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Projektseminar WS 14/15 - Designing Smart Cities


Projektstudium im Wintersemester 2013/14 in Kooperation mit der Siemens AG (6 ECTS) zum Thema Designing Smart Cities - Kreative Strategien für städtische Herausforderungen

Course Description: 

 As the challenges and opportunities facing businesses, organizations, and society grow more complex, and as stakeholders grow more diverse, an approach known as “design thinking” is playing a greater role in finding meaningful paths forward. The word “design” has traditionally been used to describe the visual aesthetics of objects such as websites, products, architecture or fashion. But increasingly, the definition of design has expanded to include not just artifacts but strategic services and systems such as business models. Design thinking as methodology for creative human-centered problem solving represents a powerful alternative to the dominant management approaches of the last few decades and is an important perspective to embrace.

Challenge: Berlin Südkreuz

How to enhance the Berlin Südkreuz station to improve users’ mobility and community experience?

Berlin is a fast expanding city – 300.000 new citizens are predicted for the next decade. This growth imposes extreme pressures and demands on city infrastructures and requires energy-efficient and intelligent solutions for buildings, transportation, energy and water supply. Berlin is already today seen as a reference area for various smart products and solutions, and with its numerous projects, it attempts to manage the challenges of tomorrow.

One of these projects is the train station Südkreuz. Located in Berlin’s south, it connects the Berliner Ring with the north-south corridor; it therefore serves as a major local and supra-regional transport hub. In the future, the train station will be expanded into an intelligent mobility station. While doing so, electro-mobility services will be integrated and expanded, the energy supply will be optimized with respect to maximizing the use and increasing the intelligent storage of renewable energy, and an indoor navigation system will be tested which will simplify intermodal transfers within complex building structures. The aim is to achieve a higher utilization of public transport, test new technologies, strategies and processes visible for passengers and to provide positive impetus for the development of the surrounding area. The so-called “Schöneberger Linse”, located between train station and the city highway, has an outstanding re-use potential for manufacturing and service companies. Through interventions in the public space and private investments, the district is to be developed into an urban space of its own right, taking into account its excellent accessibility.

Berlin Südkreuz should serve as an incubator in order to realize the vision of a Smart City of tomorrow and to increase the quality of living of Berlin’s citizens. To realize this goal, we need innovative solutions and business models at the interface between energy, automobile and traffic systems. Along with this comes the question how these solutions can be embedded into a coherent spatial concept. This requires bringing empathy for the real needs of users, technological possibilities and business acumen together. Only after we discover the real user needs and find adequate solutions, we can develop appropriate business models.

Accompanied by Siemens, Deutsche Bahn and the Innovation Center for Mobility and Societal Change (InnoZ), students in small multi-disciplinary teams will utilize design thinking to tackle the Südkreuz challenge by designing innovative business models that do not simply replicate existing solutions but challenge conventional thinking. Furthermore, the best team can apply for the Start-Up Bootcamp Accelerator program to translate their ideas into reality.

Course Schedule




Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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