Since 2018, Prof. Florian Koch has been specialising in real estate management, smart cities and urban development. He explores ways in which new digital, smart technologies can contribute to sustainable development and identifies new social innovations emerging in cities.
What does the city of the future look like?
The fascinating thing about cities is how different they are from each other. It would be very boring if one day Berlin looked exactly the same as Hamburg or Munich looked just like Madrid. It’s therefore not about designing a single vision for the city of the future, but about developing many different future-proof ideas for cities. For example, I think that our cities will soon have more timber-framed high-rise buildings, a decentralised renewable energy supply and storage systems, sensors that measure environmental pollution, and most importantly places where many different people can come together to exchange ideas about the future of their cities.
What role do neighbourhood forms of sharing play in a consumer society like Germany?
This is one of the questions we’re currently exploring in a research project in Berlin, Kassel and Stuttgart. We want to find out whether new forms of sharing are being created at the neighbourhood level in times of rising rents, scarcity of space and gentrification. For instance, whether community forms of housing will become increasingly important, new public meeting places are being established in currently little-used places or new apartment exchanges are being developed. Our case studies have shown us that we need to take different types of sharing into account – from non-commercial "commoning" to the sharing economy.
What is essential for you at HTW Berlin?
I would say that discussions with colleagues, students, partners from practice and many other individuals at HTW Berlin are all absolutely essential. It is precisely because there are so many different study programmes, research projects and people at the university that I have learned so much since I started working here. Another important or even essential facility at HTW Berlin are the coffee machines in building A – on long teaching days an energy boost is sometimes very much needed!
Who would you like to have coffee or tea with?
Oh, that’s a tricky question. From a professional point of view, a coffee and a chat with Jane Jacobs, the great American urban researcher and activist, would have been very interesting, but she died quite some time ago. As a long-time basketball fan, I’d love to meet Dirk Nowitzki for a coffee. Perhaps we'd even discover some similarities between the team sports of "basketball" and "research and teaching at HTW Berlin"!
Photos: Alexander Rentsch
© HTW Berlin, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
7 August 2019