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.
The ideas competition supported cities and municipalities in finding digital solutions for their current local challenges. Representatives of the Smart Cities model projects from Bamberg, Kaiserslautern, Kassel, Süderbrarup and Wolfsburg participated in the competition. From the International Smart Cities Network, the cities of Guadalajara from Mexico, Miraflores from Peru, Fortaleza from Brazil, and Kochi, Coimbatore and Bhubaneshwar from India took part. Through internationally networked cooperation, insights from the pandemic period were applied for an urban development oriented towards the common good.
Areas of Action
Challenges & Solutions
Keeping in touch during times of social distancing
Kaiserslautern & Wolfsburg, Germany
Hello Again by Capalogic GmbH from Wolfsburg, Germany
Easy-to-use video communication app adapted to the needs of the elderly that can be managed remotely by relatives. The team received the award „Best Digital Solution for Social Cohesion“.
Empower digital literacy to increase participation
Amt Süderbrarup, Germany
WeCreate Süderbrarup by WeCreate from Leipzig, Germany
Providing a digital interface for engagement, networking and project management, which builds on offered analog workshops and networking events. The team received the award „Best Digital Solution for Access“.
Empowering urban dwellers to harness green space benefits and overcome access barriers
safergreen by zora – Zozmann & Karutz GbR from Leipzig, Germany and Red Dot Foundation Global from Columbia, USA
Easy-to-use information and warning app that provides citizens with details about the location, condition, and visitor traffic of green spaces and playgrounds. Citizens can submit alerts about the safety situation and required maintenance, which will benefit user-centric greenspace management.
Holistic and sustainable citizen participation
Smart Kassel – fits together by Civocracy B.V. from Berlin, Germany
Implementing a digital participation platform to complement a holistic strategy of on- and offline participation, dedicated communication strategies and targeted stakeholder involvement around the topic of Smart City.
Strengthening the local market
Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Mexico
Online Market Solution “Mi Mercado AMG” by Kampala Capital City Authority from Kampala, Uganda
The online sales platform enables local retailers to offer their products even during the pandemic. A sustainable delivery service guarantees the population to avoid physical contact. The team received the award „Best Digital Solution for Vibrant Urban & Local Centres.
Efficiently manage overcrowded public spaces (sidewalks, parks etc.) by people and micro-mobility vehicles to improve infrastructure demands
PIMUS Plattform for Citizen Proposal Digital Inventory and CaminAPP by Municipalities Tecate & Tijuana and the federal state Baja California from Mexico
Citizen have the opportunity to report problems, such as overcrowded squares or run-down streets, and suggest possible solutions to the city administration. In this way, citizens, experts and the city administration can work together on solutions. The team received the award „Best Digital Solution for Mobility“.
Optimizing the use of parking for residents and commuters to improve the quality of life
Cityparking.io by Life is Hard S.A. from Cluj-Napoca, Romania
The mobile app provides real-time data on the current parking situation and offers live navigation. A dedicated dashboard allows the municipality to access data and statistics on parking usage.
Avoid overcrowding in highly frequented, touristic areas
Smart Tourism – A Data and Services Platform 4 Citizens by Engineering DSS GmbH from Düsseldorf, Germany, based on the Open Source Plattform of FIWARE
The number of pedestrians at certain public spaces in Bamberg is detected by sensors and displayed in real time via an app and public display boards. Visitors can be guided to points of interest (PoI) via a navigation service. The team received the award „Best Digital Solution for Resilience“.
Developing a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Indicator Dashboard
SDG dashboard and statistics Platform by Polyteia GmbH from Berlin, Germany
The digital platform fosters evidence-based decision-making for Bamberg’s citizens and monitors the city’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The solution relies on data from automated interfaces of legacy systems, data-input masks, or publicly available data sources and visualize it in different modules.
Using insights on the COVID-19 situation for evidence-based decision making
Uptown Contact Trace – by Coherence Systems and Silicon Harlem from New York City, USA
A unified system designed to empower contact tracers to collect and deliver secure anonymous data. It provides a safe, secure, data framework that improves collection and dissemination of data between public health and social services agencies.
Mitigation of adverse impact of disaster risk and pollution on the long-term growth potential of coastal areas
From Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to Sustainable Growth by Digitalization by SEE NOW Consulting UG from Hilden, Germany, HESOTECH GmbH from Diez, Germany, Fintech Exaloan AG from Frankfurt, Germany, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research from Leipzig, Germany and Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC), from Kala Lumpur, Malaysia
A transdisciplinary urban resilience system improving stakeholders’ decision-making process by aggregated data and data driven forecasting models, along with an automated funding infrastructure for PPP financing, investments, and sustainable economic growth.
Fostering digital competencies of city officials
The city used the Scalathon to further specify its challenge and formulate next steps. It is intented to design a self-learning platform to promote digital competence for municipal administrative employees.
The following criteria presented the basis for selection of submitted solutions as well as for assessing the results of the scalathon. They ensure a sustainable, digital transformation oriented towards the common good.
Strenghten the Sense of community
- Foster identification with neighbourhoods and strengthen public spaces
- Contribute to an enhanced quality of life
- Enhance social cohesion and foster solidarity
Foster citizen participation, inclusion and open innovation
- Start by understanding the needs of people
- Follow a human-centred approach by developing for and with people
- Create user friendly and barrier-free solutions in order to foster inclusio
Contribute to urban development goals
- Provide tailor-made solutions in response to local needs
- Embed solutions in existing and/or future urban development processes
- Promote cross-sectoral approaches in accordance with integrated urban development
Improve municipal services
- Follow responsive, sensitive and agile approaches
- Foster digital capacity development
- Enhance the municipality’s ability to act and reach out to the people
Promote green and healthy cities
- Strengthen environmental awareness and empower local bottom-up environmental action
- Strive for carbon-neutral, resource-friendly and climate-resilient cities
- Promote urban health
Strenghten the local economy and digital ecosystem
- Foster and collaborate with the existing digital ecosystem
- Connect local economic actors and enhance collaboration
- Consider supply chains and commodity flows on different levels to enhance local provision
Address privacy and security
- Follow the standards of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Safeguard cyber security standards and provide urban practitioners guidance on responsible data management
- Raise general awareness among citizens about the implications of data sharing through online services
Design for scalability, adaptability and transferability
- Build on and refine existing knowledge
- Prioritise and publish open source codes roles and competencies
- Prioritise and publish open standards