It's time to give the readers who are interested in topics like digital education, MINT, civic participation, urban development and children an update on the project "Kinderstadtteilforschung" from the west of Stuttgart. As an easter greeting so to speak..

In the last few months, one or the other action day of the project has taken place again during the past school vacations. That is, when the children have time and leisure to learn something that goes beyond the scope of the educational plan but will undoubtedly become important in their further work and becoming in life.

New neighbors – experiencing your own neighborhood together with refugee children

Saba, Sinan, Hussein, Ledan and Gianna – these are the names of children who had moved into the vacant Friedensschule, a former secondary school wall to wall with the Schwabschule, as interim neighbors. The children were keen to get to know these "strangers" and introduce them to their home neighborhood from their own perspective. This is how selected favorite places. Dangerous places shown. And it was shown how it works to buy small items in a discount supermarket.

The Action day eye swap with refugee children was a great challenge for all involved, as the translator was ill that day. But with hands and feet and the use of three smartphones with different translation apps, with and without natural language input, a communication succeeded and there was a lot of laughter.

Friendships did not develop, the neighbors have already moved on again, but the fact that children told the social pedagogues and researchers involved the message that these people had the same fate as Jesus in the Christmas story, makes one pensive.

Democratic use of public space in smart cities

Reminder: The quintessence of the children's district research with regard to traffic in front of the elementary school was that around 62 percent of drivers observe the speed limit of 30 km/h, while 38 percent drive faster.

For this reason, we continued to think ahead, developed a participatory concept, and discussed with the city of Stuttgart in the city hall whether and how it could be possible for the children to use a street for their own purposes once a year, at least for an hour. The wish was to have a children-painting-the-street-action perform.

In the end, the time was not yet ripe to democratically repurpose the main road Schwabstraße for a few hours (z.B. At the district festival or at a fine dust alert day). But with the energetic help of various offices and representatives of the state capital Stuttgart, the traffic-calmed area next to the Schwab School became the place of choice. The action was synchronized with the annual ParkingDay, which takes place worldwide.

Traffic-calmed areas are ideally suited for such concerns within the framework of the StVO: The use of such an area is not limited to locomotion, but also includes communicative use, such as.B. Common leisure activities. Only walking speed is allowed, d.H. Maximum 7 kilometers per hour. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians have equal rights. Vehicle drivers must neither endanger nor hinder pedestrians, if necessary they must wait. Parking is not permitted outside the areas marked for it, except for getting in and out of the car or for loading and unloading. The zone is to be marked in terms of road signs and construction with the signage "Beginning of a traffic-calmed area" resp. "End of a traffic-calmed area" as well as, for example, level paving.

And so the children have taken up the traffic-calmed area next to the Schwab school for a Friday afternoon on an equal footing, and have used an area of approx. Be able to paint 200 square meters of public space with chalk.

Because of the socio-technical research design, a lot of things happen in parallel in an intervention like this; children, residents and people driving through give a lot of verbal and non-verbal feedback and interact. Initial findings are exploratory in nature, but they shed light on the need for further research:

Real-lab research (research approach). The reactions of those involved were complex. They ranged from the original sound of a benevolent resident: "At last you are here. Doing something about speeding in the traffic-calmed zone. If you have a car in Stuttgart, you have more rights than with children" to passing cyclists and car drivers who waved off and did not want to enter into a dialog. Some people gave as feedback that they had capitulated to the situation of the prevailing traffic power relations. Mobility research (safety and culture). A very interesting result of the observation was: cars subjectively drove too fast, even if a horde of about 50 children were on the road in a traffic-calmed area at the maximum for an action. One needed for safety reasons quite the 4 to 8 adults who were in each case at the same time as a steward in use, half of it with steward bandage marked, in order to accomplish such an intervention responsibly. Future research (automated. Autonomous driving).
While quite a few drivers showed a lack of knowledge of the StVO and did not know that in a traffic-calmed area one has to drive at walking speed, another part of the drivers had obvious problems with being able to move today's cars technically at all at walking speed and not faster. This seems to signal an obvious requirement for the mobility of the future in smart cities: the installation of a "walking cruise control" in the on-board computer of cars. Better yet, an "intelligent speed guard and limiter" that automatically detects and enforces speed limits based on location and, together with future interdependent autopilot systems, ensures the safe coexistence of cars and people in the city.

As a follow-up, the project team is very pleased that the state capital Stuttgart is considering actions by politicians and administrators to raise awareness among all road users in traffic-calmed areas. We are interested in how it goes on.

The police come – and show how kind moves best on 2 or 8 wheels

In the penultimate children's district research, the police came to the schoolyard and showed the children in theoretical and practical physics how Inline skates and scooters can be best controlled. A mobile speed measuring device was even set up in the schoolyard. A "fall school," led by two real-life policewomen on inline skates and wearing proper protective gear taught how to ride with wheels under your feet and fall without breaking your bones. This made a heavy impression on the young road users and has an exemplary character. Informative: please don't want hooverboards, monowheels and segways at the next festival. It's not for kids, depending on the case, even adults need registration, insurance, driver's license, safety helmets etc.

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