Audi Urban Future Summit.

Curated by Stylepark

Despite my previous grumblings I still think this year ‘s IAA was more exiting than ever.

Car makers have realised that the “ love affair between car and architecture as depicted by Le Corbusier “ (Christian Gärtner, Stylepark), the romance between man and machine has stalled.
The romantic context within which the car has been perceived in the twentieth Century is not only quickly fading, it is also increasingly replaced by scenarios of existential threat to humanity.
Pollution and limited resources make everybody reconsider the necessity of the automobile as such.
If the question today is: “Do we really need a car “ than finding an answer to that question tomorrow is at this moment of history crucial to the entire Car Industry.

If it ‘s not that lovin ‘ feeling making us buy and drive an Audi, a BMW, a Mercedes what will it be?
As the need for mobility will stay, will the way we move around, be determined solely by reason and necessity?

What drives us in the future?

What drives the future?

These are just some of the questions discussed at the Audi Urban Future summit, on day Zero of the IAA.
Yet instead of gazing into a crystal ball they employed the leading scientists and thinkers of this day, to discuss urban life in the great cities of the near future, sharing the outcome generously with a wide public.

Just to name some of these people I had the extraordinary pleasure of listening to:

Saskia Sassen, Sociologist of Columbia University. She was showing us how technology and big Cities interrelate, how the logic of the designers (and his technology) gets unsettled by the user, how the city talks back, strikes back, hacks technology. To put it simply: a car stuck in a traffic jam, has been hacked by the city.
She also pointed out that cities are knowledge banks, sharing their knowledge generously.

Christian Gärtner of Stylepark

Richard Sennet, (New York University and London school of economics) argued for closed versus open structures, using Sao Paolo as an example for segregation and closed systems. He proposed a membrane system as in a cell, where the membrane prevents leaking of it ‘s own substance yet allows other substances to enter. According to him a pedestrian zone is a moral good, but it becomes mono functional, a closed space preventing any real life. “Sociability: open sociable systems: stimulating exchange inviting us to experience complexity.

Charles Leadbeater, expert for creativity and innovation, consulting cities, companies and governments in the whole world, has a very simple theory: system versus empathy.
We cannot function without systems, systems are designed to help man yet become predatory helping themselves.
What we as humans value most are relations: love, trust and friendship you cannot get from systems. We therefore have to combine systems with empathy, systems which support empathy, creating “systempathy “.

As the last speaker of the morning (there were many other very inspiring ones and I apologise to those who I left out) came onto stage:
Ludger Hovestadt (Architekt, computer scientist, teacher at the ETH Zurich).
His first message was:“RELAX“, everybody in the audience stirred seriously puzzled as he continued to explain that we don‘t have a problem limited resources on the planet, we factually have an abundance of energy.
What we don‘t have is indexed intelligence, calculating those resources.
If you find this intriguing, go and buy his book (I will anyway)

During the afternoon there where three different workshops to chose from.
I chose Energies of data, moderated by Chris Anderson of “Wired“ US, contributors where:
Jürgen Mayer H ( most amazing architect, winner of the Audi urban award),
Dr. Steffen P. Walz, director of the future Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElabVice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow and director of the future Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab)
Carlo Ratti, engineer, architect und lecturer MIT Leitung SENSEable City Lab
Dipl.-Ing. Ricky Hudy, Chief Executive, Electric, Electronic Development
Stefan Sielaff, Audi design chief.

Chris started by stating the simple sentence “I drove my car to work would be a thing of the past by the time his children are grown up.
Individual ownership and mobility plus leaving your home to be productive will be notions of the past.
The others all agreed to a certain extent, drawing up different scenarios of transportation or automotive behaviour, where cars are taking over the active piloting and best planning of a route, whilst the driver can still take over the Volant whenever he lusting after a juicy bit ridin‘ the road.
Disappointing, however what the design department made of this brilliant thinking: a design study which had nothing to do with the future. It looked like the graduation work seen at ‘Art Center College of Design’ twenty years ago.

After a day of listening to the most inspiring people in the world, my head was filled with sparkling popsicles.
Incredible Ideas and wondrous solutions.
It was a beautiful sunny day.
Instead of going back to my dark hotel room to wait for the evening and it‘s party to arrive, I got into my car and drove home.
What a nice feeling to be sitting alone in my car, on an empty Autobahn (no lie!) with all these sparks circling in my head.

For me still the perfect way of transportation.

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The whole event was curated by Stylepark, avid thinkers themselves…


  1. Arneyb says:

    Also irgendwie ist mir das ein wenig “too much”.
    All die hoch- und schöngeistigen Stadtplanungskonzepte der Vergangenheit wurden doch meist Rohrkrepierer oder eher durch das nicht geplante und zufällige erst wertvoll.
    Just my 5 cents

  2. jj says:

    What do we drive in the future?

    Who really needs a Mercaudibmw?

    Is it necessary not to drive to work?

    Do we have to work from home? I don’t want to …

    How many of these “ideas” will make it to reality? And have in the past?

    Is there a scientific approach to how urban nightmares like Sao Paolo or Mexico City really work?


    Hop into your old 911, 541, 1600, 2002 or whatever number you choose and then enjoy yourself driving … nice approach Gaby.

  3. Michael W says:

    Wenn man die Entwicklung der Automobilbranche rückblickend beurteilt fällt einem auf, dass

    – sich das Automobil in seiner fundamentalen Struktur nicht verändert hat

    – Wachstumstreiber auf Nachfrageseite zuerst die Triade war, nun BRIC, und auf Angebotsseite eine deutliche Erhöhung der Produktvielfalt.

    Das Kredo der Hersteller lautet seit Jahrzehnten Evolution statt Revolution. Das war und ist auch heute auch soweit wirtschaftlich sinnvoll, da die Branche noch ein gutes Stück von einer Marktsättigung entfernt ist. Solange sie ungesättigt ist, ist es günstiger das Vorhandene einfach zu verbessern oder anderswo anzubieten als das Rad neu zu erfinden.

  4. Aä, Michael: BRUc müsstest Du mir mal in Ruhe erklären…
    Dennoch findet gerade ein Umdenken statt. Mehr als es jeh gegebn hat und das beunruhigt die Hersteller.

  5. @Arneb:yeah, just your five cents!
    jj: Thank you. I like my appraoch too. It´s the only way to go…

  6. audi dealer says:

    I am very interested on how far Audi takes their commitment towards a sustainable future. More or less, I think hybrid cars are lined up.

  7. Audi continues its efforts to provide excellent services and products to their clients. I hope that Audi will be able to sustain their commitments towards a better car delearship and manufacturing.

  8. Audi is really one of the best brands of cars to date. It’s design and style made the competition between the car manufacturers tighter. I look forward to this development and innovation by the company. I hope that they’ll continue to give high quality car designs to its consumers.

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  9. John Grints says:

    Audi company is continuing its efforts in providing the best and high quality cars to its clients and consumers. I hope that they will be able to manufacture cars for middle class people. This will allow them to enjoy the benefits of having a not so expensive car but with great features, looks and innovations.

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  10. used hyundai says:

    I really love Audi. It’s been one of my top 5 automobile favorites. The quality is just beyond extraordinary.

  11. Lucky for you to have the chance to attend to that kind of seminar. For me, it is much more fun to go to any seminar in which you can acquire or gain more knowledge rather than going to party every night.

  12. Rachel Smerd says:

    I don’t actually need that type car because I can travel anywhere using other means of transportation. Audi cars are cool but it’s too expensive for me.

  13. Audi’s sponsorship of such summits is heartening. But philanthropy may not be its only reasons since eventually, the car must be taken into account for any future cities man will create.

  14. Audi’s been in the business for decades and I never knew how they intensify their social campaigns. Good for them, even without expensive commercials they still sell out a lot of their cars.

  15. bus to kl says:

    I enjoyed reading it. I need to read more on this topic…I admiring time and effort you put in your blog, because it is obviously one great place where I can find lot of useful info..

  16. Lucky you to be able to attend the Audi Future Summit! I agree with the considerations people think when purchasing a car. It doesn’t matter what type of car you’re driving, because for me, what’s important is the internal parts of your car that would work harder than any of your car parts.

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