The sound of banging and hammering can be heard in Berlin's WILMA shopping mall in preparation for the opening of a new space on 12 December 2021. Not a retail stand as you might expect but instead an open learning laboratory organized by the Berlin University Alliance. As the German title of the project suggests, a new concept for a space in a mall. Global challenges such as climate change, increasing use of resources, mounting health risks and changes in mobility requirements all call for new research and learning processes involving actors from as many different areas of society as possible. This is only possible with the participation of the public. This is why members of the Natural Building Lab group at Technische Universität (TU) Berlin are designing a 300-square-meter space in a retail unit for projects and events aiming to break down the (perceived) barriers between science and society. The goal is to invite members of the public, actors from civil society, representatives from commerce, artists, and politicians to join researchers for debates, workshops, pop-up exhibitions, performances, science slams, hackathons, and project workshops.
"Our forum is intended to provide an easily accessible meeting place for all actors from society. This is why we chose to set up in the middle of a mall," explains Dr. Thorsten Philipp, concept developer and senior advisor for transdisciplinary education to the Executive Board at TU Berlin. "In this case, different perspectives will actually contribute to a richer process rather than distract from the aim. What we are looking to offer is an open-ended research and learning process that motivates participation."
Mall Anders is a participative display examining the following questions: How should cities develop - do we want megacities or a provincial charm? How can we achieve a sustainable renewal of universities and their locations and what makes something sustainable? How can consumption and production contribute to greater sustainability?
The Natural Building Lab group at TU Berlin is designing a temporary spatial infrastructure, which can be adapted for different dialog platforms. In keeping with the goals of circular construction, existing or reusable materials are being used.
This project area will be available to the Berlin University Alliance and its partner institutions free of charge Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 until 20:00 from 1 December 2021 until 28 February 2022 for innovative, transdisciplinary teaching and learning projects at the interface between university and society. We would like to invite you to sign up to use the Mall Anders space for classes, student projects, project workshops, and science communication events.
The project has been made possible through support from the Berlin University Alliance.