video courtesy of AUDI urban future award




finally, sun gul hwang shared TEAM SEOUL’s philosophy that ‘reality and virtuality will merge’. asking ‘what role can automobiles play in a society that has stylized entertainment as the most important cultural asset, and has thoroughly embraced digital communication?‘ TEAM SEOUL uses an ethnographical approach to address this issue, turning to the behavioral patterns of south korean capital’s gangnam district as a case study. back in the 1960s this area ranked among the poorest in the world, but is now churning out technological innovations at  lightning speed.



TEAM SEOUL considers the future automobile as a social interface



TEAM SEOUL’s project looks at the automobile’s leap into its role in the future where it is set to provide sociocultural value, expression, interaction and myth, as well as efficiency. thus, their research is serving as a basis for creating viable design concepts that aim at positioning the automobile as a social interface. team-seoul-AUDI-urban-future-initiative-designboom-01
the car as a means of communication