We might start to call it a tradition if every installment of the annual POCACITO in Germany tour weren’t so einzigartig, as our German friends might say. This year’s trip of 15 emerging leaders in urban sustainability from the United States focused on rethinking systems of mobility, which took us from Frankfurt to Dresden to Berlin to Hannover to Einbeck. We took the theme literally, availing ourselves of the well-built multimodal transport infrastructure in Germany. At one point, while riding the Regional Bahn from Hannover to Einbeck, we counted over a dozen different modes of transport – some unexpectedly – in the course of the week. And we still never made it into a hot air balloon.
We won’t detail the entire itinerary here, but some of the highlights of the trip included meeting with DVB’s sophisticated modelling system developers and creative public engagement experts; visiting VW’s forward-looking start-up incubator; talking with Professor Udo Becker at TU-Dresden; touring the town with Konrad Krause of ADFC Dresden; checking out InnoZ, ubitricity, and other innovators at Berlin’s Euref Campus; hearing about the work of Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Agora Verkehrswende; a bike trek through Hannover; meeting with the city’s mayor; taking in spectacular views from the top of the town hall; and seeing the work of Rainer Nowak and Marion Hopp at Metropolregion to expand the reach of sustainable transport – all the way to a panel discussion at the PS Speicher in Einbeck.
It was an ambitious program, but we could sleep on the plane back to the US.
Whether the program was a success lies predominately in the hands of the participants and how they bring the ideas and opportunities for collaboration they found in Germany home. But another factor in the potential for POCACITO in Germany to expand its reach is the growing network of alumni within the US. Not only do the participants meet leaders and innovators in Germany; they also have a week to build relationships with professionals from across the US, strengthening cooperation at home as well.
We’re happy to announce that the POCACITO in Germany program has received an extension from our primary funding source, the ERP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. That means there will be a 2019 tour. Watch this space for our call for applications. Until then, join the @pocacito conversation on Twitter and find out when other POCACITO projects are coming to your city.