Die “Tell Your City”-Reihe beim Lab endete mit einer Fahrradstadtführung. Die Besucher lernten Berlin von einer neuen Seite kennen und erkundeten spannende Orte, an denen Menschen die Stadt nachhaltiger und lebenswerter gestalten.

Die “Tell Your City”-Reihe beim Lab endete mit einer Fahrradstadtführung. Die Besucher lernten Berlin von einer neuen Seite kennen und erkundeten spannende Orte, an denen Menschen die Stadt nachhaltiger und lebenswerter gestalten.

Tell Your City-Reihe im Lab

Wie kann man den Klimawandel inhaltlich und formal neu erzählen und am Beispiel der Stadt erfahrbar machen? Eine Veranstaltungsreihe der Climate Media Factory, bestehend aus Vorlesungen, Autoren-Workshop und Story-Präsentation, erkundete diese Frage beim BMW Guggenheim Lab.

Wir, die Climate Media Factory, danken herzlich den Referent/innen, dem Team des BMW Guggenheim Labs, den Workshop-Teilnehmern und Besuchern. Vielen Dank außerdem an Christiane Hütter (Invisible Playground) und Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann (TU Berlin, Young Cities), die die Veranstaltungsreihe mitgestaltet haben sowie anJella Trenkelbach und Hannah Lisa Linsmaier vom interkulturellen Dachgarten Himmelbeet und an die Baugruppe des Mehrgenerationen-Passivhauses in der Schönholzer Straße.

Ein Rückblick in Bildern zur “Tell Your City”-Reihe:

Wolfgang Schade, Leiter des Geschäftsfeldes Verkehrssysteme am Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI in Karlsruhe referierte über Mobilität in der Stadt von morgen.

Matthias Lüdeke, Klimawissenschaftler am Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung, diskutierte mit den Besuchern über den Klimawandel in Berlin und anderen Großstädten.

Bernd Hezel stellte die Climate Media Factory vor…

…und Florian Krauß, Medienwissenschaftler bei der Climate Media Factory, führte in “Tell Your City” ein.

Dorothea Martin vom Transmedia-Storytelling-Netzwerk imaginary friends referierte mit Ihrem Kollegen über collaborative und location-based storytelling.

New angle on climate change and storytelling

Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, mit Fakten aufgeladene Darstellungen, Zahlenkolonnen: Abstrakte Themenfelder wie Klimawandel und Nachhaltigkeit provozieren schnell ein Gähnen.

Geschichten über Menschen, die wie wir ihre alltägliche Erfahrungen sammeln, die mit den Umständen und mit sich selbst kämpfen, die siegen und scheitern, lassen uns hingegen über unser eigenes Leben nachdenken. Und führen vielleicht dazu, dass wir unser Verhalten ändern. Aber wie werden heutzutage Geschichten geschrieben?

"Tell Your City" erkundet, wie wir den Klimawandel inhaltlich und formal neu erzählen und am Beispiel der Stadt erfahrbar machen können. Das Projekt startete mit einer Veranstaltungsreihe beim BMW Guggenheim Lab, die aus Lectures, Autoren-Workshop und Story-Stadtführung bestand.

Tell Your City is a transmedia project that explores new ways of story development: interdisciplinary, transnational, collaborative and online. On the internet and in workshops, accompanied by various experts, authors are going to develop narratives on climate change and cities. A complex story universe and a new mode of presenting knowledge will arise: with surprising connections between different phenomena and with individual stories for global issues.

We believe one can tell today’s globalization and its contradictory processes particularly within urban setting. Namely, cities embrace various lifestyles and shape our future. They will decide about the dimensions on climate change and will be affected by its impacts to a special degree. By telling your city you will make the abstract issue climate change concrete, writing locally, thinking globally.

Tell Your City ist ein Projekt der Climate Media Factory.


Collaborative Storytelling: examples

Poiesipedia: a free, internet-based collaborative encyclopedia aimed at creating fictional as opposed to factual content

ThumbScribes: a platform for creating collaborative content

Novlet: collaborative writing of non-linear stories

Folding Story: a group storytelling game

Storybird is on creating picture books.

Ficly: “a collaborative environment where anyone can pick up a narrative thread and weave a prequel or sequel”

WikiStory: Wiki for storytelling

Storymash: platform for collaborative fiction

…with our icons: They illustrate crucial aspects of climate change and cities are a catchy tool for authors and experts. You can combine icons and emphasize surprising links between issues and stories.


…with our icons: They illustrate crucial aspects of climate change and cities are a catchy tool for authors and experts. You can combine icons and emphasize surprising links between issues and stories.


Dr. Bernd Hezel, physicist, Climate Media Factory / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:

Burning all the existing fossile fuel would change the face of the earth dramatically. This alone should be motivation enough to rethink the way we move from here to there. Certainly, though, there are loads of other reasons why this could be a good idea: Traffic jams, accidents, exhaust fumes, noise, smog, parking stress, heaps of wasted time… If we reinvent transport we could end up in increasing our quality of life considerably.

Hence: “The car is dead.” Or should it read: “The car must die”? A vision for a sustainable transport system should certainly involve more descriptive and constructive statements than that!

The connectedness of mobility with other issues disqualifies simple answers. As an example, different means of transportation and persistent personal mobility habits shape city structures. A smart design of neighborhoods and cities, on the other hand, could allow for the ascent of different modes of transport.

Let’s tell stories involving the forerunners of car-sharing, multi modality, “slow movement”. Stories about the shift of societal values and new mobility paradigms.

Projects and people:

Stop A 100!, Bürgerinitiative Stadtring Süd (BISS), local initiative against the extension of the Berlin city highway

Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrradclub Berlin (ADFC)

Autofrei leben, initiative for living without a car

Autofrei Wohnen Berlin

Berlin bamboo bikes: build your bike with bamboo

Future on wings, sustainable development from the bird’s perspective

SolarPolis, city tours with solar boats

Urban mobility, alternative ways of travelling

Rickshaw driver in Berlin

More information:

GHG-TransPoRD, research project on educing greenhouse-gas emissions of transport beyond 2020

Berlin Atlas paradoxaler Mobilität: maps, essays, interviews etc. on mobility cultures

Institut für Transportation Design

Maps on mobility in Berlin

Vision für nachhaltigen Verkehr in Deutschland - Fraunhofer ISI

Wie sieht Mobilität in der Zukunft aus? - Greenpeace Blog

Information on mobility on Klimaschutz Stadtvertrag

BUND für Umwelt und Naturschutz Berlin on mobility

"Reisen in Zeiten des Klimawandels" (Travelling in the age of climate change), article in “Fluter”

Blog "Zukunft Mobilität"

Photographs: Krauß 2011, Hezel 2010 / Icons: Müller 2012

Nachbarschaft und Klima / Neighbourhood and climate

Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann, urban planner, Young Cities / TU Berlin:

The individual and experimental citizens of Berlin are repeatedly taking everyone by surprise because of their innovative ecological and climate-sensitive initiatives. The events organised by initiatives such as Kulturlabor trial & error and TransitionTown are filling the weekend agendas of their followers and are confirming the overwhelming commitment and creativity of their founders. Have you ever danced silently in the streets to demonstrate your environmental awareness? The Silent Climate Parade has been taking place in Berlin since 2009 and proves that active climate mitigation strategies can be fun.

Berlin – a city with metropolitan gestures - is characterised by its local city centres and a community life in the Berliner Kieze (neighbourhoods). Any transformation of the Kiez-life is triggered by their local activists, so that the neighbourhood territory becomes an ideal urban incubator for social interventions and urban development processes, driven by their inhabitants, administrations and local stakeholders. Therefore, neighbourhoods are most suitable to implement and practise successful climate change mitigation or adaptation strategies while incorporating the social dimension of climate change. Neighbourhood based communities will play a future key role in the transformation process that is needed to create low carbon cities.

The creative social assets of  Berlin’s neighbourhoods carry tremendous potential to pave the way for many environmental and climate friendly urban developments. Documenting and spreading public awareness about these civil movements is crucial for their success.

On this basis, we would like to concentrate on the following aspects within the workshop:

  • What does climate change mean for the Berliner Kieze?
  • What do Berlin neighbourhoods offer to face the complex challenges of climate change?
  • Which typical Berlin lifestyles and behaviour patterns help to create flexible urban mitigation and adaptation strategies to deal with climate change impacts?

Projects and people:

Transition Town Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

Transition Town Berlin und Brandenburg

Kiezbündnis Klausener Platz: Ökokiez 2020, climate protection in Berlin-Charlottenburg

Effizienzhaus Plus, energy house in Berlin-Charlottenburg

Baugruppe Zur Börse, a controversial project

Berliner Energietisch, initiative for recommunalization of energy supply in Berlin

Bürgerinitiative Zwischen den Gleisen, local initiative against the development of an abandoned area in Charlottenburg

Grünzüge für Berlin, an initiative trying to connect all green areas in Berlin

Klimaschutz Webportal and other projects by companies based in Berlin on KlimaSchutzPartner

Kulturlabor Trial&Error, a collective of designers, artists, thinkers and doers

Tempelhofer Freiheit

Yesil Cember, migrant environmental group

Silent Climate Parade Berlin

More information:

Solidarische Stadt – Genossenschaftliche Handlungsmöglichkeiten in Zeiten des Klimawandels (Forschungsprojekt)

Klimaschutz Stadtvertrag: information on insulating for tenants and homeowners etc.

GRaBS: Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns

Gentrifidingsbums oder eine Stadt für alle, book on gentrification by Christoph Twickel: He argues climate protection can contribute in gentrifying city districts.

Gentrificationblog by urban sociologist Andrej Holm

Urbanophil, Netzwerk für urbane Kultur

Photographs: Krauß 2011, Hezel 2010 / Icons: Müller 2012

Ernährung und Konsum / Consumption and Food

Mitigation and adaptation strategies regarding climate change challenge the present way of consumption especially in Western countries. How can we find new ways of consuming and producing within cities? Particularly food is a crucial field with many options.

Heike Munderloh, geographer, Climate Media Factory / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research writes:

Our food system is a very significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions come not only from the transport of food but also from every stage of the chain, such as the conversion of land to agricultural use, the energy used to make fertilisers, pesticides and farm machinery, the impact of agriculture on the soil (a natural carbon store), food processing, transport, refrigeration, retail, domestic use of food and waste from all the different stages.

A growing body of evidence indicates that emissions from the food sector can be significantly reduced if we would follow the points below:

Less meat and dairy, and more food from plants:

  • Products from farmed animals – meat and dairy products such as milk and cheese – are among the most energy-intensive and greenhouse-gas intensive food products of all.

Local and seasonal food:

  • Locally grown and prepared food can cut down on fuel use in “food miles”. Seasonal food need not be imported, does not require energy-intensive conditions such as heated greenhouses, can be produced organically and reduces the likelihood of energy-intensive methods of storage and transport such as refrigeration.

Food, such as organic, grown without artificial chemical:

  • Organic production methods are usually less energy-intensive than industrial agriculture. They do not use artificial fertiliser, which takes an enormous amount of energy and water to produce and results in emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.

Projects and people:

Prinzessinnengärten Berlin

Urbanacker, platform for urban farming

Stadt macht satt, more ideas for producing food within the city

Allmende-Kontor, Urban Gardening on Tempelhofer Feld

Interkultureller Gemeinschaftsdachgarten Wedding

Fördergemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau Berlin-Brandenburg, information on organic agriculture

Food Cooperatives (Food Coops), for example Wurzelwerk in Berlin-Friedrichshain

handmade Supermarkt

Vegan food and trades in Berlin, for example the vegan supermarket Veganz

Time/food, an unofficial restaurant, offering lunch every other Sunday in exchange for time credits

Tauschring Mitte, Umsonstlädin at TU Berlin and other "Umsonstläden", exchange shops in Berlin: examples for exchange economies 

Klamottentausch.net, exchanging clothes, online and with parties

Systemfehler, a platform for “solidary economy”


Kunst-Stoffe, center for reusable materials

Carrot mob Berlin, shopping for the environment protection

Mundraub, a platform on common fruit resources

Green Music Initiative, consuming music in a sustainable way

More information:

inFarming, agriculture on rooftops

Urban Gardening: Über die Rückkehr der Gärten in die Stadt

Community Supported Agriculture

trial on meat consumption and climate change by Potsdam-Institute for climate impact research

Öko-Fair, information on ecofriendly and fair consumption

Plattform Klimaverträglicher Konsum Deutschland

"Klimawandel und Kulturlandschaft Berlin": this trial also names important future trends for agriculture in Berlin and Brandenburg

More on FabLabs for example in the current issue of Le Monde diplomatique

Elinor Ostrom: "Was wird mehr, wenn wir teilen"

The Limits of Growth

Blog "Berlin is(s)t Bio"

Photographs: Krauß 2006 / Icons: Müller 2012

Get inspired!

Explore collaborative story projects and existing ways of telling cities and climate change. Get inspired!



Berlin maps on different subjects, energy, climate, water etc. can be found in the "Digitaler Umweltatlas Berlin".

The platform Green Map lists different “green” projects and initiatives worldwide, among them many places in Berlin.


I’m a city changer is a worldwide campaign with the aim of sensitizing and creating awareness among citizens on urban issues to achieve better cities.

bewegung.taz is a platform for various social/political groups.

Harden Up -Protecting Queensland is a Green Cross Australia led multi-stakeholder partnership to deploy cutting edge social networking tools and Australia’s best climate research to encourage Queenslanders to assess their vulnerability to key natural disaster hazards and to take practical action to become more self-reliant.

Community Voice wants people “to share their experiences of identity—both self-identity and cultural identity—in a video recording booth”.



The UCL Urban Laboratory Film Society explores the work of filmmakers that have depicted cities, the urban landscape, and life in urban societies. For the specific approach of cinematic city symphonies check the current Magical History Tour in Arsenal cinema Berlin.


Eine flexible Frau (Germany 2010, Tatjana Turanskyj) is hardly a film about climate change, but it deals with crucial issues of urban politics, particularly with architecture and gentrification in today’s Berlin. For a look back on urban development in West Berlin see for example “Berlin Chamissoplatz” (Germany 1980, Rudolf Thome). It tells the love story between the architect Martin and the student Anna who fights against demoloshing old buildings in Kreuzberg.


Various films are set in Berlin. See for example the corresponding Wikipedia list. An early example is the silent Kiez-Drama “Die letzte Droschke von Berlin” (Germany 1926, Carl Boese) portraying an old coachman who looses his jobs due to the triumphal march of the car. Almost 100 years later, how will mobility change in Berlin again?


Beyond well-known clichés of the Western gaze on Bollywood, "Dhobi Ghat" (“Bombay Diaries”, India 2010, Kiran Rao) portrays Mumbai/Bombay (the next setting of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, by the way).

Books and Magazines

A fictional diary in the German magazine Fluter tells how climate change will shape our everyday lifes in the future.

J. G. Billard outlines a postfossil society in his story "The Ultimate City" ("Die ideale Stadt").

"Über Lebenskunst" explores climate change from a philosophical and postcolonial gaze. An anthology for the culture project “Über Lebenskunst” in Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin.

Walter Berglund, the “hero” in Jonathan Franzen’s "Freedom" reads “The Limits of Growth” in his youth and decides not to beget any children in this world. But then everything turns out different and Walter is close to green washing. Franzen’s novel is a brilliant example for telling complex issues such as overpopulation and climate change in a fictional, entertaining way with multifaceted characters.

Get to know the lab’s next location by reading Suketu Mehta’s multi-layered portrait of Mumbai/Bombay "Bombay: Maximum City".

Research projects

Narrating futures at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München: “This project identifies a new, hitherto uncharted and unexplored field within Narratology: future narratives.”

Remix the book expands the concept of scholarly writing and publishing to include multimedia art forms composed for networked and mobile media environments.

Story of Books is a storytelling lab by collective Sojournposse.

Stadt der Ströme / City of flow is an international conference in July 2012, organised by the “City Climate Potsdam” Innovation Institute at Fachhochschule Potsdam. 

Photograph: Krauß 2010