An Agora for the Future City Festival 2023!

An Agora for the Future City!

Under the motto #BUILDINGFUTURETOGETHER, lots of different workshops for children and young people took place around the Maschinenhaus Essen as part of the third Future City Festival. For 14 days, people built, painted, sewed, danced, discussed, wrote poetry, and much more. And there was a lot of room to implement one’s own ideas and try out new things.

The festival is a project of the Theater of the Coming Generations. With the support of the Junior Uni Essen, Sebastian Schlecht and Susanne Priebs conceived and carried out a workshop for at the Future City Festival by building an agora as the central place of the Future City.

Important for a city is a place of gathering, debate, exchange, presentation of ideas, music, dance, poetry, and very concretely for the parliament of the Future City. 10 children and young people built this place themselves in 4 days. From old pallets and scrap wood, an agora for the city of the future was created. An agora? A parliament? A stage? A theater? An arena? This place is all of that together!

Our agora also has a stage, but essentially forms a circle of three-tiered seating bleachers that can accommodate about 60 people. There are several entrances and the circle opens in all directions. This allows for participation or egress at any time. The stage can be used as a scene space or as a seating area to close the circle – an arena is created. The participants sit opposite each other, which creates a communication among themselves. Deliberately, there are also plants on the stage in order to draw attention to the role of nature in a city in addition to the diversity of the human participants. Thus, represented by 5 plant parliamentarians, other living beings should also get their place in the Future City.

The participants created their own place, where questions about the temporary Future City were decided during the festival. In addition, very concrete skills were learned and applied in the four-day workshop: sawing, screwing, nailing and designing – and discussing and deciding together. 10 young people between the ages of 10 and 14 used their own skills and old wooden pallettes to build a parliament for the 60 citizens of the city, selected plants, gave them a place and the stands a name and an identity. Self-made poles and flags connect the stands to each other and form another symbol of diversity and community.

We are looking forward to the Junior-Uni Essen and the Maschinenhaus Essen using this place for further actions!

Susanne Priebs and Sebastian Schlecht, August 2023

Photos: Young-Soo Chang, Alia, Sebastian Schlecht, Maschienenhaus Essen,



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An agora? A parliament? A theater? An arena? A stage? A place for all! (c) Young-Soo Chang

biennale 2022 - review of a successful debut

Biennale 2022
- Review of a successful debut

From September 10-24, 2022, the first Biennale of the Urban Landscape attracted grassroots initiatives as much as the big players in planning. invited motivated people from all disciplines to the festival. 204 contributors jointly offered more than 130 events in and around the Science Park in Gelsenkirchen.

The program and the results of this eventful and intensive 1st Biennale of Urban Landscape in the Metropole Ruhr can now be found with videos, photos and reports on the Biennale website.

Thanks to all who were there, who planned, discussed, built, promoted and celebrated. We could only do that together!


40 pages biennale - the magazine!

40 pages biennale -
the magazine!

For the 1st Biennale of the Urban Landscape, a 40-page magazine will be published that shows the colorful diversity of actors involved in shaping the “City of Tomorrow”. The magazine is available online now and in print at the festival.

The challenges posed by climate change to our cities and urban landscape can only be met if many people pull together. The voices of these “many” can be heard in this accompanying magazine. These are the local and international thought leaders who share innovative thoughts and insights from their work on the city of tomorrow. In sections such as “Portrait” and “Lab,” initiatives, actors, associations and best practice examples from the Ruhr region are presented. In the four-question mini-interview, the Biennale’s cooperation partners are asked about their views, while in the “Point of View” section, the content flies a little higher to put the Biennale’s themes in a broader context.

In addition, a glossary brings clarity to newer buzzwords and trendy buzzwords surrounding urban landscape. Figures, data, facts shed light on the question “How green is the industrial region?” and a pinboard spotlights some of the many initiatives, companies and activities in the Metropole Ruhr that help shape the urban landscape every day. Photographs from the Mapping the City exhibition and a slam poetry text give a taste of how the urban landscape is reflected in words and images on an artistic level.

read online!

Also available in print at the Biennial of the Urban Landscape and at the office!

© Mockup Anthony Boyd Graphics

Imagine Green Urban Futures at Places Festival 2021

Imagine Green
Urban Futures

Imagine Green Urban Futures: This was the motto of’s programme at the Places VR Festival. Because: We need images for the future of our urban landscapes. Conventional plans and illustrations are difficult for many people to grasp. Extended Reality, on the other hand, makes visions come alive and vivid, as became clear in the programme around Bochumer Straße in Gelsenkirchen.

Three teams created their augmented reality applications especially for the festival, in which they each designed a section of Bochumer Straße – a 120-year-old street in Ückendorf – in a green and visionary way: Via smartphone and tablet, the festival visitors were able to see for themselves how powerful these impulses are when they are not only transported via paper, but become four-dimensional and thus come to life.

The respective offices, or protagonists, had previously qualified through a competition and pursued different approaches:

The respective offices, or protagonists, had previously qualified through a competition and pursued different approaches:

Anja Cambria Oellermann, scenographer from Hamburg, placed the discovery of urban nature and the curiosity of visitors at the centre of her vision for Bergmannplatz, including nature islands, a wildflower field and a small pond.

The Cologne-based firm Greenbox Landschaftsarchitekten invited visitors to discover the “Green Canyon” and transformed the street, which is dominated by car traffic, into a lively spatial installation that can be used on several levels, including details such as integrated photovoltaic elements and a charging infrastructure for e-cars.

The Berlin agency pimento formate focused on edutainment for sustainability and combined elements such as virtual palm trees, flowers and bubbling fountains with information on suitability under aspects of climate neutrality.

In a fourth section along Bochumer Straße, the visitors could become active themselves and not only provide greenery, but also wish for elephants, zebras and sofas.

In the courtyard of the Quartieroase, visitors followed impulses and panels on digitality in planning on both days. In the adjacent garages, which were transformed into lounges with the help of sofas, carpets and the like, our technology partner for the implementation of AR applications, the Aachen-based start-up Cityscaper, as well as pimento formate with the project “futureleafmission” and the team from Greenymizer with their vision of an app for more digital participation in the Green City of the future presented themselves – a very special reunion, as the team had formed at the hackathon at the Places Festival 2020 and won two awards with a prototype. In addition, a video loop in the Garage Lounge offered the opportunity to get to know other innovative XR projects.

The programme was complemented by a poster exhibition, through which the following international projects and offices were presented with references to the respective project pages:

  • AVP (Düsseldorf): Presentation of complex real estate projects in virtual animation.
  • Anja Cambria Oellermann & Shaouhan Hu: Ensō – Analysis of the Boundary
    between water and land in Japanese temples and in the urban space of Kiel.
  • Form Follows You GmbH (Berlin): Digital Participation Bahnhofstraße Lichtenrade
  • Green4Cities (Vienna): Developing Urban Green Visions
  • Greenymizer: Vision of the app “City Greenymizer” for citizen participation
  • Dr. Nadina Galle (Amsterdam): “Internet of Nature” for building smart green cities
  • Jan Kamensky (Hamburg): Utopia for Bicyclists – Utopian animations
  • LAND (Milan/Lugana/Düsseldorf: CariGO GREEN3 – Digital Landscape. Programme for the territorial development of the landscape Gorizia on the border between Italy and Slovenia
  • pimento formate (Berlin): Futureleaf – AR-Mission on microplastics in the city
  • Katie Patrick (San Francisco): Can Gamification save the planet?

“Imagine Green Urban Futures” was made possible by a grant from the E.ON Foundation and cityscaper, our technology partner for the development of the AR applications.

Sincere thanks also go to our speakers:
Stephan Muschick (E.ON Foundation), Stefanie Hugot (Head of the Department of Urban Planning at the City of Gelsenkirchen), Dr. Volker Settgast (Fraunhofer Austria), Hilke Berger and Immanuel Schipper (HafenCity University Hamburg), Matthias Funk (scape Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH), Burkhard Drescher (Innovation City Management GmbH), Prof. Dr. Ismeni Walter (University of Applied Sciences Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Ismeni Walter (University of Applied Sciences Hamburg). Dr. Ismeni Walter (Ansbach University of Applied Sciences) & Michelle Adolfs (Team Greenymizer VR), Elle Langer and Markus Mende (pimento formate), – Virtual Reality for Architecture, Sebastian Witt, Juliane Ebeling and Robin Römer (Cityscaper Aachen).

Imagine Green Urban Futures – a visitor uses the AR applications. Photo: Places _ VR Festival/Ole-Kristian Heyer

polis AWARD 2021 for in communicative urban design

polis award:
3rd place for

The team is delighted about the polis award: we won 3rd place in the category “Communicative Urban Design”, which honours instruments that involve people creatively and at eye level in urban development processes.

1st place went to the online public participation process for the urban open space planning competition “Am Alten Güterbahnhof” in Duisburg, 2nd place to the audio walk of the model project “Rathausblock” in Berlin. Congratulations to all nominees and award winners, also in the other categories!

The polis award of the polis Magazine for Urban Development is presented annually in various categories to projects in urban development and the real estate industry that are based on a spirit of partnership in the development of solutions for the city of the future.

Presentation of the award to at the polis Convention 2021 in Düsseldorf.

Green Infrastructure Offensive: Handing over the recommendations for action to the RVR

green infrastructure offensive:
handover of
recommendations for action
to the RVR

The time has come: The team of, commissioned by and in cooperation with the Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR), has developed a strategic-conceptual contribution as a building block for the communication offensive Green Infrastructure of the RVR in a process lasting several months. This has now been handed over to Nina Frense (Councillor for the Environment and Green Infrastructure). In essence, the aim was to develop proposals and to win over actors from different areas for cooperation.

The results of the “Festival of Landscape”, which reached over 200 participants in digital space in February, as well as interviews with innovative landscape and urban designers, people involved in non-institutional planning contexts and artistic perspectives were incorporated. Hints and approaches for goal-oriented communication and the involvement of actors in the design of green infrastructure in the Metropole Ruhr were compiled and described in the present recommendations for action, which can serve as a basis for the regional joint project of designing and communicating a sustainable urban landscape. would like to thank all those who contributed their expertise – whether as interviewees or participants in the Festival of Landscape or participants of the digital festival formats!

Handover of the recommendations for action to Nina Frense (Deputy for the Environment and Green Infrastructure of the Ruhr Regional Association, RVR, centre) by the initiators Sebastian Schlecht (left) and Melanie Kemner (right). Photo: RVR/Volker Wiciok