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Barkhausen Institut

Climate Change in Historic Gardens

Online Citizen Discussion

The listed parks in Saxony are severely affected by the climate crisis. Parts of the valuable historic trees and shrubs in the Grand Garden and Pillnitz Palace Park are dying and the remaining plants urgently need to be stabilized. The gardeners face the great challenge of adapting the maintenance of these green urban islands to the effects of the climate crisis. Work to revitalize the plants will be particularly important. This includes improving soil quality and special care for trees weakened by heat and drought, as well as new plantings of resilient species. However, other simple horticultural work cannot wait, and for this the gardeners need support so that they can concentrate on the essential tasks.

In cooperation with the State Palaces, Castles and Gardens Saxony gGmbH the Barkhausen Institut is planning to develop a prototype garden robot in . With the help of this automation technology, the gardeners will be relieved of their daily work by the garden robot taking over simple, recurring and uniform tasks. Engineers and gardeners will work together on the development of the prototype as part of a three-year research project. Innovative digital technologies also lead to changes in society. Therefore, different perspectives should always be taken into account when developing the technology. That is why the engineers at the Barkhausen Institute involve interested citizens in their research and create spaces for dialog and exchange. Together, visions for the gardening of the future and for further development are created. 

Together with interested citizens, we would like to look at the role and impact of this new kind of garden robot from different perspectives and critically engage with the possibilities, desires and concerns. Therefore, the Barkhausen Institute together with the Berlin Ethics Lab of the TU Berlin organized an online citizen discussion on the utopian and dystopian potential of automated garden robots in public gardens in Saxony on 8.12.21. The results of the citizen discussion will be considered in the research plan. We will keep you informed about further events.

Our project manager Dipl.-Ing. Markus Böhme about the online citizen discussion of 8.12.21:

"For me as the project leader of the robotics module, it was very important to find out about the fears and expectations regarding the project. It was also interesting to see how these were weighted by the participants. Of course, the project is limited in time and therefore not everything can be addressed immediately. But points such as social compatibility and technical reliability of new robot applications were frequently discussed and will therefore be taken into account and constantly reflected during the course of the project. But also aspects regarding the environmental sustainability of automated solutions are considered and should serve as a blueprint for future projects.

In general, I found the format of a citizens' discussion very helpful, as also quite different - non-technical - points of view emerged. I am very much looking forward to further discussion formats during the project. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know."



Markus Böhme
Dipl.-Ing.Markus BöhmeAssociate Researcher
Tiphaine Cattiau
Dr. phil.Tiphaine CattiauProject Manager Science Communication

This measure is co-financed with tax funds based on the budget passed by the members of the Saxon state parliament.