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Senate of Berlin Gives Initial Green Light for Strategic Framework

It’s a big day for Berlin: the development of the new Smart City Strategy has reached another milestone after the Senate of Berlin officially gave the initial green light for the Strategic Framework on 6 July; the document forms the basis for the finalisation of the strategy. What makes this process so unique is the intensive involvement of the Berlin urban society.

Over the past months, five key groups of actors – from science; business; administration/politics; the organised civil society; and what are known as silent groups – were all involved in the first phase of the strategy process. More than 1,600 Berliners took part in an online survey conducted by CityLAB Berlin, contributing ideas on the future of their city and thus actively shaping the Strategic Framework. These ideas were supplemented by the results of workshops and in-depth interviews.

Around 350 citizens then participated in the subsequent – and more time-consuming – online commenting phase on the resulting first draft of the Strategic Framework at Incidentally, the silent groups include Berliners that are otherwise rarely heard, or struggle to be heard, in participation processes: people with disabilities; people who have experienced migration or discrimination; children and youths; and homeless people. 

Seizing the opportunities digitisation has to offer

The Senate of Berlin also included comments on and supplements to the document. The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, called the moment itself a milestone in the development of the new Berlin Smart City Strategy. “This is a tremendous success and demonstrates our clear focus on broad participation, a core element of our Smart City approach: seizing the opportunities digitisation has to offer and employing a transparent and open process to turn Berlin into a Smart City that is oriented towards the common good.” 

Dr Frank Nägele was also delighted by how well the participation process was accepted by the Senate Departments. “Our intention was for the strategy to be developed not by us, but by urban society as a whole. While politics and administration are, of course, part of that, and contribute their perspectives, they do not set the entire course,” says the competent State Secretary for Administrative and Infrastructure Modernisation.

Finalisation from August on

Public administration and urban society will also be closely involved in the second phase of the strategy process. From August on, this phase will focus on finalising the Smart City Strategy, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The strategy is part of the Smart Cities Model Project, funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community and the KfW Bank. The participation of the Berliners is at the heart of this process, the content of which focuses on the parameters sustainability, resilience and orientation towards the common good. (vdo)

For further information on the Smart City Strategy process, please visit the public knowledge repository (German only)

Strategic Framework for the development of a new Smart City Strategy. (Version dated 5 July 2021, German only)