Smart City Expert Workshop @ City Lab Berlin

Hybrid Space Lab contributes to the Smart City Expert Workshop focussing on cultural issues, fostering the co-creative process to shape the content of Berlin’s Smart City strategy.

Workshop Smart City Expert @ Berlin Senate Chancellery and CityLAB Berlin, 7 January 2022


Since fall 2020, Berlin has been working on a new Smart City strategy as a Smart City model project funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (Bundesministerium des Innern und für Heimat). This new strategy is being formulated with the broad participation of the city’s population. In August 2021, the basis of the Smart City strategy, the so-called Strategic Framework, was adopted by the Berlin Senate.

Finalizing Berlin’s Smart City strategy

In second major participation phase, from November 2021 to May 2022, CityLAB Berlin is coordinating under the leadership of the Senate Chancellery a broad-based participation process in order to finalize Berlin’s Smart City strategy and its concrete operational goals, measures and controlling elements. This broad-based participation process consists of four strands:

⋅ a public participation for all Berliners via,
⋅ the cooperation of randomly selected Berliners in a city committee,
⋅ the involvement of employees from the Berlin administration, and
⋅ the impulses of experts to ensure professional input in the process.

Creative, participatory, and hands-on approach

Smart City Berlin pursues an open, creative, participatory, and hands-on approach to dealing with the challenges of the future. Urban development and digitization are thought of together in this context and the use of new technologies aims at strengthening social values and the democratic community in the city.

Participation of urban society

The Smart City strategy is being developed with the broad participation of urban society and has the objective to support the existing overarching urban goals defined by the Berlin Strategy 3.0, with smart city approaches. This policy paper, that was adopted by the Berlin Senate in 2021, incorporates the most important department-specific goals, setting the framework for Berlin’s development for the coming decade.

As our work at Hybrid Space Lab testifies, we believe that the future challenges that urban societies at large will face defy the focus of Metaverse. We don’t need – and, most importantly, don’t want – to project ourselves and future generations in an after-world, be it a company-owned alternative uni-verse, or a Planet B. The digital challenges of today and tomorrow should be met with situated approaches.

Kiez Lab can be a short-term, versatile instrument to trial approaches to address Berliners’ digital challenges in a hybrid, locally embedded and globally networked way, creating the opportunity to learn how urban societies near and far are coping with their respective crises and settings, and how citizenry may become genuinely involved in shaping the future.

With an emphasis on public spaces stemming from the long-standing European tradition, Kiez Lab emerges as a hybrid, locally embedded and yet globally networked response to Berliners’ digital challenges.

* What are innovative ways to promote common good, sustainability, resilience, and cooperation in the city?

* How can data and new technological tools be used creatively and responsibly for urban development? 

* What processes are needed to make urban development participatory, transparent, agile, and compelling?

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