Digital City Berlin


This discussion paper is an outcome of the workshop “Covid-19: IT lessons learned for the Berlin Digitalization Strategy” of the Digital City Berlin alliance on May 6, 2020.

A coherent digitalization policy for Berlin

The current COVID 19 crisis has highlighted the importance of an inclusive design for digitalization. It needs to enable social participation and make digital infrastructures accessible to all people as a public good. It has become evident that digital policy is not a side issue, rather it must play a central role in the sustainable development of the city. In many areas, problems and challenges have become visible. At the same time, the diverse landscape of actors in Berlin has emerged, and unfolded its potential and ideas. Initiatives, neighborhoods and the administration have demonstrated in many places what we can achieve if we support and collaborate with each other.

Building on know-how, ideas and actors

Berlin has the know-how, ideas and people to shape and promote a sovereign and sustainable digitalization for the public. This broad participation of civil society is needed to enable a coherent digitalization policy in the city. Attempts to implement such comprehensive policies in Berlin have largely been unsuccessful, so far.

However, Berlin lacks the political and administrative structures and clear objectives that would enable to integrate this existing potential successfully. An example is the E-Record, introduced as part of the Berlin E-Government Strategy adopted in 2015. It failed due to problems in the tendering process. The Berlin Smart City Strategy of 2015 lacked concrete measures from the outset and the creation of a Smart City information portal aside, no overarching and strategic activities took place. This year the Berlin Senate Chancellery is planning on redesigning the Smart City strategy. In 2019, the Senate Department for Energy, Economy and Public Enterprises began developing the Berlin Digital Strategy. However, it will not be ratified as scheduled in June 2020.

200526_masken_tommahinrichsen-1-e1590900856855-300x267-7495228 (c)Tomma Hinrichsen | Weizenbaum Institute

Under the circumstances of a worldwide pandemic both problems and challenges as well as ideas and possible solutions have become apparent. This paper will point out

* what action are required in the short and medium term,

* which competences, solutions and ideas already exist, and

* where there is an urgent need for additional capacities.

It is directed to the political actors involved in digital policy-making (especially the Senate Chancellery and relevant Senate Administrations).

It is only together that we will master the current situation and collaboratively build a long-term digital policy for Berlin.

Continue reading “A Democratic and Inclusive Digitalization Policy for Berlin”

More than thirty organisations and individuals from science and civil society sign the statement of the Digital City Alliance of Berlin. Berlin needs an inclusive digitization policy that focuses on people, nature and the common good. The development process of this strategy must be transparent and enable the active participation of civil society.

Continue reading “Digital strategy for Berlin – sovereign, sustainable and for the common good”

Information and networking event on December 11 from 18-20 hrs at CityLAB Berlin.

In September 2018, the Berlin Senate voted to develop a Digital Strategy for the city of Berlin on the basis of the red-red-gree coalition agreement. To support project management, the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises (SenWEB) commissioned the consulting firm Ernst & Young.
In order to accompany this process constructively and critically, an alliance of actors from civil society, science and politics came together in June 2019: the Digital City Alliance for Berlin. Because of Berlin multitude of highly qualified people within the digital field, we see the Digital Strategy as an opportunity to rethink and design a social-ecological, participative and democratic city for the 21st century. In March 2019, the Senator Ramona Pop signed the declaration of the “Cities Coalition for Digital Rights”. This is a great normative basis for the further development of the digital strategy and should therefore be highlighted and adressed within a broad discussion. In preparation for the civic participation process that will begin in 2020, the Digital City Alliance for Berlin invites the public to an information and network evening. With this event, we want to initiate a broader discussion over the basics and next steps of the digitisation strategy, to integrate interested persons and to further strengthen the networking of the institutions involved.

Ultimately, it is a question that concerns all of us: What kind of digital city do we want to live in?

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Wir sind ein freies Bündnis, das zum Thema Stadt und Digitalisierung arbeitet. Seit März 2019 verfolgen wir den Prozess zur Entwicklung der Berliner Digitalisierungsstrategie. Wir sind Personen und Institutionen aus