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Model Projects Smart Cities

The 73 federally funded Model Projects Smart Cities are experimental sites for integrated urban development. The aim of the programme is to enable municipalities in Germany to explore a variety of practical solutions in order to drive forward smart city development in Germany nationwide.

Smart Cities made in Germany

Model Projects  Smart Cities

Digitisation is shaping all our lives, and the structure of our cities and municipalities is also significantly affected by it. Citizens, business, science and administration must shape this fundamental transformation together. 

With the Model Projects Smart Cities, the Federal Government, together with the KfW banking group, has been promoting a strategic approach to the diverse opportunities and challenges that digitisation poses for urban development since 2019. 

The basis for this is the Smart City Charter of the National Dialogue Platform Smart Cities. The model projects are intended to show how the qualities of the European city can be translated in the age of digitisation.


Diverse Requirements, Similar Tasks

Gruppenbild, von oben fotografiert, aus dem Saal vom MPSC-Kongress Hamburg
Representatives of the Smart Cities model projects at the MPSC Congress in Hamburg in May 2023. DLR

The German government is currently funding 73 Model Projects Smart Cities (MPSC), which have been selected in three phases since 2019, with a total of 820 million euros. In line with the Smart City Charter, the model projects show how the qualities of the European city can be transferred to the age of digitalisation. Together with the entire urban society, they are shaping liveable and lovable cities and regions that focus on people's needs. The Model Projects Smart Cities use digitalisation to develop solutions for dealing with climate change, for example, or use it to improve municipal processes and services. In doing so, they deal responsibly with the risks of digital change.

The 73 funded Model Projects Smart Cities include large cities such as Leipzig and Cologne, medium-sized cities such as Bamberg and Jena, as well as small towns and rural communities.

Despite different regional conditions, local authorities often face similar challenges: Digital instruments for dealing with climate change or upgrading city centres with new digital offerings are in demand. At the same time, the necessary technical infrastructure for the smart city is required - for example, the development of urban data platforms. There are also methodological issues, such as how the impact of individual behaviour can be measured so that adjustments can be made if necessary. 


What Does the Model Projects Smart Cities Characterise?

The Smart City Guideline: The Public Interest of Urban Society

Integrated, networked and aimed towards the common good: This is the focus of all Model Projects Smart Cities with their digitisation ideas. In order to identify local concerns and public interests in the best possible way, a strategic and participatory approach to digitisation is needed. For this reason, we do not promote individual, sectoral digitisation projects, but smart strategies that involve everyone. We rely on the problem-solving capacity of integrated approaches and activities that involve citizens and businesses alike - even those who are not digitally savvy.


Resilience, Digital Sovereignty and Sustainability

The Model Projects Smart Cities also contribute to digital sovereignty and more resilient municipalities. Thanks to the "open source requirement" anchored in the programme, the solutions developed are independent of specific providers and can also be used by other municipalities. Ultimately, the aim is to derive needs-based solutions for all municipalities in Germany and to expand the network of Model Projects Smart Cities into a self-learning system throughout Germany.


Actively Developing Topics and Solutions

The Model Projects Smart Cities also focus on developing sustainable operator models for digital solutions or infrastructures. Various solutions are being explored, such as client models in which one municipality uses the existing service and operating structures of another municipality to operate a digital urban data platform, for example.

In eight working and development communities (AEGs), the Model Projects Smart Cities are further developing topics and solutions across all projects. The eight AEGs (City Apps, Open Source, Smart Regions, Urban Data Platforms, Urban Digital Twins, Climate Adaptation and Resilience, Spatial Impact of Digitalisation and Monitoring and Impact Measurement) form lively networks that support each other and learn from each other - initially within the community of the Model Projects Smart Cities, and in the long term beyond. Ultimately, all 11,000 municipalities in Germany should benefit from the experiences of the Model Projects Smart Cities and their results.


Central knowledge transfer for model projects 

Intensive exchange and cooperation between municipalities: In this way, many people can benefit from the experience of individuals. Good approaches are made feasible, and everyone learns together from successes and failures. To this end, there is a constant exchange of experience both within the model project community and with non-funded municipalities. This exchange not only includes processes, methods and strategies, but also access to promoted open source or free software solutions. The Model Projects Smart Cities promote digitisation at the local level in terms of integrated sustainable urban development. Funded by the federal government, they develop Smart City strategies and implement them together with local stakeholders and networks.


All Municipalities in Germany Should Benefit

The Coordination and Transfer Office Model Projects Smart Cities (KTS) set up by the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) provides substantial support for the process: it structures the transfer of knowledge between the Model Projects Smart Cities and beyond. The accompanying research coordinated by the KTS also focuses on opportunities, risks and trends in urban development and digitalisation.

The Start Smart format, nationwide regional conferences and appearances at trade fairs and other events, is intended to enable non-funded municipalities to develop and implement their own smart city strategies and measures. The Model Projects Smart Cities are also driving forward the transfer of knowledge on a broad scale on their own initiative. This creates a self-learning innovation system for local authorities that can survive long after the federal funding has ended.

Model Projects Smart Cities …

Hand mit Puzzle-Teilen

… use the opportunities provided by digitisation and link them to the requirements of integrated urban development and the model of the sustainable European city.

Hand mit Glühbirne

... use a two-phase approach: First, cross-sectoral spatial smart city strategies are developed in a participatory process, then customised measures and projects are implemented according to local goals.

Bild mit Rahmen

... follow the normative guidelines defined under the Smart City Charter of the National Dialogue Platform Smart Cities, which focuses on people and the common good.

Hand mit Fenster

... can be used as diverse learning examples whose findings and results are transferred to all municipalities as part of a comprehensive knowledge transfer.

Selected Publications