Gut gelaunte Menschen stehen vor dem Eingang des CityLABs
© Florian Reimann
  • Theme Smart City

CityLAB Berlin

How can Berlin shape the digital transformation together with its vibrant urban society? The smart city of tomorrow - this does not simply mean digitizing, but using new technical possibilities with confidence in order to meet both the needs and the barriers of everyone. This is where CityLAB Berlin comes in as a public innovation laboratory and operates at the interface between urban society, administration and science.

Target group
Urban society and administration
Smart City
Running time
Since June 2019

What is the CityLAB?

The CityLAB is Berlin's experimental innovation laboratory and provides impetus for the digitalization of the city, together with administrative staff, citizens and other city stakeholders. The CityLAB was founded at the former Tempelhof Airport,

  1.     to identify the challenges and potential of urban digitalization,
  2.     discuss them with a view to their practical feasibility and
  3.     in the form of prototype applications.

The goals of the CityLAB:

  •     strengthen the digital competence of the administration and other urban stakeholders
  •     develop high-quality digital services in terms of content and technology and test them as prototypes with the respective target groups
  •     Create new forms of digital participation and promote a cultural change in public digitalization
  • The team of CityLAB 2023
  • The CityLAB offices are located in the former Tempelhof Airport.
  • Prototyping is about obtaining feedback from stakeholders and potential users and integrating it directly into the design.
  • Gieß den Kiez is a platform for coordinating the watering of Berlin's trees and invites all citizens to participate in the preservation of our endangered tree population.
  • Citizens can use the Gieß den Kiez app to find out about the water requirements of trees in their neighborhood and mark when and how much they have watered.
  • The Kiezlabor model project shows what participation in the city can look like: With an energy self-sufficient Tiny House that is touring Berlin's districts - and shaping the city of tomorrow with digital content.
  • The Kiezlabor is a so-called mobile urban laboratory. As a tiny house, it can be set up and dismantled at different locations as it is made up of just a few components.
  • The Parla software prototype is based on artificial intelligence and enables the searchability of over 10,000 public administration documents.

How does CityLAB Berlin work?

The CityLAB works with digital solutions and participatory methods to make life in Berlin more liveable in the long term:

Digital participation & administrative digitization

All CityLAB projects focus on creating added value for the city of Berlin and its residents. To this end, CityLAB works directly with Berlin's administration and urban society. One example: in the administration digital workshop, online forms were tested and improved together with citizens. This can reduce bureaucratic hurdles and make services more accessible for citizens.

The CityLAB is working for more digital participation in Berlin so that public digitalization meets the actual requirements and needs of the entire urban society.

Prototyping & open source

CityLAB develops digital applications and prototypes that make everyday life in Berlin easier. The Gieß den Kiez app, for example, enables residents to take care of trees in their neighborhood by regularly checking their current water requirements and supplying them accordingly.

Everything that CityLAB produces is made available to the public. This means that all source codes are always provided under a free license as open source for further use.

Participation & knowledge transfer

CityLAB promotes participation through participatory processes and offerings in order to pave Berlin's way to becoming a sustainable smart city oriented towards the common good. A dedicated team is currently supporting the implementation of the Berlin strategy Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin.

As a public space, CityLAB sees itself as a platform for exchange between civil society, business, administration and science. Through events, workshops and networking formats, the various stakeholders are brought together to work together on solutions for the challenges of a changing city and society.

Interdisciplinary research & education

In addition to the implementation of projects and concrete prototypes, interdisciplinary research also plays an important role at CityLAB. Projects such as QTrees use AI to identify endangered urban trees, while Freemove researches the anonymization methods of mobility data for sustainable urban planning.

In the public exhibition, the CityLAB presents interactive exhibits that provide insights into previous projects and also showcase the work of network partners. CityLAB's educational programs are often combined with excursions for lecture halls, classrooms or seminar rooms.


Experience the city of the future in interactive exhibits. Due to current Corona regulations, the exhibition will remain closed until further notice.

  • Im Ausstellungsraum des CityLAB stehen zwei Monitore auf jeweils einem Sockel. Davor sitzt eine Frau, die eine VR-Brille trägt und ihren rechten Arm anhebt. Im Hintergrund hängen leuchtende Neon-Röhren an den Wänden. Eine Person läuft auf einen Tisch zu, der in seiner Platte einen Monitor integriert hat.
    © Sabine Zoltnere
  • Ein Flur aus Ausstellungswänden: auf der linken Wand werden Projektionen gestrahlt und in der rechten Wand sind Bildschirme eingelassen. Eine Frau berührt auf der rechten Seite einen Bildschirm.
    © Sabine Zoltnere
  • Eine Person ist von hinten zu sehen und schaut sich eine Projektion an einer Wand an. Die Projektion zeigt ein vereinfachtes Straßennetz von Berlin mit farblich unterschiedlichen Markierungen an. Daneben steht ein Ausstellungstext mit der Überschrift: Shared Mobility Flows.
    © Sabine Zoltnere
  • Auf einem schwarzen Sockel steht ein Bildschirm, der eine vereinfachte Karte von Berlin zeigt. Der Sockel ist mit einem Ausstellungstext beschriftet, die Überschrift lautet:
    © Sabine Zoltnere

What's next for CityLAB Berlin?

Since the end of 2022, Berlin has had a new smart city and digital strategy, which CityLAB was also involved in developing. The Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin strategy (GD:B for short) was adopted by the Berlin Senate and began implementation in 2023 with five pilot projects. As part of the implementation phase of the GD:B strategy, CityLAB will continue to provide methodological and technical support to the action teams at the start of their projects in 2024 and carry out various exchange and networking formats.

The Kiezlabor is one of these formats implemented by CityLAB as part of the GD:B strategy. In 2024, the mobile urban laboratory will once again be on the road at various locations in Berlin to develop solutions for the city of tomorrow together with stakeholders from civil society and administration.