Driving Digitisation Together
On 23 August Dr Ralf Kleindiek, Berlin’s Chief Digital Officer (CDO), met with FUTR HUB development partners on the premises of “Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic” for a casual talk that revolved around the data platform and its development partnerships at this location of the future.
In the coming years, former Tegel Airport will become home to a research and industrial park for urban technologies: “Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic”, one of a total of eleven locations of the future (“Zukunftsorte”) throughout Berlin. The premises spread out across around 5 km2; here, industry, trade and science will cooperate on solutions for the city of tomorrow – and test them immediately on site. “Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic” has thus been given a pioneering role which will benefit not only Berlin but other cities and municipalities as well.
FUTR HUB, the competence centre for urban data, is currently developing an open, digital infrastructure for Berlin TXL – one that can be used by Smart Cities across the world in future. The central platform will merge, connect and make urban data available. The project has one key aim: to ensure it can be used by as many actors from fields such as energy, mobility and smart nature as possible. FUTR HUB is being realised as part of a development partnership – this allows the team to determine the requirements for this type of platform from various perspectives and to implement them together in the shape of innovative practical examples.
“The work on the Urban Tech Republic shows us the outstanding vision of a smart Berlin TXL district, from which the entire city of Berlin as well as other municipalities can learn,” said Dr Ralf Kleindiek, Berlin’s Chief Digital officer and State Secretary for Digital Affairs and Administrative Modernisation, at a lunch with the FUTR HUB development partners on the Urban Tech Republic premises on 23 August. He went on to say that the FUTR HUB is the right way to achieve this goal of a district of the future; in this respect, open source solutions offer great potential, which Berlin will be able to harness more effectively in future.
Digitisation poses challenges that cannot be overcome in a vacuum
In his introductory speech, Kleindiek emphasised that digitisation – and with it, Berlin’s development towards a smart city – represents a huge challenge which can only be managed in cooperation and across sectors. This is a key component of the “Going Digital Together: Berlin” (“Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin”) strategy, which resulted from the merging of Berlin’s Digital Strategy with the Berlin Smart City Strategy, funded by the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) as part of the Smart Cities Model Projects programme. Developed in cooperation with citizens and urban society, the overall strategy is to be presented to the Berlin Senate for decision in late autumn. “Going Digital Together: Berlin” will thus become common grounds for the digital transition and Berlin’s expansion to a smart city.
“Berlin TXL is taking huge steps in this direction – but digitisation poses challenges that cannot be overcome in a vacuum,” Kleindiek said. He therefore appealed to all present to break down silo mentalities and promote cooperation – both within and without the administration. He went on to say that Berlin’s digitisation depends on the involvement of all development partners, regional entities and companies – contributing concepts, technology, procedures and good ideas, and placing a strong emphasis on open data.
Berlin’s CDO called the FUTR HUB development partnership – including working groups that are already underway and focus on various specialised themes such as smart nature and smart energy – a key component to successfully implement the innovative activities defined in the “Going Digital Together: Berlin” strategy.
In the background, a quote taken from the gemeinsamdigital.berlin.de website (German only) effectively emphasised the words of Berlin’s CDO: “Above all, transformation means bringing people together and harmonising interests to tackle concrete projects as a team. Climate change, the mobility transition, bringing neighbourhoods to life and ensuring quality of life require cooperation and a new way of thinking!” (vdo)