„Portlin 25“ Innovation Sprint

„Portlin 25“ Innovation Sprint

Research, Design

late 2020

Following the Design Thinking approach, Dublin Business School hosted a challenge to create a concept for a new district of Dublin. In a team of 5 people, I was responsible for new accommodation possibilities and their development. The jury decided: We won the first prize in the competition in 2020.

Tools I used

  • Jamboard
  • Illustrator
  • Final Cut Pro

My team

  • Torge Heerwagen
  • Konstantin Kost
  • Charles Masset
  • Paul Wieder


📌 Further links

- DBS Article

- An Bord Pleanála

👨🏼‍💻 Personal Contribution

Besides the joke being the „fifth guy“ in a group, I was responsible for creating all visual elements such as the BELGER Zeitgeist Logo or the Portlin25 logo and design. In addition, I presented new accommodation possibilities and their development of the new district. However, we did the brainstorming for all categories together. 

📼 Video presentation

Creation Process

The challenge objective was brought to us by „An Bord Pleanála“ an Irish national independent statutory body on planning and other cases (e.g. strategic infrastructure and other developments). We had to apply a vision for the vacant Docklands space, that will make Dublin the most sustainable and dynamic city across Europe.

The briefing we got was very meager: To cope with the increased customs demands following on from Brexit, Dublin Port has been relocated to a more suitable location in Balbriggan which will support more infrastructure around customs checks. The land that remains is now available for a strategic development project that will turn the ‘Docklands’ of Dublin into one of Europe's most sustainable and dynamic cities. Your project is to design what this space will become and give reference to the following;

  1. Accommodation
  2. Civic spaces
  3. Retail and commercial development
  4. Sports & Recreation
  5. Sustainability
  6. Tourism & Culture
  7. Other exciting projects & initiatives

The Docklands of Dublin

The map of the Dockland section 

After the presentation from DBS on how to use it, we were encouraged to use the Design Thinking Process so we did in the following. The process illustration below helped us during our work.

The Design Thinking process in a double-diamond style given by the DBS staff

🔍 Empathy

At first, we started to brainstorm the objective that was given to us (see below).  Afterwards we could start to brainstorm the real problem.

Jamboard of the initial brainstorm 

Then we brainstormed the different topics that were given to us by the board. 

Brainstorm collection of the accommodation topic

Brainstorm collection of civic spaces

Brainstorm collection of retail and commercial development

Brainstorm collection of sports and recreation area

Brainstorm collection of sustainable aspects

Brainstorm collection of tourism and culture

Brainstorm collection of other exciting projects and initiatives

📝 Define

After the brainstorm and empathy phase had been done, we defined problems out of the brainstorm and conducted some outdoor research by interviewing Dublin citizens (minute 2:30 of our video).

The problems we brainstormed on 

We defined four trends as the cause for all issues

  1. Gentrification
  2. Improvable traffic concept
  3. A different environmental mindset by citizens and politics
  4. Missing attention of culture, identity and community

Our final question to answer was:

„How can we transform the Dublin Docklands into an exceptional space to live, representing today's spirit of holistic sustainability, smart-city interconnectivity and inclusion to become a world-leading role model for future generations?“ (as seen in the background of each of the next brainstorm boards)

💡 Ideate

To answer our main question as good as possible we brainstormed again on different topics to follow the diamond shape process of the Design Thinking approach.

Ideas to deal with Gentrification and housing

Ideas to cope with the traffic concept

Ideas to improve the different environmental mindset

Brainstorm on the missing attention of culture, identity and community

🔨 Prototype

After collecting all ideas on the four different topics, we defined concrete concepts that could be implemented into the new „Portlin25“. A list of them can be found below otherwise they are presented with visual assets in the video.

  1. Accommodation:
  • Focus on creating space to live → sustainable and social 
  • This space to live will be distributed  
  • Equally on different social levels
  • Mixed regarding social level
  • Mixed regarding age groups (-> multi generation houses)
  • mixed regarding living time (e.g. airbnb)
  • The houses are sustainable and nearly passive, self-sufficient → solar panels with urban gardening
  • Smart Home aspect, data driven and automated
  • reuse of houses / refurbishment

  1. Civic spaces
  • no cars → focusing on pedestrian and bikes
  • not even possible to take a car due to no streets / tight streets 
  • alternative ways of moving → flying taxis, e-scooters, monorail, suspension railway, bus, e-tuktuk, bikes
  • data/ AI-driven traffic control, which is automated
  • new traffic concepts like circle roads / one way roads
  • using AI tools and 5G
  • clean public WC (with new concepts), public water dispenser 
  • swimming area -> use old pier 
  • Create a holistic rubbish and dispose concept

  1. Retail & Commercial Development 
  • sharing economy e.g. bike sharing or e-scooters
  • provide infrastructure for new ways of taxing e.g. flying taxis concept
  • first sector: urban gardening → vertical gardening for agriculture 20%
  • second sector → sustainable industry 10%
  • third sector → 70% for a strong economy → free co-working spaces for start ups in telecommunication sector
  • subsidies for local suppliers 
  • weekly local markets
  • no chains get support from the government
  • food court with lots of small stores (like food festivals) e.g. the market hall in Rotterdam
  • good mixture of cinemas and theaters

  1. Sports and Recreation
  • establishing a volunteering coaching network → free coaching for everyone
  • a couple of small green areas 
  • outdoor gyms
  • huge area for every kind of sport → recreate a big storage house 
  • gym and swimming pools with benefits for people who live there+
  • And we will talk about sports and recreation 
  • An old storage house will be reused into different kinds of gyms, swimming pools and creativity rooms. 
  • all citizens will have the opportunity to explore free coaching in multiple sports. 
  • exercising programs for elderly and people with movement difficulties free to use. 

  1. Sustainability
  • offshore windpark → enough energy for the whole area
  • water treatment with rain water

  1. Tourism & Culture
  • only sustainable tourism → regimentation for number of tourists
  • street art contests, galleries 
  • welcome all kind of cultures not just christians  → Ecumenism house
  • open-air libraries and book exchanges
  • skywalk 
  • one free theatre visit a month
  • free entry in museums
  • multicultural
  • diversity
  • pop-up restaurants

  1. Other exciting Projects & Initiatives
  • Regular festivals, theme weeks etc

I illustrated two logos to create more visualization of the port (color blue) and our team which is a mixed group of Belgians and Germans hence the colors of the two national flags in the font.

Logo for Portlin25 (design Philipp)

Logo BelGer Zeitgeist - our team logo (design Philipp)

🧪 Test

Since it is a concept of a new city district and due to limited time of the project (one week) we were not able to test any of our presented concepts. However, this would be the next step in the development of Portlin25. An Bord Pleanála can define which concepts need to be tested first and prioritize them.

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