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K LAB is a laboratory for contemporary communication of urban contents (in it’s widest sense) docked at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning (ISR), TU Berlin. Main tasks include the areas of KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION (own research projects), KARTOGRAPHY services (geo-visualization & re-presentation), KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION (knowledge transfer & Public Relations) and KOORDINATION in teaching (projects & methods).
K LAB develops independent research projects at national and international levels, working in close collaboration with the ISR departments as well as with other institutes, organizations and urban actors. The focus of its inter- and transdisciplinary research lies on the communication of and on the urban, its visualizations, representations and mediations. We understand communication not as a unidirectional presentation of information, but rather as a multidirectional dialogue – i.e. exchange, mediation, and re-negotiation of our understandings of the urban and its spaces. Communication as a two-footed practice, pivoting on PRODUCTION & PRESENTATION of content and media on one side (i.e. the organization and visualization of information); and on the other, the INTERACTION of stakeholders and EXCHANGE of information for the purpose of constructive deliberation.
KARTOGRAPHY & GEO-VISUALIZATION
A core area of K LAB is the production of maps – both for its own research activities and to support research and teaching tasks at the ISR, as well as for external clients. Maps and mapping play a central role in our projects, not as ends in itself but as tools to help navigating contemporary urban complexities. The linking of different quantitative and qualitative data (e.g. social, economic, legal, historical, design), their localization in space and time, and their presentation and dissemination by means of different tools and methods are central aspects of our work. In addition to its (Geo-) Visualization-Workshop, K LAB maintains a collection of analogue and digital maps at the ISR-Archive – including historical Berlin maps and different Geodata for use in research and teaching.
K LAB contributes to debates on the urban through the organization of conversations and events, as well as through the dissemination and publication of research results of the ISR using various communication channels. One of these is the Publications Office at K LAB which – in cooperation with the TU Berlin central library – offers two print formats: ‘Workbooks’ and ‘Special Publications’, and one online format: ‘ISR Impulse Online’ under Open Access license (Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE). On top, we publish the bianual news-pamphlet ‘ereignISReich’ and are responsible for the Web- und Social-Media-Presences of the ISR.
Last but not least, K LAB is the Coordination Unit that helps the different ISR departments organize their integrative theory-practice project studios, a core element in the ISR degree programs in Urban and Regional Planning and Urban Design. In addition, K LAB covers a great part of the methods teaching at ISR; including methods and tools for both research and design.