Audi & Umeå 2050

A city that influences mobility.
Mobility that can influence the city.


Early discussions with Audi inspired a project brief exploring the possible tensions between what urban planners believe our mobility needs will be and the goals from a private premium car manufacturer.  Our interior-focused course started from a very holistic perspective, following these research questions proposed by Audi:

  • How will mobility transform urban structures?
  • What influence society will have on its mobility options?
  • Will new design principles arise from the digital age?
  • What does it mean for transportation design, if a vehicle can communicate with the surrounding infrastructure and urban architecture?
  • What impact will these transformations have in our lifestyle and culture?

The research phase started with a meeting involving experts from Umeå Municipality, another official partner in this project. The students and tutors visited the city hall and got input from several planners working with urban mobility. The main learnings from this kick-off session were that Umeå, a representative scandinavian city with currently 120.000 inhabitants, plans to reach a population with nearly double that size by 2050. It believes the best way to provide quality infra-structure is by promoting densification closer to the city centre rather than stimulating urban spread. It also wants to make sure physical literacy, meaning the awareness about how important physical activity is for people's health and wellbeing, is influencing decisions around the public mobility infrastructure. After acquiring this important perspective from city officials, the students were divided into smaller groups with the goal to collect and share with colleagues some more specific information about:

Research topics

After this early research phase the group came up with a few shared conclusions:

  • They should approach mobility scenarios that complete (not compete) with public transportation. All concepts should consider increasing 'attractiveness' to the city.
  • All mobility solutions should keep in mind sustainable development (both for the city and for the brand).
  • Concepts should represent diversity of needs from their users. This is so that it would be possible to compare design solutions aimed at alternative business models.
  • Individual projects should visualise mobility scenarios in connection to the city, with focus on tangible vehicle interior proposals that support premium experiences for the users.

From this moment on the students coordinated the distribution of unique mobility scenarios within the class.

Poster Map Vehicle Interior 2019

The following concepts represent solutions they believe would be of value for users in cities similar to Umeå, respecting sustainable goals and the aspirations of Audi as a brand.










  • Acknowledgements

    Course Responsible:
    Demian Horst, Lecturer and MFA Programme Director

    External Tutors:
    Ivar Frischer
    Christof Täubl (Kiska GmbH)
    Wojtek Bachleda (Kiska GmbH)

    Key external contacts:
    Malin Lagervall (Umeå Municipality)
    Andrea Stäbner (Audi Design)

    Andreas Berg (Sweden)
    David Wolter (Sweden)
    Lars Welten (The Netherlands)
    Miguel Rodrigues (Portugal)
    Robert Schäfer (Germany)
    Wanyi Du (China)
    Wenting Xu (China)