Soil and the City
concept for an interactive exhibition format
- concept Christina Serowski
- co-operation partner IASS – Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam
This exhibition is designed to draw the public’s attention to the issue of endangered soil resources. It shows how we contribute to the loss of soil in our daily activities and what we can do about it. The visitors are supported by digital exhibits and invited to participate in a game about the future of their city. This way they can join the discussion and learn more about a sustainable way of the management of soil resources. The content is focused on the matter of sustainable cities, as those play a major role in the global use of land and are an important part of our life.
the forgotten resource soil
Soil is threatened due to its unsustainable management worldwide, growing cities and effects of climate change. Although our daily consumption patterns contribute to this development we can not see its outcome directly. We are not aware of the connection to land use in general, e.g. food production, or construction.
Future vision of a sustainable city and soil consumption
The city shapes our everyday life and is part of our identity. It is the habitat for more than half the population worldwide and its development is crucial for the global usage of resources as it consumes roughly 75% of them. The more sustainable the cities development is the more sustainable the usage of soil becomes. Therefore, the vision of a sustainable city shall be the key element and the story line of a greater game in the exhibition. It communicates the content vividly and shows everyday options/ solutions for action. Supported by digital media the visitor can experience how his life in the city effects soil consumption.
A walk through the exhibition
The visitors are welcomed by a future vision of the city where the exhibition takes place. This vision, a constantly shifting panorama, is projected onto a big screen in front of the exhibition in order to establish the city narrative.
The exhibition ticket shows an overview of the different topics and how they are connected. It also allows the visitors to take part in an overarching game in the exhibition and learn about their personal land use, which will be displayed as land footprint.
While the visitors learn about changes in land use on global, national and local level, their land footprints are calculated in hectares based on their mobility, diet and lifestyle. To stimulate discussion and social interaction, the visitors’ land footprints are projected onto the floor, shown in relation to the country’s average land footprint. The personal land footprints are collected and stored on the visitors’ tickets as they tour through the exhibition and play the game.
At Play for Your City, the visitors can create a future vision of their city. This future city appears on the reverse side of the entrance projection. The city is in fact a playground – it is divided into parcels, with which the visitors can interact.
Starting the game, the player’s total land footprint is read from their ticket and displayed on the floor. At the same time, an empty parcel of the city is assigned to the player. They can turn this part of the city into a utopia or dystopia depending on their total land use area. There are different options in the game to optimize land usage: by changing mobility, diet or lifestyle. The goal is to reduce the area to the target value of 2030: 1,8 ha. Each visitor can shape their own vision of the city's future by participating in the game.
What did you gain in the end? This is the final question of the exhibition. When the visitors approach the exit gate, their land footprint is displayed on the floor again. It follows them until they walk through the gate, so they remember it is a part of their life. Someone may still have a substantial land footprint and that should not be a secret. While this person can enter the gate without problems, their land footprint might have to squash its shape vividly and loudly to fit through the gate. For we share this only one planet, one’s resource consumption has to be seen in a social framework.
partial realisation of the concept as an outdoor installation
- realisation IASS in cooperation with the GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH and the Grün Berlin GmbH
- May – June 2015
One Hectare is a free outdoor installation, set up on the green space Schöneberger Wiese in the Park am Gleisdreeick.
The installation was developed around a sub-concept of the Soil and the City project. The main idea of this sub-concept is to draw the public attention to the exhibition’s theme 'soil' by placing diverse installations in busy areas in the city.
How big is 1 ha?
One Hectare is a 1 ha big floor graphic that demonstrates the largeness of the measure hectare and visualizes global land use.
This oversized rectangular mark is drawn like football lining on the lawn. The further divided rectangular areas of the exhibition hectare visualize the different land use areas like pasture, wood, deserts, urban areas or crop areas. To serve a better understanding, binoculars are installed around the field. Looking through the glasses the visitor can see further information about the land use areas.
In the process of adapting the concept, a container – serving as viewing platform as well as exhibition space – was added to the installation.
The concept Soil and the City and One Hectare are based on my bachelor thesis Auf Sand gebaut? Zukunftsvisionen und regionaler Bezug als Kommunikationsstrategien für ein interaktives Ausstellungsformat zur bedrohten Ressource Boden.