Transit management system shaping sustainable urban development
The Future Living® residential development in Berlin-Adlershof offers a glimpse into the smart, sustainable, and energy-efficient lifestyle of the future. Schindler helped to create the access and transport systems for this pioneering housing experiment.
With their bright white façades, the eight residential buildings making up the Future Living® area are clearly visible from a distance. The 90 rental apartments are home to 180 people from 26 different nations – school and university students, retired and working people, families and single tenants. All are getting a taste of what “digital living” might entail in the future. With the help of sensors, central servers connect all digital aspects of living – from access to buildings and apartments, elevators, mailboxes, and household appliances, to heating, ventilation, and lighting systems – among others. The equipment in the laundry area in the basement can be booked via an app.
The Gesellschaft für Siedlungs- und Wohnungsbau Baden-Württemberg mbH (GSW Sigmaringen) built this multigenerational project in the heart of the Berlin-Adlershof science and technology park between 2017 and 2020. In 2021, the Future Living® residential development received the DW Future Prize for the Real Estate Industry.
Schindler helped to bring that futuristic vision to life by supplying its digital mobility solution, Schindler PORT, as well as eight elevators. All the doors to the buildings and apartments, as well as the entrance to the underground parking garage, are fitted with PORT 4 Visitor and can be opened using an access card or the Schindler myPORT app.
When Rolf-Niels Schuldt returns home to the Future Living® residential area, for example, he uses his app to access the building. The elevator that is waiting for him knows exactly which floor to stop at. The retired graphic designer, who lives in the residential complex together with his wife, first used his access card to open his mailbox. He then uses the app once again to open his front door. Keys are no longer needed in Future Living®. If a guest comes to visit and uses the intercom at the building’s entrance, Rolf-Niels Schuldt sees the guest on his display via the video chat function, opens the doors and sends the elevator down to collect them. This entire process would work even if Rolf-Niels Schuldt was lying on a lounger on a beach far away. “That is a very attractive feature,” says Schuldt. “It amazed us at first – and now our visitors.”
Schindler PORT is almost as smart as the residents of Future Living®. For example, if Rolf-Niels Schuldt wants to go down to the underground garage to use one of the five electric vehicles from the car-sharing pool, he can do this almost with “his eyes closed” because the system has memorized his habits and the app shows him the way without any problem.
Future Living® is also a social experiment. The residents are encouraged to use green spaces to meet with one another. The building owners decided against incorporating balconies into the buildings for that reason. The entire residential complex – with 12 commercial units and the kindergarten – is barrier-free and 11 of the apartments are wheelchair accessible. “We want people to be able to stay in their apartments for a very long time – even as they grow older and require more care,” says Birgid Eberhardt from GSW Sigmaringen. “Depending on their needs, smart features such as doors that open automatically or personalized transit management are available to assist them.” Future Living® is, of course, also a pilot development for sustainable building and living. The 600 solar panels installed on the roof charge the battery storage unit in the basement. Excess energy is fed into the grid, and any energy that is needed is drawn from the grid – with only 100% green electricity being used.
Almost all of the apartments in the Future Living® residential development have the address “Konrad-Zuse-Strasse,” a fitting name considering that Zuse was credited with inventing the world’s first functioning computer.