Create a Development Vision for Patrick Henry Village
With around 100 hectares, Patrick Henry Village (PHV) is the largest contiguous conversion area in Heidelberg, as the US Army is no longer stationed on site. PHV is situated in Heidelberg’s Kirchheim district and was built in the years 1952-1955 by the US Army as a residential area. At the peak of its usage, more than 8000 inhabitants used to live there.
The IBA does not only display architecture, but has evolved great tools for visionary urban planning. To create future-oriented visions for Patrick Henry Village the IBA Heidelberg established a so-called “planning phase zero” as the old conversion area is quite a challenge for urban planners.
PHV has nearly the same size as the old town of Heidelberg. But what does it take to make this conversion area six kilometers away from the old town of Heidelberg attractive? To put the city of Heidelberg and the citizens in a position to make future-orientated decisions for this area, the IBA developed the so-called “planning phase zero”. Its purpose is to formulate fundamental questions and developing ideas for PHV based on these questions, on whose basis scenarios were developed:
- How can science and business collectively define their place in PHV?
- How are education and knowledge spaces depicted in the new district?
- What will a good mobility infrastructure look like in and around PHV?
- And what role will nature and urban metabolism play in the “knowledge city of tomorrow”?
Kick Off the “Knowledge City of Tomorrow”
To find answers to those questions the IBA Heidelberg collaborated with five internationally renowned urban planning offices of which every office was responsible for a given thematic scenario. The challenge was to gather different ideas on how a well-functional new district outside of Heidelberg could work. In four full-day workshops, the goal of all involved stakeholders (City of Heidelberg, Heidelberg’s urban society, PHV neighbors and several urban planning offices) was to find out about the needs of potential end users before starting to plan concrete concepts. With this very diverse mixture of participants many different skills came together to discuss the development vision for the PHV. The days before the workshops, all participants had the chance to visit the PHV to get a deeper understanding of the surrounding, and actual status quo of the infrastructures.
I was surprised how well everyone received the conversion area and its history. It was soon apparent that the PHV was regarded as an island, which was to act independently and ecologically. At the same time, I found it surprising that a expansion in order to merge with other districts was not necessarily considered a condition.– Moritz Bellers (IBA Heidelberg, Project Manager)
On the workshop days, the agenda always followed the same structure: Before generating ideas and validating them with the help of prototypes, a short impulse lecture kicked the day off to understand the existing conditions. With the help of the design thinking methodology, potential end-users were in the focus. In the course of the workshops, participants understood more and more the approach that helped to get away from the purely academic way of generating ideas.
All four workshop were conducted by SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center at the SAP AppHaus in Heidelberg. This creative space supported the general mission thanks to the interior design.
The team is trying to create an unfinished atmosphere in the AppHaus, so that there is room for unfinished thoughts.– Michael Augsburger (SAP, COO of User Experience & Design)
Bringing the Creative Economy Together
Through exchange, SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center has helped to generate many ideas, on which basis the urban planning office KCAP will continue to work on. “With our different kind of approach we helped IBA Heidelberg to create an elaborate dialogue between different stakeholders, motivated them to open up for new approaches and shared our expertise as moderators.” (Beate Riefer, SAP, Design Strategist) This “planning phase zero” has helped the IBA Heidelberg to move into the right direction in order to find out about people’s perspectives, possible restrictions but also about the potential of the PHV. Overall, the feedback on SAP’s performance was very positive: Most participants liked the very open-minded atmosphere and the openness for new ideas.
In February 2017, the KCAP presented a development vision for the PHV to the IBA Heidelberg and the city of Heidelberg. Based on this vision, the responsible political organizations will decide on the conversion area’s future.
Thanks to the so-called planning phase zero, we were able to find out very early which expectations are being placed on this conversion area. With the help of Design Thinking, we were able to illuminate a variety of different points of view. Many of the participants thought it was great to be introduced to the topic in such a structured way.– Moritz Bellers (IBA Heidelberg, Project Manager)