Dérive Berlin

Assignment: Explore Berlin and its urban spaces and be introduced to new design research methods. Learn how to apply these in your own creative environment.

Stakeholders: Avans University of Applied Sciences, AKV St. Joost, Belius Foundation (Berlin), Research Centre for Art, Design & Technology (EKV).

Focus: Personal Development, Research & Design

During the last semester of my study, April 2018, I attended Derive Spring School Berlin along with eleven other students from Avans University of Applied Sciences and AKV St Joost. This was a one week program organized by Avans University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with Belius Foundation (Berlin) and the Research Centre for Art, Design & Technology (EKV). This week we became acquainted with new research methods related to design and learned how to apply these in our own creative environment.

The term 'serendipity' played a major role in the week. We wandered through the city of Berlin and encountered unexpected things that we then used for our research. In groups, we worked on solutions for problems that took place in the area and thereby, we got to see Berlin from a unique perspective. Exploring the city in a spontaneous manner helped improve our research skills as we were partially unprepared for the large-scale setting of Berlin’s urban areas, therefore we had to creatively adapt to our environment.

Together with two other students, I examined the Radbahn Berlin project. This is a citizens' initiative set up by eight Berliners. The Radbahn is a cycle path under the old N1 metro line which makes cycling through Berlin more accessible. The project was largely devised and elaborated in a book and a website. The initiative currently awaits support and donations from the people of Berlin, hence there were only preconceived outlines of the cycle paths and not a completed network.

We cycled along the outline of the planned cycle paths ourselves and filmed sections of the route, which gave people an impression of what the current state of the paths was.


We also examined the book and looked at the scope of the project. We remained critical and asked ourselves the following questions: Are the steps they’ve made logical? Is the project feasible in our view? And what steps can they take to make it (in our opinion) even more attractive?

During the week we were able to combine our skills and we managed to set up a scaled version of the Radbahn in an innovative and creative way. We have included our vision and gave the project a new layer that gives the cyclist an extra experience while cycling the Radbahn. We focused on the neighborhoods where the Radbahn runs through. We determined the identity of these neighborhoods and involved them in the project on the basis of our own interpretation. This made the project personal to us. In our new design of the Radbahn, the cyclist would get an impression of the surrounding areas while he/she cycles the route. This will make the Radbahn not only functional but also more attractive for tourists.