Buildings & Neighborhoods

Co-Designing a Concept for Brownfield Development: Repurposing Old Barracks in the Berlin Area

January 21, 2019
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Resident input is a key aspect of brownfield development. Many former industrial sites and logistic hubs sit unused inside neighborhoods and offer great opportunities for neighborhood improvement with socially conscious projects.

Brownfield Development Site in Berlin

A sizeable piece of land at the edge of Berlin in Blankenfelde-Mahlow was used for military purposes until 2002. In 2016, the municipality acquired the barracks to implement a vision for turning the site into a nature experience space where valuable biotopes and people’s recreational needs can meet.

To identify what this could mean in practice, the municipality commissioned gruppe F, a Berlin-based landscape architecture office, to create a concept for the area. Gruppe F - Freiraum für alle used Maptionnaire in their project for developing a concept for the reuse of these former barracks.  They relied on community input and co-designing principles for this brownfield development site.

Designing a Multidimensional Participatory Process

Gruppe F designed a participation process with a variety of face-to-face public participation methods such as sidewalk discussions, open world cafés, and low-threshold offers such as going around on our information bikes to strike sidewalk discussions.

They also decided to include Maptionnaire into their public participation toolbox because they wanted to make sure they would also reach out to resident groups that are difficult to reach with face-to-face methods.

In addition, they also used Maptionnaire to support their face-to-face engagement work by adding people’s ideas directly into the online survey while talking to them. This made the evaluation of the interview responses much easier as they didn’t first need to digitize people’s input from paper questionnaires for being able to process them together with the other data. Have a look at further examples of using digital participation tools in face-to-face community workshops.


Gathering the Right Data with the Right Tool

Gruppe F experienced that the possibility to add answers directly on a map decreased the amount of unrelated or even insulting contributions within the dataset. There was no need to do intensive moderation which can sometimes happen with online participation tools.

They’ve also been able to get input from young people, parents of small children, people with reduced mobility, and groups that tend to stay silent. Wit the help of online community engagement tools, their voices are included in the co-designed brownfield development project in Blankenfelde-Mahlow.

Maptionnaire is a great tool. It doesn’t replace the need to do face-to-face participation but can complement it meaningfully. We are looking forward for our next project with Maptionnaire!
Bettina Walther, gruppe F – Freiraum für alle

Are you interested in learning more about the use of public participation tools in brownfield development projects?

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