The joint booth of the Berlin Senate Chancellery and CityLAB Berlin at re:publica 2022.

Image: © Senatskanzlei Berlin

re:publica 2022: Berlin Presents Smart City Pilot Projects

From 8 to 10 June 2022, the Berlin Senate Chancellery and CityLAB Berlin attended re:publica at a joint stand, where they presented the five pilot projects within the Smart City Berlin model project, two of which have already launched.

This year’s re:publica counted 900 speakers, 500 sessions and around 21,000 visitors. After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the three-day festival for the digital society once again opened its doors to the public, but not before moving to a new location: the grounds of the Arena Berlin. The Berlin Senate Chancellery’s Smart City unit and CityLAB Berlin also attended, at a joint stand where they held presentations and talks on the five pilot projects within the Smart City Berlin model project. Synergies were one topic of conversation, as smart cities unite urban development and digitisation while promoting cooperation between a range of sectors and actors. “We want the projects to learn from one another, particularly when it comes to how Berlin can become resilient, cooperative, sustainable and oriented towards the common good in a range of very different fields,” says Dr Angela Jain, who is responsible for the pilot projects on the part of the Senate Chancellery.

Two of the projects, the Smart Space Hardenbergplatz pilot project and the Data & Smart City Governance project, have already launched, meaning the team was able to present first experiences and discuss them with visitors. The three other projects, namely Smart Water; Data in everyday life and crises – Kiezbox 2.0; and Smart Participation/Community Budgeting, are expected to launch by the autumn of 2022.

The meeting at re:publica made it clear to all actors that there are many cross connections between the projects; Kiezbox 2.0, which guarantees an independent communication network in emergencies, could measure environmental data on a daily basis, for example. It could also be used as a digital pinboard for neighbourhood communications, as was discovered by Rita Jordan from the Berlin Technology Foundation (“Technologiestiftung Berlin”), who represents the Kiezbox 2.0 project, and Ines Schilling from the Treptow-Köpenick district, where the Smart Participation/Community Budgeting project will be based.

The five pilot projects are testing components of the new Smart City Strategy, which Berlin will be developing until the late autumn of 2022 in close cooperation with urban society. The process is funded by the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) and the KfW bank as part of the Smart Cities Model Projects programme. At the beginning of the new legislative period, Berlin’s Smart City Strategy was combined with Berlin’s digital strategy, which is also currently being put together. The strategy has been renamed Going Digital Together: Berlin (German only) ; the current status was also presented and discussed at the joint stand. The implementation phase, which includes carrying out the pilot projects, will run until late 2026.

The model project is steered and coordinated in its entirety by the Senate Chancellery. The pilot projects all share one cornerstone: the close connection to administration, which aims to guarantee later perpetuation, as well as the participation of urban society. By involving actors from administration, business, science and urban society, Berlin aims to integrate the user’s perspective into each project.


The 5 pilot projects within the Smart City Berlin model project

Smart Space Hardenbergplatz

The project aims to tests the flexible use and efficient administration of public spaces until 2026, with the aim of developing an operator model that is oriented towards the common good and can be transferred to other spaces and cities. An exemplary, digital negotiation platform aims to allow roads and pavements to be used in many different ways, improve interconnected mobility services through sharing offers and increase the quality of residence on the Hardenbergplatz with pop-up interventions, for example. Smart Space Hardenbergplatz pursues a transdisciplinary approach that brings together administration, business and science.

Smart Water

Rainwater usage in general, and green and blue infrastructures in particular, can reduce the impact of climate change considerably and bring additional qualities to the city. The project aims to enable the agile planning of rainwater usage and climate-friendly urban development; it further aims to raise awareness for the potential of rainwater usage among residents by means of visualisation.

Data & Smart City Governance

How can municipalities and technology companies cooperate fairly when it comes to the use of data? On the one hand, the project develops data governance concepts inductively (from the bottom up) based on the use case of a data-driven air quality management tool. On the other, it assesses existing governance principles in the fields of smart cities and corporate and data governance deductively (from the top down).

Smart Participation/Community Budgeting

Low involvement in participation processes tends to distort interests. Activating, digitally supported participation methods and new forms of interaction aim to help reach more people as well as a more diverse range. The pilot district is Treptow-Köpenick.

Data in everyday life and crises – Kiezbox 2.0

A local, crisis-proof communication infrastructure offers resilience in an increasingly digitised city and supports emergency services appropriately. As solar and/or battery-operated hotspots, Kiezboxes 2.0 can form an emergency wireless network that provides the population with information at local level in an emergency (e.g. a power outage), for example.  The pilot district is expected to be Tempelhof-Schöneberg.

Further information

Berlin Smart City pilot projects (German only)
Public knowledge repository on the Smart City Berlin Strategy process (German only)
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf District Office press release on the  Smart Space Hardenbergplatz project at re:publica 2022 (German only)