As part of the “Smart Cities Model Projects” programme, Berlin is developing a new, ambitious smart city strategy with a focus on participation, people and social good. The strategy intentionally takes a step away from a purely technological focus and moves instead toward a focus on co-design and inclusion; as part of this approach, the strategy includes active dialogue with Berlin’s diverse urban society.
With this idea, Berlin successfully applied to be a Smart City model project (through a funding program from the Federal Ministry of the Interior) and now has the chance to implement this vision for a smart city in the coming years.
On behalf of the Senate Chancellery, we are coordinating and supporting this wide-ranging project in several phases. Over the past year, we have executed a number of exciting projects together with various partners and the broader Berlin community. We’ll be incorporating the experiences we’ve gathered through these projects into the new Smart City strategy.
About the process:
In the concept phase (02/2021 – 05/2021), we’ll work on developing a vision of the future that includes framework conditions, guiding ideas, principles and overarching objectives for the Smart City Berlin. This phase will involve various stakeholders from multiple different sectors. We’ll try to answer questions like: What visions do Berliners have for their city? What do the private sector and civil society need in order to help shape the Smart City? What does the city administration want? How can we ensure the voices of so-called “silent groups” are heard? What insights can science provide us? Through various formats such as interviews, workshops, online participation and a symposium, we’ll ensure a broad spectrum of opinions is involved in drafting future visions for a Smart City Berlin.
In the subsequent elaboration phase (08/2021 – 05/2022), we’ll develop a strategy based on the vision for the future that will have been created in the preceding phase.
This will be followed by the implementation phase from January 2022 through the end of 2026. In this phase, the smart city strategy will be tested and implemented through concrete measures and projects. This will begin with five pilot projects, which will be financed from the model project’s funds.
A detailed overview of the Smart City Strategy process can also be found in our Notion.
In order to act as transparently as possible and to give you a clearer picture of what is happening in the process, here is an overview of the steps and results so far, including opportunities to participate.
Coffee, cake, comments & public feedback on the “Digital Together: Berlin” strategy
For Digitaltag on 24.06. we opened the doors of our Lab and invited you to discuss a first draft of the strategy “Together Digital: Berlin”. In a short video we explain the structure of the draft so far and give some context to the strategy. The strategy is not a finished text, but a working state. This can be commented on again until 24 July at mein.berlin.de.
What happened so far:
Public feedback on mein.berlin.de
Once again, we want to discuss interim results of the Smart City strategy process with you on 28 April. While the needs for action After the interim results of the participation process were presented at the Smart City Forum 2, you are now asked to comment on them again. The focus is on actions and measures for the Smart City Berlin.
Smart City Forum 2
On 24. February 2022, 5-7 p.m., we want to discuss interim results of the strategy process with you. The focus will be on the and operational goals for the Smart City Berlin were presented at the first forum, the focus is now on actions and measures. These were developed together with the public, over 120 experts, the city committee Digital Berlin and representatives of the Berlin administration.
Public feedback on mein.berlin.de
On 24. February 2022, 5-7 p.m., we want to discuss interim results of the strategy process with you. The focus will be on the mmented on online and publicly at mein.berlin.de. The focus is on the action requirements and operational goals for the Smart City-Berlin.
On 24. February 2022, 5-7 p.m., we want to discuss interim results of the strategy process with you. The focus will be on the needs for actions and operational goals for the Smart City Berlin. These were developed together with the public, more than 120 experts, the city committee Digital Berlin and representatives of the Berlin administration. Now we need your feedback on these first drafts!
Smart City pilot projects: Kick-off with public participation
The participatory development of the strategy by and with the city is a core element of the Berlin model project and concerns both the development of the strategy and the development and implementation of five pilot projects also funded by the BMI and KfW. Participation workshops were already held in January 2022 for the projects “Smart Water – Modelling and Governance” and “Designing and Operating Smart City Squares – Hardenbergplatz”. For these, an exchange with actors from administration, industry, science and civil society was first initiated, on the basis of which the final project description will be drawn up. The participation for the project “Data Governance & Data-Driven Administration” will follow soon. Actors who would like to contribute their expertise and user perspective to the discussion of the project proposals can express their interest by sending an email to and indicating the relevant project.
The participation process for Smart City Berlin has started
Following the presentation of the participation concept for the Smart City Strategy on 9 November as part of the Berlin Science Week, the multi-layered participation process for the strategy has now begun. The participation process is characterised by four participation tracks in order to give as many Berliners as possible the opportunity to participate:
A drawn city committee ‘Digital Berlin’ represents the diversity of Berliners. This selected group of people develops concrete contents for the strategy in exchange with a group of engaged employees of the Berlin administration and are supported by Smart City experts. This process is complemented by public formats. All interested parties are regularly invited to comment on interim results, contribute ideas and help shape the strategy.
Until 2 January 2022, all Berliners can contribute their ideas for the Smart City Berlin in an idea repository on mein.berlin.de.
Participation on the Smart City Strategy goes into the next round
On 09 November, the participation concept for the Smart City Strategy will be presented as part of Berlin Science Week. The complete concept can already be viewed online.
Senate approves strategic framework for new smart city strategy
The Senate has passed the strategic framework that will serve as the basis for Berlin’s new smart city strategy. With the decision, the Senate has at the same time sent comments and additions – combined with the recommendation to take these into account in the further development of Berlin’s new Smart City Strategy. The development of the Smart City Strategy will start in this fall and will again address the entire urban society with various participation opportunities.
28.04. – 08.05.2021
Based on your ideas and opinions, we have formulated a strategic framework for Smart City Berlin. We invite everyone to comment on this at mein.berlin.de and look forward to receiving your feedback!
31.03. – 28.04.2021
Evaluation and writing phase
Through workshops, interviews and surveys with a wide range of groups, we learned about a broad spectrum of perspectives on the future of Berlin. In particular, care was taken to identify and reach out to various actors in urban society and to design communication in a way that is appropriate for the target groups. This should ensure that all groups of actors (silent groups, administration, business, science and civil society) are not only heard, but also addressed in a way that meets their needs. After all, an open mindset that welcomes and incorporates different perspectives is the basis on which we build our process for developing a strategy.
More than 1600 people participated in online surveys on the Strategic Framework of Smart City Berlin. More than 250 stakeholders from civil society, Berlin’s business community and administration participated in workshops. 35 interviews were conducted with executives of the administration (10), so-called silent groups (25) and a scientific symposium was held with more than 360 experts and interested parties.
The openness of these formats made it possible to include a variety of perspectives in the process. Nonetheless, these are not designed to be considered representative.
The next step will be to sift through the results, sort them and prepare them in writing. On the basis of these results, the first version of the strategic framework will be created, which will be published for comment on mein.berlin.de from April 28.
15.03. – 31.03.2021
Online participation for all Berliner residents at mein.berlin.de
The online collection of ideas is open to all Berlin residents. Survey tools as well as mein.berlin.de are used for this purpose.
15.03. – 25.03.2021
Workshops with the business community
As part of the participation process, workshops with representatives of Berlin’s business community will be organized in order to involve various companies, start-ups and associations in the creation of the strategic framework. The workshops are organized by Urban Impact, in cooperation with Berlin Partner for Business and Technology.
16.03. – 24.03.2021
Workshops with the administration
In addition to interviews with executive staff, various workshops will be organized for employees of the Berlin administration. From district to head office to subordinate authorities: We want to include the perspectives of the administration.
17.03. – 25.03.2021
Workshops with civil society
From the submitted applications of the Call for Society Engagement, 10 civil society organizations will be selected and workshops will be held. These will take place in March and are aimed at various civil society networks.
23. & 24.3.2021
International Smart City Symposium “Redefining the Smart City” – Online event on Hopin.to in English
The symposium, jointly organized with the Berlin Senate Chancellery, and the Centre for Digital Governance at the Hertie School, will provide an overview of the current state of research on smart cities.
The event will provide a forum for anyone interested in smart cities to listen, learn, present and discuss current research, strategies and best practices.
Workshop with students
CityLAB Berlin invites students to contribute ideas and thoughts in a workshop. Because the future of our city affects all of us. This workshop on March 25 addresses students from all Berlin universities.
15.02. – 24.02.2021
Call for Society Engagement
With our Call for Society Engagement, we invite civil society groups to organize their own online workshops to develop and contribute their wishes and ideas for the Smart City Berlin. 10 organizations representing different target groups will be selected to develop visions for the future with conceptual and financial support from CityLAB.
14.02. – 07.03.2021
Interviews with politics and administration
Further interviews will be conducted with politicians and administrators. The following will be addressed:
- Administrative innovators
- Senate and district administrations
- Subordinate authorities
31.01. – 25.02.2021
Interviews with silent groups
The participation phase starts with interviews with so-called silent groups.
We understand silent groups to be those social groups that, often for a variety of reasons, are usually not heard in participation processes or are insufficiently represented. These groups therefore need targeted and outreach participation. They need formats that are easily accessible, build trust, and are oriented toward the concrete interests of the individual actors.
Although it is difficult to classify entire groups as “silent” across the board, the following groups were identified in the context of the Smart City participation process as being explicitly addressed in the early stages of participation:
- People with refugee experience
- People with disabilities
- People who are discriminated against because of their origin or sexuality
- Children and young people
- People without shelter
Appointment of the advisory board
The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, establishes a Smart City Strategy Advisory Board and appoints its members. The advisory board, which will include four representatives from the city’s science, business and administration sectors, will act as an advisory body to support the development of the strategy and provide impetus.
The appointment of the advisory board is a first step toward involving the city community in the future development of digital infrastructure and exemplary pilot projects.
Commitment of funding
The state of Berlin receives the funding and thus the mandate to develop a new smart city strategy and generate five implementation projects. The funding will provide the state of Berlin with around 6 million euros over 7 years plus further funding from the Federal Ministry of the Interior amounting to around 11 million euros. (senate chancellery press release in german)
Submission of the application
Berlin is applying for the “Smart City Model Project” funding from the BMI. The motto of the funding cycle is “Common good and network city/city network”.