The “intelligent city”Enlarge image The "intelligent city" - participants (© German Foreign Office)
What innovative options would enable inclusion and disability policy to be incorporated into traffic planning? What role can citizens play in the development of their surroundings, both at work and at home? As part of the Visitors Programme of the Federal Government, the Federal Foreign Office has invited more than 20 experts on urban development and traffic planning as well as specialised journalists from around the world to Berlin. Trinidad and Tobago was represented by the CEO of the Port of Spain City Corporation, Winifred Jacque-David.
The other 22 participants came from very different regions in the world. Be it from Egypt, Mexico or Viet Nam, it is their interest in and the growing need for innovative solutions for urban development, traffic planning and accessibility in their countries that has brought them to Berlin. Over the course of last week they aimed to learn more about how the issues of structural change and technical progress are dealt with in Germany.
Meetings with international partners to exchange views on these matters are a main priority for Germany. The international guests were offered the chance to gain an up-to-date and nuanced insight into Germany and forge connections to the country, fostering international exchange on the relevant issues.
From call to tender to passive house
The visit included a panel discussion on 30 October with high-ranking representatives from the Association of German Architects (BDA), German urban planning agencies and architects from Berlin, on the topic “Intelligent cities and the implications for architecture and urban development”. The German side explained particularities such as the status of an architect within the planning process. Furthermore the current issues within the debate on urban construction were raised, such as social justice in housing construction.
Above all the growing demand for citizens to be able to become involved was addressed, with the example of the use of the former Tempelhof Airport, which gave rise to a very lively exchange of views. The German representatives contributed experiences from China and Abu Dhabi. By the same token a South African participant sought an exchange of experiences in the run-up to the “Cool Capital Biennale 2014” in Pretoria, which tackles urban planning from the viewpoint of the city’s inhabitants. The agenda included more discussions on environmentally friendly housebuilding and security in large cities.
More about the Visitors Programme of the Federal Government
The Visitors Programme of the Federal Government enables foreign multipliers to see Germany with their own eyes and thus gain an authentic, up-to-date and nuanced insight into the country. At the invitation of the Federal Government participants usually spend a week, filled with a variety of
meetings on relevant topics, in Germany. Every year some 1000 high-ranking individuals and young potentials from abroad have the opportunity to take part in one of around 200 fact-finding tours. This is based on the conviction that direct, personal contact is the best way to mutual understanding.