The hackathon with heart: how Darmstadt residents want to protect their urban climate in the future

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The webinar ‘Darmstadt HACKT für Wasser und Umwelt’ (Darmstadt HACKS for water and the environment) demonstrated a high degree of creative drive last Friday afternoon: Around 40 participants registered for the 24-hour online event of the Environment/Water participatory project in the Smart City Laboratory to co-creatively develop fresh ideas and concepts for some of the major challenges of Darmstadt’s urban ecology. The participants were given 24 hours, and on Saturday afternoon, they got to present their ideas to a jury of scientists and municipal officials. Three winning designs were awarded at the end of the hackathon and all ideas are being incorporated into the design of the ‘Smart Cities made in Germany’ federal funding programme. Its focus in Darmstadt is on the topic of water and the environment.

The participants worked in eight groups on three predefined challenges, for which solutions had to be developed over the next 24 hours: What could measures in water-sensitive urban development look like? Which green-blue infrastructures could improve the climate and the environment, and how could green buildings be implemented on a large scale?

The concepts developed showed how, for example, the responsible use of water, new ways of planting sealed areas or the use of digital assistants and web portals could lead to making Darmstadt even greener and therefore more liveable.

The results: three winners, three praiseworthy mentions

The jury, which evaluated the eight presentations on Saturday afternoon at the end of the hackathon and selected three winners, found the task far from easy. How solution-oriented, scalable or forward-looking are the ideas? The jurors deliberated their decision for over an hour before announcing the following winners:

First place (€1,000): Groof

An online platform that answers all important questions about greenery and also serves as a platform where new and established facade and building gardeners can meet to discuss plants, garden plots and Darmstadt’s flora. (Team members: Inga Dschinger, Lukas Cramer, Robert Kubiek, Joshua Bodemann, Sven Reule)

Second place (€750): Greening our city

The investment concept develops green-blue infrastructures along three different sized building blocks: from mobile beds and tree sponsorships to unsealing projects and the construction of biodiversity-rich city-wide corridors as green-blue veins of the city map. (Team members: Mallinalli Boss, Vanessa Schwickart, Tamina Milius, Daniel Müller, Hana Ataei, Nora Schwarz, Sophie Pfeil for Architects4Future Darmstadt)

Third place (€500): Benches and cans

A participation platform that calls on all citizens to water fledgling urban trees. Rain collection containers and watering cans are to be attached to posts for this purpose. Everyone from the neighbourhood can thus water the greenery in their street. The platform notifies participants if the trees don’t get enough water. (Team members: Eva von Monschaw, Paula Grzesiek, Richard Gerspach, Jannik Fritsch, Carmen Aires, Tobias Albrecht)

The participants were visibly impressed: ‘Thank you for the great event. We had a lot of fun and are delighted to receive this award,’ said the email of one of the prizewinners.

You can learn more about the hackathon and pitch ideas here in the hackathon reader (PDF)


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