To address the opportunities and challenges of digitalization for urban development, the German government established the Smart Cities dialogue platform in 2016. Its objective is to shape the digital transformation in the municipalities in a sustainable way and in the sense of integrated urban development. In November 2019, the second phase of the National Dialogue Platform Smart Cities was launched.
The dialogue platform comprises around 70 experts from cities, districts and municipalities, as well as municipal umbrella associations, federal states and departments, scientific organizations, business, professional and societal associations, as well as the civil society. These entities developed a mutual understanding of values and goals for smart cities comprised in the Smart City Charter. Looking at risks and opportunities, the platform elaborated guidelines and recommendations for action supporting its members in their implementation.
Smart City Charter
With the Smart City Charter, the Dialogue Platform in 2017 presented guidelines and recommendations on how to design the digital transformation in the municipalities in a sustainable manner and in the sense of integrated urban development. The orientation along the lines of the Charter should enable local authorities to actively and purposefully shape digitization.
The dialogue platform now accompanies the implementation and further development of the Charter and draws up more detailed guidelines on data strategies for urban development.
Research Cluster Smart Cities
The Federal Government has set up the Smart Cities research cluster at the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) to investigate the specific relationship between digitisation and urban development.
The Smart Cities research cluster aims to understand the effects of the digitisation of society on urban development, to make methods and instruments from digitisation and big data research usable for urban development, to rethink fields of action of urban development policy with the knowledge of digitisation and, together with practice partners from cities and municipalities as well as the economy, to develop recommendations that can help municipalities on their way towards the digital city of the future. In addition to the topics of urban governance, urban economy, big data and the digital divide, questions of urban transport, online trade, eParticipation and new forms of knowledge acquisition and processing are analysed. Results of the studies are also incorporated into the discussions of the Smart Cities dialogue platform.