Due to constantly growing social, ecological and economic problem situations our society is confronted with uncertainties and constantly changing framework conditions. This makes it necessary to find new answers. However, the nature of these crises does not allow for simple and straightforward solutions. Traditional planning strategies and methods are, therefore, reaching their limits. In recent years, experimental approaches have become increasingly important in this context. They are even seen as a driving force for the necessary processes of change.
This thesis explores why urban experiments are useful for social-ecological urban development. Based on case studies, the thesis analyses which factors are conducive – or obstructive – to the development of emancipatory processes in urban experiments. Vienna serves as an urban context in which the practical examples of “Zukunftshof” and “Garage Grande” are examined. Finally, fields of action for supporting experimentation and empowering planning processes in Vienna are derived.
The results show that urban experiments create a framework that makes it possible to try out ad hoc solutions for a socially and ecologically just future. They can also support emancipatory processes. Participants are motivated to test solutions to improve their quality of urban life using their own willpower. Furthermore, urban experiments have the potential to promote social participation and to reflect on existing power constellations. In order to support an empowering approach to planning and social-ecological urban development through urban xperiments, experimental spaces should be provided and structures developed that open up independent scope for action. In addition, it is essential to link the knowledge gained and to develop collaborative networks.