Urban Design and Mobility

Focus in multidisciplinary, multi-million funded research program „The Mobility Design Project“


Jun.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Knöll
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Annette Rudolph-Cleff
Dipl.-Ing. Marianne Halblaub Miranda
Dr.-Ing. Björn Hekmati
Gladys Vasquez Fauggier, M.Sc.

Mobility systems are closely connected to people’s quality of life, economic opportunities and carbon footprints. In this funded research project, a multidisciplinary team investigates design strategies to establish a (multimodal) combination of walking, cycling, public transport and ride sharing as the number one choice of transport in the Frankfurt Rhein-Main area.

Our focus is on new concepts for less car-dependent neighborhoods, more walkable and cycable streets and mobility hubs that are more inclusive to specific user groups such as young people, families and senior citizens. To his end, we will combine established spatial analysis tools such as GIS and Space Syntax with new people-centered design methods including interview walks, smartphone-based data collection and on-site studies of pedestrian behavior. As part of a multidisciplinary team of designers, transport planners, psychologists, geographers and computer scientists, we will investigate case studies, develop and evaluate prototypical solutions in real life settings.

Selected publications
Knöll, M., Neuheuser, K., Cleff, T., & Rudolph-Cleff, A. (13 Jan 2017): A tool to predict perceived urban stress in open public spaces. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science (SAGE Publications), https://doi.org/10.1177/0265813516686971

Halblaub Miranda, M. & Knöll, M. “The Luisenplatz Study – The relationship between visual fields and perceived stress in a public transport hub.“ In: Proceedings of the 11th International Space Syntax Symposium, Lisboa, June 2017. http://www.11ssslisbon.pt/docs/proceedings/posters/192.pdf

Halblaub, M., Knöll, M. Stadtflucht – Learning about healty places with a location-based game. In: Navigationen, 16 (1) pp. 101-118. ISSN 1619-1641, 2016. http://dokumentix.ub.uni-siegen.de/opus/volltexte/2016/1004/…

Knöll, M., Li, Y., Neuheuser, K. & Rudolph-Cleff, A. (2015). Using space syntax to analyze stress perception in open public space. Proceedings of Space Syntax Symposium 10. London: University College. http://www.sss10.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SSS10_Proceedings_123.pdf

Rudolph-Cleff, A. (2014): „Mobilität: Daheim und Unterwegs“ in: der architekt Heft 3/2014, S. 14-17.

Rudolph-Cleff, A. und Eiermann, B. (2014): Stapelware, in: Mehr als nur parken. Parkhäuser der 1960er und 1970er Jahre weiterdenken, Jovis-Verlag, Berlin, S. 38-43.


Recent Activities


re/set mobility design – shaping future mobility!

Photo: HfG Offenbach – © HfG Offenbach
Photo: HfG Offenbach

with keynote speakers

Carlo Ratti / USA + Italy (MIT Senseable Lab)
Ole B. Jensen / Aalborg (sociologist, urban theory/urban design)

The HfG Offenbach University of Art and Design will be hosting the international design conference “re/set mobility design”. The conference will take place at the HfG Offenbach in Offenbach/Germany (Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region) on November 7 and 8, 2019. To discuss together the future of mobility, we would like to invite you to participate in this unique event!

International future-oriented and visionary experts coming out of the area of mobility design, infrastructure and architecture will give lectures at the conference. “Shaping future mobility”! How design drives the development of sustainable mobility systems will be the central question at the conference. The Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts with State Minister Angela Dorn takes over the patronage of the re/set mobility design conference.


7 November 2019
6 pm – 11 pm opening night with keynote

Keynote Speaker:
Carlo Ratti / USA + Italy (MIT Senseable Lab)

The keynote speech is followed by a discussion with Prof. Carlo Ratti and Pesident of HfG Prof. Peter Eckart including questions from the audience. Finally, there will be a come-together with music, snacks and drinks.

8 November 2019
9 am – 8 pm second conference day with lectures and discussions in 3 panels

PANEL 1: MOBILITY SYSTEMS – designing intermodal moving vehicles
PANEL 2: MOBILITY HUBS – designing the infrastructure
PANEL 3: MOBILITY AS A SERVICE (MaaS) – designing digital access

Speakers from design studios and companies out of the fields of mobility, infrastructure and architecture will be represented:

- Carlo Ratti / USA+Italy (MIT Senseable Lab, Design and Innovation Office Ratti Associati)
- CityID / London (Penta City Group; Wayfinding System New York)
- Benthem Crouwel / Amsterdam (main stations Amsterdam and Delft)
- büro+staubach / Berlin (rail transport and public space)
- Copenhagenize / Copenhagen (bicycle urbanism, planning and street design)
- Ole B. Jensen / Aalborg (sociologist, urban theory/urban design)
- further speakers are requested


At the University of Art and Design (HfG) in Offenbach we are working on the future of new sustainable mobility and building up a Center of Mobility Design within the next years.

Product designer Peter Eckart holds the teaching area for integrated design at the HfG and has specialized among other things in the field of mobility (including the topic bicycles). With his office unit-design he is working on projects for information and public design. Together with the urbanist Kai Vöckler, expert for transdisciplinary design and author of numerous books on urban development, he initiated the interdisciplinary research network »Infrastructure – Design – Society. Design Research in Mobility Systems for Developing Multimodal, Environmentally Friendly Mobility in the Metropolitan Area Rhine-Main» (2018-2021). The Technical University Darmstadt, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences are also involved in this project, which is sponsored by the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts.

Facebook: project-mo.de
Instagram: @project_mo.de

Registration until 24 October:

The website is constantly updated at the moment – you will find there the full agenda and information about the speakers soon!

Preliminary agenda as PDF

Building mental health into urban mobility systems

Symposium at EDRA50Brooklyn – Sustainable Urban Environments

24 May 2019 – Prof. Knöll presents a paper on "Public space and pedestrian stress perception: Insights from Germany“ at The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) in Brooklyn, NYC. The presentation emphasizes the potential of using Space Syntax and isovist analysis in combination to urban mental health, referring to some of our recent research on mobility systems in the LOEWE SP Infrastructure-Design-Society project-mo.de.


City without barriers

Research on universal designs for public spaces

Short profile on our research and teaching activities on universal design of mobility sytsems, pedestrian accessibility and the collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Full article in English

Accessible Hubs

Photo: N. Kaußen

International workshop on Universal Design in urban mobility systems
8 and 9 November 2018, TU Darmstadt, Germany

To provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable mobility is key to UN Habitat III and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for cities. The specific needs of persons with disabilities should be considered at the starting point and central component rather than afterthoughts in implementing SDGs. Global NGOs recommend to address topics as multimodal travel chains, compact and mixed used urban planning, as well multifunctional and “complete” streets and public spaces. In Germany, existing policies have been extended recently, with the goal that all public transport will have to be “fully barrier free” by 2022. This leaves stakeholders world wide with open questions as to what constitutes barriers in public space, how can accessibility be implemented and how can it be connected to other SDGs. It is important to note that accessibility issues are multifaceted and more interdisciplinary research is needed to identify physical and mental barriers, to better understand accessibility and to develop more integrated urban design solutions.

Mobility hubs can play a pivotal role in providing equal access for people with specific mobility needs. They are evolving to address current societal changes in trade, digitalization and sharing economies. The term Accessible Hubs highlights that accessibility should be in the centre of this development. The scientific objectives of this international workshop are:

• To identify urban design factors hindering further implementation of accessibility in mobility systems.

• To gain a better understanding of guiding principles suitable to co create, implement and assess accessibility in urban mobility hubs.

• To identify new alliances that will research and implement new concepts of accessibility in urban mobility systems with regards to changing physical, social and digital affordances.

A specific focus is given to Universal Design as “a way of designing a building or facility, at little or no extra cost, so that it is both attractive and functional for all people, disabled or not’’ (Mace, 1985). In other words, specific accessibility needs of people with motoric or cognitive impairments, young children, families with infants, the elderly, etc) are the starting point to develop solutions that are easier to use or to access for all.

This two-day workshop will focus on medium-sized to regional mobility hubs in urban agglomerations in Europe. The program of international speakers is available here

To attend the workshop, pre-registration is required. Please sendyour registration to by 31 Oct 2018.


Videos of workshop are online

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3 December we advocate for more initiatives to implement Universal Design / Access for All in urban mobility systems. Scroll down to see videos of our speakers at Accessible Hubs 2018 online. The series presents a timely collection of good practise examples, societal drivers, and new directions to research and to co create usable and accessible mobility hubs.


• Anett-Maud Joppien: Welcome to TU Darmstadt’s Department of Architecture (6:11 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8254)
• Martin Knöll: Welcome to Accessible Hubs 2018 (7:24 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8255)

Chapter I: What are Accessible Hubs?

• Marten Wassmann: Urban Regeneration through Mobility Enhancement (40:54 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8243)
• Stefanie Bremer: S,M,L,XL – Mobility hubs as a design brief (30:51 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8244)
• Martin Lanzendorf / Andreas Blitz: Mobility design for accessibility: A review from a spatial and social sciences perspective (17:49 min, audio only, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8251)
• Peter Eckart / Julian Schwarze: Access by design_from Universal Design to specific solutions (24:06 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8253)

Chapter II: Why do we need Accessible Hubs?

• Hansel Bauman: Moving Experience: Urban Mobility Hubs On The Way to Wellbeing (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8288)
• Martin Dijst: For the benefit of health: a relational interpretation of accessibility (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8289)
• Christian Mahnke: Access and Relevance (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8290)

Chapter III: How to research Accessible Hubs?

• Jenny J Roe: Urban Mobility and Wellbeing: Insights from Environmental Psychology and Neuro-Urbanism (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8291)
• Anna Bornioli: Accessible walking hubs for mental wellbeing (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8292)
• Carlo Fabian: Inclusive neighbourhoods – The perspective of social work (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8293)
• Raul Kalvo: Accessing Information (https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8294)

Chapter IV: How to co create Accessible Hubs?

• Gaurav Rahjea: Mobility hubs and inclusive urban futures – A Universal Design perspective (34:30 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8241)
• Oliver Schulze / Mohammed Almahmood Digitally Supported Urban Design Process, Potsdamer Platz as a Case (23:15 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8245)
• Anna Rose: Connecting movement and place: A human-focused and science-based approach (23:35 min, https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8242)

Photo: N. Kaußen

Workshop outlines new research directions in urban design & accessibility

Thank you to 20 international experts from urban planning, architecture, universal design, transport, human geography, sociology for their contributions to two packed days of inspiring presentations and discussions at TU Darmstadt. In four sessions, 70 workshop participants discussed definitions and good practice examples, societal drivers, research methods and implementation strategies of “accessible hubs”. Stay tuned for Accessible Hubs – Online Workshop with selected videos of the presentations and the Book of Proceedings published in February 2019.

Front page Programm_List of Speakers

List of Speakers and Programme
Venue: TU Darmstadt, Department of Architecture, L3 | 01 R 58 Faculty Hall

8 November 2018

• 09:00 Registration

• 09:30 Welcome
Anett-Maud Joppien, TU Darmstadt
Martin Knöll, TU Darmstadt

Session I:
What are Accessible Hubs?
Moderator: Marianne Halblaub Miranda, TU Darmstadt

• 10:00 Keynote
Hansel Bauman, Gallaudet University, Washington DC
Moving Experience

• 10:45 Coffee Break, Kuhle Coffee Shop

• 11:15 Presentations
Stefanie Brehmer, University of Kassel
Smart Hubs
Peter Eckart / Julian Schwarze, Offenbach University of the Arts
Mobility Design and Access for All
Martin Lanzendorf / Andreas Blitz, University of Frankfurt
A social science perspective

• 12:45 Panel Discussion

• 13:15 Lunch break, UHG | R 140

Session II:
Why do we need Accessible Hubs?
Moderator: Christian Rosen, TU Darmstadt

• 14:15 Keynote
Marten Wassmann, Benthem Crouwel Architects, Amsterdam
Mobility Enhancement

• 15:15 Presentations
Anna Bornioli, University of the West of England, Bristol
Frank Burkert, Ernst & Young, Hamburg
Access and Relevance
Martin Dijst, Luxembourg Institute for Socio-Economic Research
For the Benefit of Health

• 16:45 Panel Discussion

• 17:15 Reception, Kuhle Coffee Shop

9 November 2018

Session III:
How to research Accessible Hubs?
Moderator: Annette Rudolph-Cleff, TU Darmstadt

• 09:00 Registration

• 09:30 Keynote
Jennifer J Roe, University of Virginia
Insights from Neuro-Urbanism

• 10:15 Presentations
Maria Ustinova, World Bank, Moscow
Active transport in Moscow
Matthias Knigge, Grauwert Designer, Hamburg
Values, not deficits!
Carlo Fabian, University of Applied Sciences and ArtsNorthwestern, Basle
Inclusive Neighbourhoods

12:15 Lunch Break. UHG R 140

Session IV:
How to co create Accessible Hubs?
Moderator: Anna Zdiara, Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt

• 13:00 Keynote
Gaurav Raheja, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
Social spaces, inclusive mobility

• 14:00 Presentations
Anna Rose, Space Syntax Ltd., London
Space Syntax and Access for All
Oliver Schulze / Mohammed Almahmood, SchulzeplusGrassow,Copenhagen
Co creating Potsdamer Platz
Raul Kalo, University of Tampere

15:30 Panel Discussion

16:00 Wrap Up

16:15 End of workshop

The host research group

The Urban Health Games research group (UHG) of the Department of Architecture will be hosting the 1st International workshop on Universal Design in urban mobility systems. UHGs’ research and teaching activities focus on people-centred urban design in building new collaborations between urban designers, health and mobility experts to address global challenges such as inclusion, active lifestyles and Access for All.


The organizing team

Martin Knöll, Marianne Halblaub Miranda, Gladys Vasquez Fauggier, Sabine Hopp

With support from

Peter Eckart, Kai Vöckler, Greta Hohmann and Annalena Kluge. The Accessible Hubs workshop is kindly supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and by project–mo.de, a multidisciplinary research cluster led by HfG Offenbach, investigating sustainable mobility systems in the Frankfurt Rhein-Main urban agglomeration (LOEWE SP IDG).