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.
Neighborhood (Hood) Labs (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-Labs 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 Labs 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.
Christian Grauvogel, HIIG | re:Kreators – Network for Civil Society Urban Development in Europe
Prof. Elizabeth Sikiaridi, Hybrid Space Lab
Prof. Frans Vogelaar, Hybrid Space Lab
Felix Hartenstein, TU Dresden | Inwista | Urbanophil
Hişar Ersöz, studio amore
Leon Jank, studio amore
Prof. Melanie Humann, Institute for Urban Design and Urban Research | TU Dresden