Berlin & Prague 2016: Day 6 – Welcome to Berlin

In 2016 we are leading 4 high school summer trips. You can read all about our Global Innovators trips or get in touch to ask us any questions about the programs. Our 2016 Berlin & Prague trip “Hacking the City” focuses on innovation, start-ups and community in cities around the world. During the trip, students take turns writing a daily blog post to describe their project process and exploration, follow along here.

The end of our day in Dresden began with an early 7:15 breakfast, before our two hour train ride into Berlin. Exiting the train, we met Adam who led us through Berlin’s transportation system, showing the group the various lines that make up Berlin’s subway and tram systems. After dropping our luggage off at our hotel, we visited the Berlin Technical University to meet Jonas, and discussed topics that recurred throughout our day such as urban planning and environmental stability, over lunch. With full stomachs, we continued on to the office Jonah was working in along with a team of others, to create the “Brain Box”. The brain box is a tool that Jonah and his team had created that personally astounded me, with its great potential and multitude of benefits.

Physically, the brain box is a large table with the surface of the table consisting of a screen with cameras beneath used to monitor movement on top of the screen, which make the surface touch sensitive in a way similar to an iPad, and have the ability to scan QR codes placed on the table. The brain box is an interactive tool which can be used to pull up maps of cities, giving a bird’s eyes view of the city, making the cities structure clear and can show the city’s break down of residential, industrial areas, and how possible projects such as implementing new technologies would affect different areas. What makes brain box unique is it makes the whole process of urban design translucent, and is created with the intention of making the process inclusive for those in the community who are often left in the dark, yet are most impacted.

After learning about the brain box and urban planning, the group went on to explore the city, first starting at a bustling shopping mall, filled with the packed life that makes urban planning crucial. Next, we went to an old church which had been damaged in the bombings of Berlin during World War II, and had a newer church next door with mystical lighting inside. Our day ended with a delicious dinner at Ragout, consisting of delicious Italian food that was a perfect end to a wonderful day.