Arrenbergstatt: How a Real-World-Lab Approach Can Foster Inclusion

When carrying sustainability projects or initiatives, diversity and inclusion are essential components for a holistic view on the problems and opportunities at hand. Often, the lack of knowledge about the habits and interests of certain groups is an entry-level barrier to their inclusion. Testing new approaches in real world laboratories can be a useful approach to generate new insights on how to minimise such barriers.

As part of the Urban Up project, the initiative “Aufbruch am Arrenberg” has designed a new project, the “Arrenbergstatt” – tying the Wuppertal district of Arrenberg to the idea of a community workshop. The Arrenbergstatt was launched in July 2021 after six months of joint preparation in an inter- and transdisciplinary team consisting of the CSCP,  “Aufbruch am Arrenberg”, and “Werke”, an initiative of architecture and design students that has set up a small workshop for metal and woodwork.

In the course of six months, free public workshops have been held biweekly, during which different construction and upcycling ideas have been implemented. The ”Arrenbergstatt” events aim at bringing people together and motivating them to get involved in upcycling, repairing and Do It Yourself (DIY) activities. In particular, people who have previously had little or no interfaces with sustainability topics or activities are approached by the initiative.

The series of events is intended to serve as a testing ground for new concepts to strengthen the diversity component of sustainability projects. In an experimental and dynamic process of constant adaptation, the transdisciplinary project team continuously evaluates the events and the way potential participants are approached. So far, intensive communication efforts to inform all households, collaboration with other organisations, and the continuous offering of low-threshold activities in an open setting have proven key to promoting inclusion.

Urban Up is a five year research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

For further questions, please contact Alexandra Kessler.

Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash.