Audi Urban Future Summit 2011: A Look into the Cities of the Future

Right before the 64th International Auto Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, Audi will hold the Urban Future Summit on the 12th of September. The goal of the symposium, where over 300 international experts from various disciplines will attend, is to build knowledge networks to answer the question: how will the urban space and mobility have to develop in order to meet the demands of cities in the future?

World wide, there seems to be rapid urban growth as more and more people move to megacities. Ideally, even as the population increases, traffic will flow freely. Without such traffic flow, there are disadvantages for the quality of life, the environment, and the appearance of cities itself. Therefore, experts from such fields as architecture, urban planning, trend research, economics, and the automotive industry have a responsibility to react to this trend and work together to come up with potential strategies.

During the summit, in addition to introductory speeches, the proposals of architects Jurgen Mayer H., Bjarke Ingels and Alison Brooks for the Audi Urban Future Award 2010 will form the basis of discussions. Representing Audi, the specially created Audi Urban Future Insight Team will also have an active part. Internally, the team operates across all departments and introduces the discourse on urban life and mobility into the company. For Summit 2011, three principal themes will be explored in distinct workshops: networks, social cooperation, and resource management.

The workshop “Energies of Data – Networked City,” will question how far the city of the future will be shaped by networks. Inspired by the award-winning design of Jurgen Mayer H., participants will delve into the question of will automated driving, personalize electronic systems, and social networks generate sustainable changes in urban environments and impact individual mobility?

With “Energies of Resources – City of Abundance,” Bjarke Ingels challenges us with the idea that networks, where data are fed to participants in traffic and infrastructure which improves traffic flow. This results in a surplus in energy and free, interactively usable surfaces. So can cars and buildings thus make use of the same flexible energy storage instead of being reliant on static systems of energy supply?

Alison Brooks’ proposal is founded on concepts of social interaction. It forms the basis for the third workshop, “Energies of Social Relations – City of Cooperation.” If it is assumed that the city of the future consists of many heterogenous areas, social interaction will be enhanced. New forms of neighborly cooperation will emerge: will social exchange, common use and neighborhood assistance thus take place of individual ownership in some areas?

Audi is the first automobile company to gather important players around one table in order to connect international experts, overcome deadlocked ways of thinking and chart a sustainable course for a mobile urban future. Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Audi AG for Marketing and Sales, comments on the pioneering role of the company. “For the first time an automobile company is actively engaging in the debate. We are taking a truly holistic view of the urban space and then taking the debate into our company. Today the automobile is a determining factor in the appearance of cities, but in functional terms, it is, in principle, completely isolated. In future however, automobiles will be involved and intensively networked. Audi is already doing the preparatory work for this today.”

For further information about the Audi Urban Future Initiative and Summit 2011, please go to www.audi-urban-future-initiative.com.

Aug 21st, 2011