Model city in a transparent glass sphere
  • Theme Topics: Smart City

We advance Smart City Berlin and innovations in the city

Digital technologies and artificial intelligence for the city of tomorrow

With digital tools, we can organise our coexistence better than ever. If data from typical urban closed loops such as power and water supply or transportation and mobility are networked, these closed loops can be managed more efficiently.

An example from the realm of property management: excess heat from a data centre could potentially be used to heat water for residents in the area. Artificial intelligence could be used to both recognize and calculate that potential and then execute the corresponding redistribution. Smart buildings handle energy more efficiently and sustainably and make an important contribution to climate reversal. The result: a carbon-neutral city of the future.

We regularly publish reports that show how the further networking of buildings and even entire neighbourhoods can make our life more sustainable. We are also actively testing out these possibilities: we develop tools such as our real-time service for measuring the water quality at the city’s lakes and beaches (link) or the day care centre search tool (link) to demonstrate the range of possibilities.

Organising the transformation process of becoming a smart city for the common good

The development of smart cities has been discussed at length, but primarily in technical terms. The main focus has typically been on technical upgrades to existing facilities or issues with data preparation and networking. Now those involved in the discussion are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities linked to digitalisation. After all, those who do business efficiently will achieve climate goals more easily and those who share data can work more inclusively and better integrate with others. But what exactly are the goals we should be trying to achieve and what is the best way to do so? 

On the path to a new smart city strategy, Berlin has launched a participatory process. It will ensure that the relevant issues will be discussed with all interested groups in the city and that this input will become part of the new strategy. 

Our involvement in this transformation process is through our CityLAB Berlin project, which we operate via a grant and which serves as a partner for the city in designing and executing this process.

Use data from Smart Buildings for a Smart City!

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Digitalisation for the innovative modernisation of city administration

The city administration plays a key role in the transformation process. After all, it lays the groundwork for transformation by providing the necessary data or by readily accepting new opportunities for collaboration (or suggesting potential collaborations itself), for example. But this kind of transformation is only possible when the city employees themselves are convinced. 

Just as in all other areas of life, digitalisation (in this case, eGovernment) encourages a disruptive viewpoint with regard to the status quo as well as a willingness to accept far-reaching changes and implement them through GovTech and CivicTech projects. This kind of a shift in mindset requires time and space. 

In CityLAB Berlin, we provide unencumbered spaces for reimagining the administration of tomorrow. Through publications such as Public Design, we also provide administrations with useful resources for thinking and working innovatively.

Open data as a key condition for the digital transformation

To ensure that all the data captured in the city can be used for modernising its infrastructure and administration, these data must be published in a way that enables others to use them long term. They must be made available as open data. But before they can be made accessible to the general public, they must be anonymised and translated into an open, machine-readable format. Berlin is committed to an open data strategy and, in recent years, has begun to systematically prepare and publish data. 

To help administrative offices with the publication of their data, Berlin’s Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises established the Open Data Information Office (ODIS) for the Berlin city administration. This office is part of our organisation.