Month 1: Guten Tag auf Deutschland

Hello faithful readers of the PCGS blog!

This is my first post from the cold, overcast south of Deutschland (am I selling it well?). It’s my first time living in an area with fall foliage, and I love witnessing the change of seasons! During my two months here, I’ll be completing my internship with the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. A lot has happened since my arrival – I’ve refashioned my thesis, participated in an international workshop, interviewed local stakeholders, and traveled around a bit!

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The building I work in with Dr. Eckart – located 10 minutes from the main campus of HsKA.
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A path through the main campus of HsKA. Look at those leaves!

After giving a short presentation to Dr. Eckart on my proposal the first week, we sat and devised a plan. This plan has ultimately turned my original project into an Institutional Analysis, which will support the local government in analyzing the promotion of alternative fuels and vehicles from their perspective. This involves a lot of mapping to understand the role of stakeholders across the city and their interactions. The end goal is to identify existing gaps and then provide sound, region-specific suggestions for promoting alternative fuels and vehicles at the local level (think along the lines of Clean Cities Coalition).

In the weeks since, I’ve interviewed local stakeholders, including a local municipality worker who heads the city’s SmarterCity initiative, which aims to use the green economy as a way to develop new business models, increase innovation and make Karlsruhe a desirable location for businesses of the future. I met him at an e-mobility center that serves as a hub for emerging products and technology – allowing locals to take tours of the center and even rent or purchase vehicles. I was blown away by the number of gadgets at the center – including a Volocopter, an e-helicopter. Interesting concept, though you won’t find me in one anytime soon!

Source: E-Volo

During my third week here, I participated in an international workshop with students from Canada and Germany. My team and I worked to design a potential bicycle expressway between the city center of Karlsruhe and a neighboring village. Over the week, we researched the area, compared different routes, presented our findings and provided sound recommendations to a room of stakeholders, such as the University President, urban planners, traffic engineers and spokespeople from Siemens. The workshop also included a trip to Freiburg, the “green capital” of Germany renowned for its public transit and the sustainable neighborhood of Vauban. We toured Freiburg on bike and learned a lot about how the city has integrated sustainable modes of transportation – only 32% of residents drive personal vehicles on a daily basis there.

Freiburg, Germany

Outside of work, I’ve been using this opportunity to do a bit of traveling. I spent a couple days in Strasbourg, France, which is only an hour from Karlsruhe – amazing buildings and even more amazing Tarte flambée. My roommate and I also rented a car one day and went through the Pfalz – a region in Germany notorious for its vineyards. We visited small villages, their markets, and even hiked up to a castle where we spent the afternoon rummaging for chestnuts (which is actually tough work). Next week I’ll be visiting Berlin and have hopes of seeing Heidelberg before the end of my time here.

Strasbourg, France
Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany

Stay tuned for more information on my project and hopefully some stunning photos of Berlin!