satis&fy broke new ground and for the first time also developed its own event format. As always, this was only possible with the best partners: Urban Tribes stood by our side at S.O.U.P. as specialists in urbanism. Under the motto “The city for all – by all”, the S.O.U.P. – Festival handled the question: What does urban life in the city look like in the future?
The premiere event in the former Sportarena department store at Frankfurt’s Hauptwache took place from September 9 to 11, 2021. On offer was an overall social discourse with science, politics, architecture, subculture, culture and society. For this purpose, ideas for Frankfurt and cities in general were taken up across disciplines.
The premiere event of S.O.U.P. 2021 last weekend was the start of an annual event. Under the motto “City of All”, this year’s topics ranged from urban life and living together in the future to diversity, mobility, education and art, among others. The mix of convention and festival brought together 1.600 participants under one common question: How do we want to live in cities in the future?
To answer these questions and more, various forms of interaction and exchange were offered: from discussions to key note lectures, visual exhibitions, panels and entertainment to performance and culinary.
The goal was to provide citizens with opportunities to influence through information and direct exchange with experts. Over 50 international speakers from politics, urban planning, universities, communities and companies were on hand to answer questions of the day.
Among them were Thomas Sevcik, Julia Erdmann, André Maeder, Raphael Gielgen, Julia Dombrowski, Parag Khanna, Martina Klärle, Karin Wunderlich and Julian Agyeman. All brought high-quality contributions to a progressive exchange of ideas.
The concept was supported by the Economic Department of the City Frankfurt am Main, the German Architecture Museum, the Offenbach Academy of Design, SIGNA Real Estate and many other committed institutions. The project, which is supported by funds from the tourism levy, meets current social needs with its offerings. Stephanie Wüst, the new head of Frankfurt’s economic affairs department, states: “We can see a change in the city in Frankfurt, which we as Frankfurt’s city government also have to deal with. We have therefore stated that we see the design of the city center as a cross-departmental process in which exchange with society, stakeholders and business is essential. S.O.U.P. was a groundbreaking start here.”
The kick-off evening on September 9 already opened the overall social discourse that the festival on the democratization of urban planning pursued until late Saturday. After a Meet and Greet and a Pecha Kucha Night in cooperation with the German Architecture Museum and Jazzunique, the first evening turned into a DJ live performance at a late hour.
Thomas Sevcik, urbanist of global renown, spontaneously asked a student he had met in a one-on-one conversation to come on stage during the panel discussion about the “desolate Zeil”. He provoked a progressive and reimagined further development of High Streets with an artificial word created – in allusion to her name and her generation – Sarahization. From then on, this shaped the content of the discussion and exhilarated it.
Two school classes were invited to lively brainstorming sessions on Friday morning by the partner initiative Solon. On whiteboards, the students formulated key points of an agenda for the city of their future.
The city of Frankfurt am Main also showed its support for the Frankfurt of tomorrow. Three members of the city council took advantage of the opportunities offered by the festival, faced the audience and discussed the urban vision for their city.
In some S.O.U.P. formats, real estate developers demonstrated that they can leave their bubble and discuss a common image of the future with restaurateurs, environmental activists and cultural representatives.
“You are the city.”
S.O.U.P. deals with current and existential questions of cities and their inhabitants. At S.O.U.P. urban life of the future is designed, discussed and developed. Through novel formats, a unique, positive and solution-oriented discourse is created to conceptualize our idea of the city of tomorrow and to transfer it into practice.
The international speakers addressed contemporary issues: How can a civil society be better involved in the urban development process? What do relationships look like in a digitalized, urban world with endless options? How do we accelerate the necessary processes?
The stimulating exchange on four different levels was promoted by the well thought-out event design. The main stage focused on fundamental visions of the city of the future, while concrete projects were presented on two other stages. And on another stage, participants made direct references to Frankfurt. “Our concept worked out despite the Corona restrictions. There were great moments at this festival,” expresses initiator Nico Ubenauf. “Our claim ‘You are the city’ has become a bit more of a reality with S.O.U.P.,” adds initiator James Ardinast.