Digitalisation has provided an opportunity to redesign many areas and establish more effective workflows and processes. People don’t have to adjust their needs based on what solutions are actually available. Instead, customised digital tools can be developed, often in a transparent process with others. Public administrations in particular face a major transformation process and should leverage prototyping in order to start digitalising public life with an orientation toward the common good.
Our Gieß den Kiez (“Water your neighbourhood”) project is one example of what is possible. We provide Berliners with an overview of their city trees and information about them, and we encourage locals to come together to water these trees.
Testing and developing open source for the Smart City
Whenever possible, we use open source software for our projects. Open source software offers free source codes that anyone can develop further for their own applications. This type of software is particularly well-suited for participatory urban development that is centered around the common good.
For example, we have open source software that is useful for the organisation of volunteer-based initiatives and honorary work. We compile these resources on the website in one digital location and invite associations and non-profit organisations in Berlin to access the software programs via the website. The experiences and knowledge we gain in the process are passed on to the city administration and other city actors so that they can learn and benefit from them.
Openness is a key principle of our work
We always share the results of our work on our Github account, ensuring they are accessible to all. This both brings transparency to our work and advances the further development of non-commercial software.