Urbanistic founders Nils Seifert, Michael Mühlhaus and Marc-Christian Hodapp (from the left)
Photo: Urbanistic

Urbanistic: Digital Urban Planning

Urban planning is a complex process that involves different players such as architects, city administration and attorneys. Urbanistic is digitizing the process to accelerate and simplify urban planning.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!

Urbanistic: We’re Michael Mühlhaus, (35), Nils Seifert (34) and Marc-Christian Hodapp (33). Michi and Nils organized lessons at the Chair of Architectural Informatics while conducting research on tools for digital city models. They were constantly asked about a commercial solution, and finally turned the tables one day and countered the question by asking the inquirer:
“If you have such faith in our solution, would you give up your fantastic, high-paying job as a project developer to found Urbanistic with us?”

Marc said yes.

“Faster processes with better results”

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Urbanistic: The early architectural planning phases on an urban planning scale are a particularly complex problem, where a wide variety of different factors have to be considered. Especially at the beginning of a project, important decisions are made that are decisive for how the rest will go. This planning phase is currently a drawn-out and iterative process, and in the end, decisions are still often made based on incomplete information.

This is exactly where Urbanistic comes in: On the basis of digital city models, interactive planning variations can be generated, evaluated and communicated. The automated monitoring of building laws and other conditions simultaneously minimizes planning risk and monitors the progress made to reach targets.

Thanks to its modular approach, the solution can be utilized by urban planners, architects, project developers and municipalities, who can use the platform as a planning tool or as a communication tool.

This leads to faster processes with better results!

“We are experts in German and Central European building laws”

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Urbanistic: Of course there’s competition, and it would be a bad sign if that wasn’t the case.

As academics, we spent the last six years researching how city models can support planning and planning communication while always challenging and questioning the existing tools and models.

One thing was always clear to us: Planning is not a linear process, but rather a communicative one in which the actual planning issues and challenges emerge during the planning process itself.
And this is precisely what differentiates us from the competition, because our solution is not based on adopting individual features in a predominantly static model. With our technology, we combine dynamic city models with an adaptable and expandable toolbox, which allows planners to respond to new issues.

At the same time, we are finally introducing many things to the planning world that have long since proven themselves in other fields like software development: version control (How do my planning versions build on each other?), unit testing (Is my planning feasible?), issue tracking (Who is responsible for dealing with which problems?).
And the aspect that’s perhaps most important for our emerging market: We are experts in German and Central European building laws!

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Urbanistic: One challenge was becoming familiar with HR and corporate law. Fortunately, we’re quick learners and are able to fall back on our network when we need a fast answer to specific questions.

The second and third challenge are clear: corona! It basically brought our office ping-pong matches to a halt. They’re extremely important, because 94.83 percent of our work is performed sitting in front of a computer.

The third challenge is utilizing the scope of a personal conversation, which is only possible with network-based support at the moment.

Urbanistic is hiring

Munich Startup: How is business going?

Urbanistic: Our number of employees has doubled in three months: from three to six. And we’re looking for more urbanists, developers, startuppers. So if someone reads this and feels motivated, feel free to get in touch!

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Urbanistic: Munich is a very lively city in the startup area and doesn’t need to feel like it’s not up to par with Berlin or Barcelona. The universities and colleges have been investing a lot for some time now to provide good conditions. We’re proud to be a Munich startup!

Munich Startup: Wilhelminian neighborhood or chic new development area?

Urbanistic: Both have their allure. As an architect, you often choose the old building so you can reflect about which buildings are worthy of experiencing several life cycles.

At the same time, there is much to be said for new development areas. Especially in Munich, the “young building cooperatives” offer quite livable approaches.

On top of that, demands and needs are being redefined once again: A private outside area and large balconies in new development areas versus flexible layouts in Wilhelminian floor plans.

Simon Tischer

Von Dezember 2015 bis Juni 2023 war Simon Tischer als Redakteur für Munich Startup tätig.

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