Everyday life in the neighborhood 4.0
This explorative project investigates if and in what way Frankfurt’s city dwellers and local neighborhood actors have made more use of hybrid services for supply, mobility, leisure, and exchange since the start of the Corona pandemic. Here, we are talking about everyday practices that might have newly developed in areas such as shopping, getting around, or recreation where digital and physical activities are closely linked. In this project we will investigate whether and to what extent these hybrid practices can contribute to greater participation, an improved quality of life and ecological sustainability. The aim is to develop initial points of reference that can help stakeholders concerned with neighborhood development to include opportunities and risks of the increasing digitalization of everyday life in planning processes.
Based on the state of research and practice-related debates on digitization and neighborhood development, the project team is preparing a situation analysis for four Frankfurt neighborhoods. The selection of the neighborhoods takes into account the broadest possible heterogeneity in terms of settlement structure, socioeconomic and milieu-specific framework conditions. In addition to one inner-city neighborhood, three neighborhoods in suburban locations are examined, in which the settlement structure and the supply of services are less dense and the prevalent forms of housing are more private oriented than in inner-city locations. In selected neighborhoods, the different forms and characteristics of digitally analogous everyday practices and features will then be examined socio-empirically. This will be done, for example, via group discussions with residents and with expert interviews with actors from local retail, gastronomy, neighborhood associations, church communities, and local initiatives. The results of the explorations will then be presented in the form of a study and in a final step discussed during a transdisciplinary workshop with actors from urban development, commerce, housing industry and science.
The Corona pandemic has highlighted opportunities and obstacles for sustainable neighborhood development and the growing importance of digitalization. Neighborhoods lost places of identification and social meeting places, for example local pubs and cafés. Local retail has been hit hard by the Corona pandemic while online sales have skyrocketed. Even though the pandemic did not cause many of these developments, it has at least accelerated them. In view of the restrictions of public and private social life, one’s own home, the immediate living environment and social relationships in the local area regained importance for the organization of everyday life. Public spaces were revitalized, and a “new” demand arose for local supply, neighborly contacts, attractive open spaces and alternative mobility options. Digital offerings were increasingly used to get information, organize activities and ensure participation, for example by using bikes sharing, employing local ordering and delivery services, outdoor sports, online yoga, local Facebook groups or contactless neighborhood services. And it has turned out that these digital offerings are not simply replacing the analog ones, but rather that there is an ever greater interweaving of the two worlds. Overall, the trend toward these hybrid forms of living and working has intensified as a result of the Corona pandemic, especially in urban centersBut suburban neighbourhoods are also increasingly concerned when it comes to changes regarding functions and relationships due to these hybrid forms of life.