Audi Announces Experiments in Motion, a New Research Program Focusing on Urban Mobility and Design

- Audi of America partners with Columbia University in New York City for a series of cutting-edge experiments in mobility

- New pilot project for global research engaging with the world's leading schools

- Announcement made at the 2011 Audi Urban Future Summit in Frankfurt on the eve of the Frankfurt International Motor Show

Sep 12, 2011, 12:11 ET from Audi of America

HERNDON, Va. and FRANKFURT, Germany, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Audi of America today announced Experiments in Motion, a cutting-edge new research program conducted in partnership with Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) to develop and test new paradigms in the relationship between mobility and design. The announcement was made in Frankfurt, Germany, during the Audi Urban Future Summit, a one day interdisciplinary and interactive conference that brought together some of the brightest minds in research, automotive, urban planning, architecture and media to explore how urban space and mobility will have to evolve to meet the demands of cities of the future.

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Experiments in Motion represents the U.S. pilot of a series of locally driven, interdisciplinary research and student programs with the world's leading institutions and schools, tapping into the vast potential of academic intelligence and emerging talent. Those research programs define a new phase of the brand's larger Audi Urban Future Initiative, which seeks to shape the city of the future through new ways of communicating, never-before-seen concepts of living spaces, new versions of roadways and vehicles, and infrastructure solutions for decades to come. 

"As urban environments continue to evolve, transportation needs to evolve in parallel. Audi aims to not only engage the discussion, but to actively contribute to the knowledge and insights of our global experts," says Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America. "We look forward working very closely with Columbia University, one of the most prestigious and visionary institutions in the country, on this important project and topic."

"The history of cities is unthinkable without considering the emergence and development of new forms of mobility," says Mark Wigley, Dean of GSAPP. "This program empowers young, bright minds that will both live and shape the future to develop design responses to the most extreme implications of the collective thoughts of some of the world's most brilliant thinkers."

Experiments in Motion is designed as an evolving series of experimental forms of research, debate and communication centered in GSAPP.  Each successive experiment will test the hypotheses generated in the previous by subjecting them to new environments and objectives.

Beginning in the fall of 2011, Wigley will assemble a think tank to re-theorize mobility for the 21st century by asking, "What is the future of mobility?" and "What does it have to do with architecture and design?" This first phase of the experiment will bring global thought leaders from around the university, and architecture and design professionals from New York City, together with Audi's network of experts, allowing the debate to benefit and add to the ecosystem of knowledge of the Audi Urban Future Initiative.

The outcome will serve as a design briefing for three teams of students and professors in the spring of 2012 that will test the insights of the think tank through radical new designs for New York City. The teams also will travel globally to test their assumptions in some of the most extreme international urban environments. The overall process and exchange will be documented online and through social media. During the summer of 2012, the work of the students and the think tank will become the basis of a series of events beginning in New York City, opening up the collected intelligence to public discourse.

This week at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Audi also unveiled two new vehicle concepts designed for the future urban environments: the Audi urban concept, a 1+1-seat, ultra-light car for congested urban spaces that combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept; and the electric-only A2, a classic, premium-standard space concept that offers plenty of room for four people. 


The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University offers graduate degree programs in architecture, historic preservation, urban planning, urban design, real estate development and critical, curatorial and conceptual practices. Located in New York City with advanced research laboratories in Amman, Beijing, Moscow, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro, GSAPP has established the first truly global network of teaching, research and communication about the future of cities. Its unique mission is to move beyond the highest level of professional training to open a creative space within which the disciplines can rethink themselves, a space of speculation and experimentation that allows the field to evolve to meet new challenges.


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In an effort to actively shape the transition to a new mobility epoch, Audi announced the Audi Urban Future Initiative at the beginning of 2011. The initiative aims to establish a dialog on the synergy of mobility, architecture and urban development by means of the view into the future. Rooted in the belief that the current challenges of mobility can only be solved collectively and interdisciplinary, it represents an essential part of the brand's commitment to urban mobility as a whole and is designed to change both thought patterns and corporate culture. Establishing a network between external and internal experts, the initiative currently comprises four formats: The Audi Urban Future Award, a biennial lucrative architecture and urban development competition, which was first-time awarded to Juergen Mayer H. during the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice for his outstanding concept of a networked city. The Audi Urban Future Summit represents the second component and strives to stimulate new ideas, connect knowledge between the networks of experts and open up to public debate. Serving as two-way channel to carry the discussion into the company and vice versa, the Audi Urban Future Insight Team, an inter-departmental think-tank dedicated to urban mobility, constitutes the Initiative's third pillar. The Audi Urban Future Research format represents the newest addition. Pairing up local markets with the most visionary research institutions world-wide, it will provide an academic foundation for future mobility scenarios and, together with the other formats, ultimately create a rich ecosystem of global knowledge on mobility. The pilot programs are conducted in partnership with Columbia University in New York and engage two of the world's leading urban thinkers: "Experiments in Motion" with Mark Wigley, Dean of GSAPP and "Urbanizing Technology- the Mobility Complex" with Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Audi of America