Urban Planning Table

A Participation Platform for the Development of Small Rural Towns



Simulation of the distribution of landuse and buildings

Network Project between Bauhaus-Universität Weimar & Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC)
Funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Gernan Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and German Aerospace Center (DLR) 2017 - 2020

Many different actors such as authorities, planners, investors or local residents are involved in planning processes. Coordination and communication between the parties involved is often difficult, especially since not all parties have the same level of knowledge. This is particularly problematic when plans are not understood by those affected by the planning decisions.

As part of the research project “Integrated Infrastructure – IN³” (see under completed projects), we want to support planning participants in developing Ethiopian villages into small towns in two ways: First, we create and discuss digital tools with the participants to enable fast urban planning. Second experiment with explanatory communication tools to provide village residents and local authorities with easy-to-use and game-like access to planning to enable conscious, participatory decision-making.

In a discussion with village representatives, we gained valuable insights using a prototypical communication tool. We drew attention to drastic changes in the village environment during a growth process from the previous population of approx. 1,000 to the expected 10,000 inhabitants. This highlighted, for example, how land use and water infrastructure would be affected.

For the Selam Bauhaus exhibition we designed a simplified variant that should give the users access to planning aspects in a fictitious Ethiopian context without further help. The generated planning scenarios surely do not represent the final plans but the interaction has stimulated discussions and reflections on new possibilities for planning and participation.

The Ethiopian Ambassador in Germany (right) listens to project explanation. Selam Bauhaus Exhibition July 2019, Weimar.
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Performance evaluation
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Collaborating researchers and teachers:

Interim Prof. Dr. Sven Schneider, Asst. Prof. Dr. Zegeye Cherenet, Asst. Prof. Dr. Ephrem Gebremariam, Tesfaye Hailu, Martin Dennemark, Andreas Aicher, Metadel Sileshi, Philippe Schmidt, Nicole Baron, Israel Tesfu, Bilisaf Teferri, Kirubel Nigusse

Interface design and programming of the planning table by Martin Dennemark