Skip to main content

"Digital Transformation – Urban Futures"

Screenshot zum Projekt "A Brief History of CO2 Emissions". Zu sehen ist Europa in der Weltraumansicht und darauf Balken, welche die Zunahme der Treibhausgasemissionen seit 1920 abbilden.

The research focus "Digital Transformation – Urban Futures" develops digital visualisation and interaction formats for the sustainable development of urban regions.

How can digitalisation be used to shape a sustainable urban future?

Data | Interaction | Knowledge

Digitalisation and the handling of digital data permeate all areas of our society. This development is both a challenge and an opportunity to overcome past and current problems and shape the future. Advancing digitalisation is accompanied by both technological and social transformation processes, which are particularly successful if the associated issues from the various areas of life are linked and a critical debate can take place.

In recent years, a thematic focus on the structuring, evaluation and interactive visualisation of data has been successfully established at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, shaping the university's profile. Numerous professors are involved in interdisciplinary projects in research, transfer and teaching. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary issues are jointly addressed in order to develop practicable solutions for the sustainable handling of issues relating to data and digitalisation.

Human-Data Interaction

The thematic framework for these projects and initiatives from research, transfer and teaching is formed by the "Digital Transformation – Urban Futures" profile line. The focus is on methodological approaches to understand the complexity of urban processes, social dynamics and digital information spaces and to test them in a realistic way using participatory methods. The profile line follows the paradigm of human-centred digitalisation, which focuses on critical debate as well as the – often contradictory – expectations, needs, but also fears and uncertainties of the people and institutions affected. Participation, prototyping, simulation and evaluation as well as the iteration of potential solutions are central components of this approach, as are the preparation, analysis and publication of data.

FAIR data management and open science

Research and teaching activities on the challenges of dealing with very heterogeneous small data collections and the processing of data from different data sources as well as on fair, i.e. free and, as far as possible, barrier-free and sustainable access to research data and their subsequent use at national and international level round off the competence profile. FAIR data management and open science are key topics for the development of collaborative data ecosystems. The data competences required for this are gradually being developed at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in all disciplines together with the relevant cooperation partners and made available to other interested stakeholders.

Topics, methodology & perspectives

With the profile line "Digital Transformation – Urban Futures", the scientists at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam are particularly active in the following subject areas:

  1. Preparation and visualisation of data to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Open, intuitively explorable data portals are just as much a part of target group-oriented reporting as customisable web-based compilations of infographics, diagrams, maps and texts for specific questions from politics, associations, science and the general public. Data visualisations should not only provide information about planetary boundaries, they should also initiate changes in behaviour and attitudes in society as a whole.
  2. Preparation and visualisation of cultural collections: Design issues, such as how physical materiality, size formats or the sensory experience of interacting with an object can be experienced in virtual exhibitions, are at the forefront alongside the responsibility to make the origin and context of origin of artworks visible.
  3. Conception, design and prototyping of new forms of human-computer interaction (e.g. augmented & virtual reality) in various fields of application, such as health, education or disaster management.
  4. Accompanying measures to systematically develop and expand data skills and data sovereignty among all those involved, including documentation of data processes in accordance with international (subject-specific) standards and the code of the German Research Foundation. This includes all groups involved at the university, from students and early career researchers to professors, as well as the relevant cooperation partners.

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam regularly cooperates with public institutions, research organisations, NGOs, global companies, start-ups and SMEs for research, transfer and teaching projects. A wide variety of methods are used: co-design and participation formats in neighbourhood contexts - e.g. in neighbourhood development - are used alongside quantitative methods, such as web scraping or machine learning, to analyse large amounts of data. Digital, physical or hybrid prototypes form the basis for evaluating and trialling new solutions. Prototypes give material form to possible futures. Experimental spaces for prototypes and participatory involvement processes make it possible to test new methods, technologies, products or services under real conditions. Modern eye tracking systems and biofeedback methods are used for a differentiated user experience and usability evaluation of new human-technology interactions and visualisation formats.

A network of cooperating labs forms the scientific infrastructure for research and teaching in the Data//Interaction//Knowledge profile line. The Urban Complexity Lab focuses on the visualisation and exploration of urban data and cultural collections. The Interaction Design Lab designs and evaluates new human-computer interfaces. The development of prototyping tools and co-design methods, e.g. for virtual and augmented worlds, is another focus of the lab.

The profile line strives for even stronger networking with both research and application partners in the capital region. In the field of science communication, the region offers a unique concentration of institutions in the context of climate research, the environment, sustainability and transformation in Germany with a high demand for target group-orientated science communication formats. Innovative digital and hybrid formats with high usability and user experience are also in demand in the area of memory institutions for making their object and data collections tangible and will continue to play a central role in the profile line in the future. New forms of human-computer interaction with augmented and extended realities for the visualisation of cultural collections will be a focal point. Finally, research and development work on (data-based) citizen-friendly digital administrative services in a region with numerous federal and state authorities will increasingly become the focus of the profile line.

In future, a cross-disciplinary DataLab will offer the opportunity to build up subject-specific and general data skills along the data lifecycle and to develop specific questions using standardised procedures as well as new methodological approaches and a defined software environment that follows the principles of open source. To increase the reusability of FAIR data and data sovereignty, including data criticism, ethics etc. along the data life cycle, criteria and assessment (tools) for FAIRification are to be developed. Finally, the aim is to establish a framework for data competence in coordination with relevant stakeholders such as NFDI, EOSC.

Lighthouse projects

Logo des Projekts DISA - Digitale Inklusion im Kontext Sozialer Angststörungen

DISA – Digital Inclusion in the Context of Social Anxiety Disorders

The project addresses digital inclusion in the context of social anxiety disorders.

Logo des Forschungsprojekts "SENSES - Angewandte Klimaszenarien: Perspektiven und Handlungsoptionen"

SENSES – Applied Climate Scenarios: Perspectives and Options for Action

The SENSES project translates complex scientific climate scenario information into relevant knowledge for different user groups.

Datenvisualisierung Topographie der Gewalt

Topography of Violence

Research cooperation with the Jewish Museum Berlin on the visualisation of anti-Semitic acts of violence between 1930 and 1938

Balkone mit grünen Pflanzen an einem Hochhaus

Institute for Applied Research Urban Future

Founded in 2014, the Institute for Applied Research Urban Future (IaF) at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is an interdisciplinary institution that addresses inter- and transdisciplinary issues of urban developments. The aim is to develop solutions for sustainable urban development.

The IaF sees itself as a catalyst for applied research, supports cooperation between different disciplines and promotes cooperation with practical partners from business, administration and civil society.

Institute for Applied Research Urban Future

Profile Line Day 2023

The first profile line day "Digital Transformation - Urban Future" took place on 17th May 2023. The event offered university members the opportunity to gain an interdisciplinary insight into the interdisciplinary programme, to get to know current projects and to exchange ideas with colleagues and students. In addition to scientific content and exciting research projects, researchers, teachers, staff and students of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam were also able to explore the associated laboratories, labs and workshops.

Study programmes in the Profile Line "Digital Transformation – Urban Futures"

More courses
Degree programme Teaching language Start of study Application deadline
Arts Management and Cultural Work (BA) German Winter semester
15/05 – 15/07 (restricted admission) | Dates of the selection interviews: 27/06 – 28/06 und 18/07 – 19/07
Communication Design (BA) German Winter semester
15/05 – 15/07 (restricted admission)
Design (MA) German Summer semester, Winter semester
15/06 – 15/08 and 15/01 – 15/02 (restricted admission)
Registration for the qualifying examination: by 15/06 for the winter semester / by 15/12 for the summer semester
Digital Data Management (MA) German Summer semester
Note: No enrolment for summer semester 2024
European Media Studies (BA) German Winter semester
until 15/07 at the University of Potsdam (admission restricted)
Information Studies (BA) German Winter semester
15/06 – 15/08 (free of admission)
Interface Design (BA) German Winter semester
15/06 – 15/07 (free of admission)
Library Sciences (BA) German Winter semester
15/06 – 15/08 (free of admission)
Product Design (BA) German Winter semester
15/06 - 15/07 (free of admission)
Social Work | Dual-Digital (BA) German Winter semester
15/06 – 15/07 (free of admission)
Urban Futures (MA) German Winter semester
15/05 – 15/06 (restricted admission)