From left to right: Jennifer Schubert, Andreas Unteidig, Bianca Herlo, Florian Sametinger, Malte Bergmann

Jennifer Schubert, Andreas Unteidig, Bianca Herlo, Florian Sametinger, Malte Bergmann

We are a research group at the Design Research Lab Berlin working on questions concerning designed infrastructures in urban communities. Civic Infrastructures investigates social, material and technological means which enable citizens to address relevant issues. The transdisciplinary research approach is grounded on a meaningful understanding of social contexts, designed artifacts and a research-through-design approach.

This is very much connected to an investigation and pragmatization of the different perspectives of sustainability, of the possibilities of empowerment and of fostering infrastructures for participation. We understand communities as forms of active engagement, collaboration and knowledge sharing which create new social bonds and we regard them as catalysts for social innovation and participation. We operate with participatory formats and create tools in order to facilitate social participation.


Our research group consists of six researchers, each with a different perspective, i.e. urban studies, cultural studies, interaction design, sustainable design & design research, in order to create synergies and new points-of-view on possible futures in urban communities.
Bianca Herlo

As a senior design researcher, Bianca always looks for the untold stories of different national, cultural and ethnic groups, linking them to narrative design strategies. With a background in Audiovisual Communication in Social Contexts, she leads several design research projects that question participatory design strategies and transdisciplinary processes in Social Living Lab approaches. Bianca is co-founder and director of the *.artlabs – for arts, design and technology.

Jennifer Schubert

Jennifer Schubert studied at the Köln International School of Design and Parsons New School for Design New York with the focus on Communication Design and Qualitative Design Research. In her PhD she is focussing on ‘Civic Tools for Social and Political Participation in Urban Neighorhoods’. She researches if low-threshold tools are able to build social fabric and lead to political participation.

Florian Sametinger

Joining the Design Research Lab in 2010 as a PhD candidate, researcher, educator and interaction design specialist, his main field of work is Design for Sustainability with a focus on the exploration and development of Sustainable Awareness Tools for urban neighborhoods.

Andreas Unteidig

Andreas is a research associate & lecturer at the Design Research Lab/Berlin University of the Arts, where he explores the relationship of design, technology and the political. Prior to that, he studied at KISD/Cologne and Parsons/NYC and worked as a graphic, interaction and service designer. He has been teaching design methods and theory in Berlin, Cologne, Dessau and Jerusalem. His work has been published and exhibited throughout Europe, the US, Israel and China. He is co-editor of »Design as Research: Positions, Arguments, Perspectives«, published by Birkhäuser in 2016. Andreas is leading the Berlin efforts contributing to the EU research project MAZI (CAPS/H2020).

Miriam Lahusen

Miriam Lahusen is involved in the project energy sufficiency where she investigates ways of reducing the consumption of energy. Applying participatory design methods, her research focusses at wicked problems that occur when sustainabily strategies are implemented in daily life.

Malte Bergmann

Malte is a sociologist, with a backround in academic urban research and of community work. His main research interest is to understanding community formations in todays complex and divers urbanity and to co-develop possible bottom up development trajectories. He is working for the German Society for Design Theory and Research (DGTF), on freelance projects and bloging for As passionate urbanite he loves watching the movement and changes of the “sidewalk ballet”.