The BMW Guggenheim Lab is currently running in Berlin, and last week I hosted a workshop which saw participants spend a day transforming car parking spots into spaces for people. We called it ‘Labplatz’, and the event was co-hosted with local collaborators Innes and Ruben from Stiftung Freizei - a Berlin collective that ‘look for public sense in common space’.
Labplatz was an experiment and a fun event with three main aims:
- Understand the importance of urban public space.
- Rethink the way we use public space and our streets.
- Encourage discussion about we can make cities and urban spaces people friendly.
Before Labplatz started at noon, nearby streets were dominated by cars, both parked and in transit. From 2pm onwards we had ice carving, a cooking school, giant board games, pancake making, a bicycle building workshop, a dance floor, swimming pool, picnic park and more.
By 3pm the cars seemed to realise this street had been reclaimed, and people began sitting in the road. Kids started playing, the bike workshop spilled out from a parking spot into the road itself, and conversations shifted from the pavement to the road. Local families took their strollers down the road and people even bumped into their neighbours in a space usually reserved for cars.
What a difference.