Photo: Unplash/ Skyline: Bhakti Parab; Glühbirne: Joey Harris

Smart City Pilot Projects: Launch with Public Participation

As part of the BMI and KfW-funded Smart City Model Projects programme Berlin will develop a new Smart City Strategy by autumn 2022. The participatory development of the strategy by and with the city, i.e. the participation of experts and the urban society, is a core element of the Berlin model project. This applies to both the development of the strategy and the development and implementation of five pilot projects, also funded by the BMI and KfW, which will start at the beginning of 2022.

After the strategy development came into its elaboration phase in August 2021, the implementation period will now start in parallel in January 2022. It is opened with participation workshops for each pilot project. As part of these five pilot projects, the "Smart Water" project is being launched at the beginning of 2022. Interested parties and project managers meet at a "round table" to discuss the project requirements. The projects "Designing and operating smart city squares - Hardenbergplatz" and "Data governance & data-driven administration" will then follow.

Prior to the start of the pilot projects, the project requirements are to be discussed in co-creation with actors from administration, business, science and civil society so that the final project description can be drawn up on the basis of the results. In addition to information on the current status of the project content, the respective focus should be sharpened again if necessary. Through these participatory processes, the user perspective from different viewpoints should be taken into account and feedback on possible project risks should be included in the planning. 

The pilot projects should not only work on a concrete problem and develop an innovative solution for it. Their mission is also to try out new methods and pass on what they have learned. In this way, they can serve as a model for future Smart City projects, which has already been formulated and established  in the Strategic Framework of the Berlin Smart City Strategy, elaborated with public involvement.

The pilot projects are each assigned to an organisation with responsibility for the project. The overall coordination and management of the pilot projects is carried out centrally by the Senate Chancellery. CityLAB Berlin supports the Senate Chancellery and the project leaders in implementing the participation formats. 

The Berlin pilot projects

 Each project has a different thematic focus relevant to the Smart City. All are spatially distributed across the city.

  • Designing and operating smart city places - Hardenbergplatz
  • Data Governance & Data-Driven Administration 
  • Smart Water - Modelling and Governance 
  • Participatory Budgeting and Smart Participation
  • Data in everyday life and crisis - Kiezbox 2.0 

The Berlin Smart City Strategy: Learning from Practice

The process of developing Berlin's new Smart City Strategy is composed of three phases: a concept phase, an elaboration phase and an implementation phase. Berlin is not entirely "reinventing the wheel", but will also use international approaches, such as the Humble Government approach from Helsinki, to guide its strategy development. 

In this way, the insights gained during the implementation phase will be fed back into the strategy, turning it into a learning one. Within the framework of the pilot projects, solutions for problems will be developed autonomously. In addition, the approaches from the Strategic Framework for Berlin's Smart City Strategies, which was adopted in August 2021 and developed in the first phase of the process, will be tested.

Stakeholders 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:, indicating the relevant project.