Experimental Space @ Weizenbaum Institute

What should spaces be like in which experiments with digital technologies are made, experienced and further developed?

How can we provide access to and knowledge of digital technologies, and above all create ways to shape them, develop them further and experiment with them?

Open Lab @ Weizenbaum Institute, Berlin, 16 January 2020


In digital spaces and formats of debate, learning and teaching and democratic participation, the digital transformation is negotiated and asked which digital futures we want to create and be part of. Some initiatives such as the CityLAB Berlin, bUm_Raum for committed civil society, the Verschwörhaus and KiezDigital work together with citizens and communities at the local level and in a way that is oriented towards the common good. In the workshop discussion, we want to ask which formats and strategies have proven their worth, speak openly about difficulties, successes and insights and create a space for collective learning. You are cordially invited to take part in the conversation!


17.00: Welcome by Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost
17.15: Input by Dr. Bianca Herlo: Technologization of Spaces
17.30: Presentation of the participants and questions from the moderator
18.00: Public Discussion
19.00 End


bUm Raum für engagierte Zivilgesellschaft, Eva Möhrchen
CityLab, Dr. Benjamin Seibel
Trust Coworking, Arthur Röing Baer
Vertreter*innen der c-base
Hybrid Space Lab, Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi und Prof. Frans Vogelaar
KiezDigital, Elizabeth Calderon Lüning

Neighborhood Lab to jointly shape Berlin’s digital future

The challenges of digital transformation are becoming increasingly tangible in the everyday lives of Berliners. There is an increasing need to get involved and take the digital future of the city into their own hands. Starting in 2019, Berlin will develop a digital strategy in which goals for the capital’s digital future will be formulated. The development of such a digital strategy, like the digital transformation itself, is a dynamic process that requires continuous management, support and reflection. In Berlin, there is already a diverse patchwork of very different initiatives and people at the local level who are practically testing visions and ways of a collaborative digitization oriented toward the common good. 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 Berlin Kiez Labs: Neighborhood Labs to promote public discourse on Berlin’s digital future and to jointly develop Berlin’s digitization strategy. We see Kiez Lab as a low-threshold discursive format: for joint exploratory learning, for sharing experiences, for experimenting, for negotiating conflicts, for instigating collaborations – and as a local, socio-spatially embedded complement to the newly established City Lab.

Starting in November 2019, during an initial test phase, we will organize the first temporary neighborhood labs at regular intervals and in a nomadic “pop-up principle” in changing Berlin neighborhoods and typical neighborhood locations, such as libraries, hospitals, or parks, in order to prototypically test the long-term design and potential of the neighborhood labs. Currently planned formats are impulse lectures, dialogical forums and workshops, which are aimed at as broad a public as possible. 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 stabilize the Kiez Lab format in order to permanently incorporate local perspectives and experiences of Berlin’s civil society into the digital transformation of the city of Berlin. The neighborhood labs must therefore be a fundamental component of Berlin’s digital strategy at an early stage.

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