Worldwide cities face similar challenges. This has become even more visible through the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic situation has generated inspiring creativity and solidarity. How can we transfer innovative solutions from the pandemic to the future? How can we promote sustainable urban development for the common good?
To tackle these questions, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community initiated the international, digital ideas competition #SolutionsForCities.
CALL FOR SOLUTIONS
The global Call for Solutions was open from from October 28th to November 9th. Research institutes, cities, startups or simply a bright minds that already developed a digital solution have been submitting digital solutions for the challenges cities are facing on our platform http://www.solutionsforcities.de.
AREAS OF ACTION
Participating cities search digital solutions for their local challenges in 6 Areas of Action:
Digital Solutions for Social Cohesion
The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant social impacts in cities. While the pandemic has driven many people into precarious living conditions, it has also strengthened solidarity and social cohesion in society. Nevertheless, municipalities in urban and rural areas are affected differently. Digital solutions geared towards the common good can support a municipality’s ability to act by fostering the exchange of information and ideas with people and other municipalities. They can facilitate access to affordable housing and to cultural and educational facilities, thus strengthen a socially just and liveable city.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting need for social distancing pose a challenge to municipalities: they need to restrict access on the one hand and create new forms of access on the other. An open and inclusive city ensures access to public space and services. This requires both digital and analogue formats. Digital solutions help forge links between the analogue and virtual city, thus enabling it to be experienced in a new way. They can promote equal and non-discriminatory access to urban space, help to overcome physical distance and guarantee contact between municipal authorities and civil society. To ensure that no one is left behind and to overcome barriers to access, low-threshold solutions are required for different target groups.
Digital Solutions for Vibrant Urban & Local Centres
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirements for decentralised economic development have changed significantly as a result of competing online trade and digital modes of delivery. Local authorities require innovative solutions to improve the economic conditions in coordination with local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to strengthen their ability to act and to encourage the collaborative organisation of local trade. Another goal is to identify, create and stimulate new groups of stakeholders to create integrated and multi-functional, yet modified concepts of urban development. In situations of crisis, digital solutions can support municipalities and SMEs in enhancing their process efficiency and in identifying funding opportunities and new target groups and allies.
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the modal split in cities. In order to maintain sustainable integrated urban development in times of lockdown or with an increase in mobile working, there is a growing focus on the concept of the compact city of short distances. However, the objective is still to ensure free choice of means of transport and accessibility for all. To this end, the basic requirements have changed, especially for public and non-motorised (local) transport. Cities need innovative solutions for the provision of essential mobility services, such as maintaining social distance in vehicles or ensuring the safety of employees in public (local) transport. Concepts for the collection of real-time data for adaptive traffic management play just as important a role as regaining passenger confidence in public transport and increasing the attractiveness of non-motorised transport.
The occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed structural and systemic weaknesses and provided a chance to learn from the impacts in order to increase urban resilience. Cities and municipalities are at a crossroads and must determine whether the crisis will be a boost or a brake in sustainable urban development. To ensure that they can respond appropriately, innovative solutions are needed to make our urban environment climate-friendly, greener, safer and healthier. Informed decision-making and environmental justice is necessary in order to build back better and to strengthen urban resilience.
The Covid-19 pandemic requires existing working methods to be revised flexibly and digital tools to be learnt and used within a short time. This includes switching to digital collaboration at work and to digital meetings in people’s private lives. In many places, the appropriate infrastructure and basic digital skills are lacking. Digital competence building is therefore essential to improve and consolidate the digital skills and readiness of municipal administrations and civil society.
Out of all the solutions submitted, the challenge owning cities will then choose their preferred solutions. In a Scalathon, solution providers will be matched with the challenge-owning cities. Within three days, from November 23rd to 25th, you will closely work together with the city, refine your solution, adapt and scale it to the specific local context.
The following Strategic Criteria for Digital Urban Solutions are the benchmark for the selection of the teams during the scalathon and the selection of the winning teams . The criteria serve as an orientation framework fostering sustainability and the common good.
Worldwide cities face similar challenges. This has become even more visible through the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The international, digital ideas competition #SolutionsForCities provides a platform to match current urban challenges with creative digital solutions. It promotes sustainable urban development for the common good and supports cities in tackling their challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Call for Solutions will be launched on 28.10.2020 at the Smart Country Convention 2020. Until 09.11.2020, digital solutions can be submitted. In a Scalathon, from 23. – 25.11.2020, solution providers and cities will be matched to form teams. Within a three-day virtual workshop, they will closely work together, refine the digital solution, adapt and scale it to the specific local context. At the beginning of December 2020, the teams will present their final results in an online event.
The participating cities are international and national partner cities of the Division Smart Cities of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. These are Bamberg, Kaiserslautern, Kassel, Süderbrarup and Wolfsburg from Germany, as well as Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Kochi from India, Guadalajara from Mexico, Fortaleza from Brazil and Miraflores from Peru.
From 28.10.2020 to 09.11.2020, research institutes, cities, startups or simply bright minds from civil society who have already developed a digital solution are invited to submit their digital solution as an answer to the urban challenges.
A panel of urban development experts, as well as experts from the IT sector and the field of international cooperation evaluate the submitted solutions in an initial selection process. The challenge-owning cities will then choose their preferred solutions from the proposed selection of pre-evaluated submissions.
Submitted solutions in the competition will be evaluated according to the Criteria for Digital Urban Solutions (see above). They represent the benchmark for the selection of the winning teams and serve as an orientation framework fostering sustainability and the common good. Final decisions of winning teams will be made by a high-profile jury, which will be announced soon.
By participating in the #Solutionsforcities competition, you help cities in finding innovative digital solutions to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and plan for the post-pandemic city. It offers new networking possibilities with cities and opens opportunities for further cooperation in the future. Furthermore, you will gain visibility and recognition in the international Smart City context.
The financing of a possible implementation of selected solutions lies within the competence of the challenge-owning cities and municipalities. In Germany, these are the model projects Smart Cities, which are financially and strategically supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, the International Smart Cities Network will finance the implementation of one selected digital solution in an international, challenge-owning partner city.
#SolutionsForCities addresses cities and municipalities worldwide which are all currently facing similar challenges. In order to promote networked cooperation and facilitate international exchange, the competition will be held in English.
Your solution will be screened by a panel of urban development specialists, as well as experts from the IT sector and the field of international cooperation. The panel will evaluate the submitted solutions in an initial selection process. The challenge-owning cities will then choose their preferred solutions from the proposed selection of pre-evaluated submissions.
If the city chooses you as matching partner, the #SolutionsForCities team will reach out to you via email to explore if a collaboration has potential. If both, you and the city agree to collaborate, you will be invited to participate as a team together with the city in the online Scalathon from November 23rd to 25th. Within this three-day online format, you will closely work together with the city, refine the digital solution, adapt and scale it to the specific local context. As spots are limited we can only guarantee the participation of one solution provider per city challenge in the Scalathon.