Worldwide, cities are developing smart city strategies to respond to demographic and structural changes in an environmentally and citizen-friendly manner. Berlin's population increases by about 40,000 each year. Increased demand for housing as well as growing demands on urban infrastructure, power supply and waste disposal systems are just some of the challenges that cities have to face in order to ensure their future viability.
Integrating digital information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as taking into account sustainability and the common good can contribute significantly to resolving these issues. New ICT technologies increase the efficiency of systems and reduce the consumption of resources.
In order to preserve its attractiveness and quality of life, Berlin started developing, testing and implementing innovative solutions early on. An important prerequisite is that actors from public administration, business and science work closely together.
Berlin is smart:
- More than 300 research groups are working on projects in Berlin for a sustainable city.
- The networking of public administration, business and science provides an excellent environment for the development of smart technologies.
- Spin-offs from institutions of higher education as well as the highly technology-oriented start-up community in Berlin represent a high potential for innovation.
- Numerous conferences and trade shows taking place in Berlin address Smart City topics. Berlin presents itself in numerous formats with its innovative eco-system.
- With more than 150 companies, academic and research institutions, the Smart City Berlin Network is committed to the future city of Berlin and involved in the smart city strategy of the state of Berlin.
- The Berlin Senate's Smart City Strategy (PDF) defined clear goals and projects in order to establish the city as one of the leading smart cities in Europe.
- Berlin has room for ideas: Berlin's future places (Berliner Zukunftsorte) provide technology and knowledge-oriented companies with attractive spaces that are centrally located, have excellent infrastructure and feature close links between science and industry.
Smart City Strategy – example projects
The smart city strategy (PDF) of the state of Berlin defines ongoing projects and planned actions for a smart capital city. Berlin is already focusing on innovative solutions in the following areas of urban development (selected examples from the 6 fields of action):
Smart Management and Urban Society
Since 2015, the citizen participation platform mein.berlin.de allows Berlin residents to become involved in participatory processes in the state of Berlin.
The Future Living Berlin innovation centre is developing cross-sector and manufacturer-independent solutions for intelligent home networking.
Smart Berlin offers many opportunities to accelerate cooperation between research institutions, universities, and companies. Successful innovation can best be achieved at a cross-sectoral level, especially at the interfaces of ICT, energy technology, health, and transport/ mobility. Targeted funding policy is intended to bring together sectors and companies that usually do not work together, but that benefit from cooperation. This creates a smart link between different domains. Examples include: InfraLab, UnternehmensNetzwerk Motzener Straße e.V., Unternehmensnetzwerk Moabit e. V., BerChain, VRBB (Virtual Reality Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.)
The capital region is a test market for various mobility solutions, such as sharing services, mobility as a service, and autonomous driving.
A "micro smart grid" was developed on the EUREF campus, one of Berlin's future locations. This grid is an example of the interaction of a variety of different energy producers and consumers with a high proportion of renewable energy. Another example in this context is the Smart Business District project of InfraLab Berlin.
In the "Kat Lighthouses" project, seven partners from Berlin's science and public administration spheres as well as the Berlin Fire Department are developing a grassroots disaster protection scheme.