The challenges of digital transformation are becoming more and more tangible in the daily lives of Berliners. There is an increasing need to get involved and take the city’s digital future into one’s own hands.
From 2019 the City of Berlin will develop a digital strategy in which goals for the digital future of the capital are to be formulated. The development of such a digital strategy, as well as the digital transformation itself, is a dynamic process that requires continuous control, monitoring and reflection. In Berlin there is already a diverse patchwork of very different initiatives and people on the local level, who are practically testing out the visions and ways of a community and public welfare-oriented digitization. This potential must be made visible and used in the future development of Berlin’s digital strategy.
To this end, we propose the establishment of Kiez@Lab: Neighborhood laboratories to promote public discourse on the digital future of Berlin and to jointly develop the Berlin digitization strategy. We see Kiez@Lab as a low-threshold discursive format: for joint research-based learning, for the exchange of experience, for experimenting, for negotiating conflicts, for instigating cooperation – and as a local, socio-spatial embedded supplement to the neighborhood.
From November 2019, we will organize the first temporary Kiez@Lab at regular intervals and in a nomadic “Pop-Up-Principle” in changing neighborhoods and neighborhoods such as libraries, hospitals or parks in order to assess the long-term structure and potential prototype the Kiez@Lab. Currently planned formats are keynote speeches, dialogical forums and workshops aimed at the broadest possible public. A particular concern here is learning from and with other cities and initiatives that, like Berlin, have committed themselves to the goals of the “Cities Coalition for Digital Rights”.
The long-term goal is to further develop and consolidate the Kiez@Lab format in order to permanently contribute local perspectives and experiences of Berlin’s civil society to the digital transformation of the city of Berlin. Kiez@Lab must therefore be a fundamental component of Berlin’s digital strategy at an early stage.