futurGenerator: Forging Ahead With A New Program in Berlin

futurGenerator: Forging Ahead With A New Program in Berlin

With the first cohort of students en route to Freiburg, one of Europe’s greenest cities, the iPRAKTIKUM team is already gearing up for the launch in summer 2020 of a second global internship pivot located in the German capital: futurGenerator Toronto-Berlin. On the model of our Freiburg futurGenerator program, where U of T students are getting hands-on experience in areas such as environmental education, community-building and integration, and regional food security, the goal is to start with a group of four students placed with organizations in the areas of social innovation and urban sustainability.

During a recent exploratory trip to Berlin in spring 2019, we were able to establish partnerships with several cutting-edge organizations. MotionLab.Berlin is a platform and makerspace for young movers, start-ups, and established companies working on an array of urban mobility projects in the context of digital transformation. In addition to guiding projects from concept to prototype, MotionLab.Berlin also facilitates workshops and co-learning events on topics like 3D printing – the co-working spaces houses two printers – Fusion360 design skills, and last miles delivery solutions in smart cities. We see numerous opportunities for U of T students to gain work experience and pursue interdisciplinary projects in this creative urban incubator.

We are also very optimistic about the direction our discussions with Migration Hub founder Ana Maria Alvarez are taking. Migration Hub supports international social projects for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and offers. The network provides a platform for and guidance to migrapreneurs, social enterprises and companies, and promotes exchange between projects in order to increase their impact and long-term sustainability. We are convinced that the multicultural Canadian experience of our students will prove to be a valuable asset to the work of Migration Hub in Berlin.

‘Everything Could Be Different’ – that’s the motto of FUTURZWEI, whose name plays on the grammatical tense known as future perfect in English. The question ‘How will you have lived?’ is in the future perfect. FUTURZWEI is a non-profit foundation committed to imagining an open society and a viable future. The brainchild of sociologist Harald Welzer, who holds a professorship in transformation design at the University of Flensburg, the organization publishes the online magazine TRAFO, which is dedicated to various forms of social and ecological transformation, and also curates ‘Success Stories’, a hope-inspiring collection of projects with good outcomes in the effort to imagine and create a livable world. Transition towns, divestment, post-growth, and the common good economy are just some of the concepts informing FUTURZWEI’s work.

The iPRAKTIKUM team will be working hard over the next few months to firm up exciting opportunities with these and other futurGenerator partners in Freiburg and Berlin.

Helena Juenger & Stefan Soldovieri
Project Leads

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