Five questions for the creative consulting head

Verena has not only been with DKSR since the beginning, she is also a Berlin native. She does her job from her home office in Hamburg, but at least once a month she makes a flying visit to the Berlin office: the ICE really does take you from the Hanseatic League to the capital in no time at all! Her fascination for cities and metropolises has accompanied her from her studies to her job. She told us more about this in an interview.


Verena Mutz

You’re originally from Berlin. What brought you further north?

I started my bachelor’s degree in Hamburg in 2011. Although I was regularly “unfaithful” to the city due to my master’s degree and various jobs, I always returned – maybe also because Hamburg is the smartest city in Germany ;)!?

The biggest advantage and challenge of working from home permanently?

One advantage is that the coffee simply tastes better at home than in the office, the laundry can be done during the break and I have the peace and quiet I need to concentrate on my work.
The biggest challenge: capturing nuances and moods. Or getting to chat with colleagues. That would require a virtual coffee machine.

During your studies, you already dealt with urbanization and urban culture. What excites you about cities?

Cities inspire me because they are the burning glasses of our society and tell the best and most exciting stories. About the people who form(ed) them and make(ed) them what they are and what they look like today. Strangely enough, exploring and studying cities has always given me a tingle under my feet.

Why does German administration need digitization? And what does German administration need in order to digitize?

For me, digitization goes hand in hand with cultural change. And that is long overdue in the German administrative landscape.

It needs courageous doers who dare to tackle topics in the area of digitization on the one hand, and make mistakes on the other. And they need to do it now!

What do you consider to be the best practical example of how data can be used to do good things for cities?

The Hamburg participation project “Finding Places” was, in my eyes, a really good example of how to make good use of public data. The goal of the project was to use an interactive city model to search for suitable locations for refugee housing together with citizens. Even if the result of the project was poor, it showed the potential of public data use.

Where would you like to see cities and municipalities in a few years’ time when it comes to data use?

Clearly: no longer in the strategy and conception phase, but in the implementation phase of use cases based on urban data. And: Data use as a basis for planning and decision-making should no longer be a rarity, but a matter of course.