Urbanization is a global mega trend. The smart urban pioneers idea contest seeks bright concepts that improve life – and harmonic coexistence – in the city. High time to introduce three time-related projects.

Tomorrow’s metropolis needs a brisk breath of fresh air to remain attractive and livable for residents in the future. This is where smart urban pioneers comes in: The idea competition seeks the best concepts for smart urban living. 39 masterminds, entrepreneurs, and urban visionaries have submitted their visions – now their innovative approaches foster digital networking, enrich urban impulses, and even establish a new coffee house culture for the deaf.

A win for the city

Firmly anchored in the here and now, smart urban pioneers takes responsibility for tomorrow’s city. After our call for participation, we received 39 competition entries that aim to improve life in our cities – and a global online community got to pick three finalists that receive the 50,000 Euro in shared prize money. Yet there’s far more to this idea fest than the three winners: The following projects from Berlin, Stuttgart, and Vienna certainly deserve our undivided attention.

urban art
Dedicated to making the city more colorful: Street.Love.
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler / art: Scotty 76

True love lives in the streets: Street.Love

The idea behind Street.Love is pretty simple: It’s time to put joy back into our streets. The resulting event series, community, platform, and playground for anyone who wants to enjoy life to the full does everything it can to connect urbanites and encourage them to join shared activities like football in the park, spontaneous concerts on a city square, or tasty food truck festivities. Street.Love is all about having fun, making new discoveries, and switching perspectives – it proves that enjoying the city doesn’t have to be expensive. Pascal Klein, Konstantin Ebert, and Pat Blessing are the people behind Street.Love. Last year, 20,000 visitors enjoyed their first-ever Stuttgart street food market. The Pentecost weekend saw an expanded Street Love Market taking over an area near the Swabian city’s North Station. Here, a cool 30,000 food lovers not only got to enjoy great culinary delights, but also a selection of fashion, music, arts, sport, and diversions for the little ones. Get ready for some Street.Love!

children at the Street Love Festival
30,000 visitors enjoyed the mix of arts, sports, food and music at the first Street Love Market.
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
red car
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
Food trailer
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
man selling food
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
musician at the Street Love Festival
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
People at the Street Love Festival
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
trailer selling Falafel and Empanadas
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
crowd at the Street Love Festival
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler
Street Love Festival map
Photo: Frederik Dulay-Winkler

How residents can design and shape their own hood with just a smartphone and map

You love your hood – but somehow, something’s always missing: a zebra crossing here, a traffic light there, extra garbage cans, more decent playgrounds… Those who want to spruce up their neighborhood need patience, initiative – or Kiez-Karte, a map and app designed to serve as a digital mouthpiece. Kiez-Karte helps Berliners to get involved in designing their own hood with just a few clicks and swipes. Similar to Google Maps and filled with local budget data of Berlin’s Lichtenberg district, the app not only gives users an overview of interesting local spots, but also allows them to submit suggestions and ideas, thus involving them in shaping their own cityscape and urban habitat. With its enormous potential to spread beyond Lichtenberg, Kiez-Karte can change the way citizens influence their surroundings.

Kiez Karte
Influence in your neighborhood is at your fingertips: with the Kiez-Karte app.
Photo: Kiez-Karte

Barrier-free living starts with a latte

“Kaffee ohne Worte” (coffee without words), a Viennese initiative started by Maximilian Huber, helps the deaf-mute order hot beverages at a local coffee house. The project uses a two-pronged approach of starter kit and barista training to foster integration and cultural exchange over coffee. In other words, Kaffee ohne Worte allows those who run Vienna’s coffee houses to learn and convey the basics of sign language, using everyone’s favorite hot drink as a medium. The starter kit contains brochures, post cards, displays, and posters with the most important signs. Flanking workshops provide staff with additional, active training – and also help other guests to pick up a few basic signs and expressions. In this spirit, “Kaffee ohne Worte” aims to build up a community that supports handicap- and barrier-free social networking, indicated by special stickers. An invitation to integration and hospitality – without too many words.