Berlin named a smart city model project!

The start of a new smart city strategy

As part of the "Smart Cities Model Projects" programme, Berlin is developing a new, ambitious smart city strategy with a focus on participation, people and social good. The strategy intentionally takes a step away from a purely technological focus and moves instead toward a focus on co-design and inclusion; as part of this approach, the strategy includes active dialogue with Berlin's diverse urban society.

With this idea, Berlin successfully applied to be a Smart City model project (through a funding program from the Federal Ministry of the Interior) and now has the chance to implement this vision for a smart city in the coming years.

On behalf of the Senate Chancellery, we are coordinating and supporting this wide-ranging project in several phases. Over the past year, we have executed a number of exciting projects together with various partners and the broader Berlin community. We'll be incorporating the experiences we've gathered through these projects into the new Smart City strategy.

About the process:

In the concept phase (02/2021 - 05/2021), we'll work on developing a vision of the future that includes framework conditions, guiding ideas, principles and overarching objectives for the Smart City Berlin. This phase will involve various stakeholders from multiple different sectors. We'll try to answer questions like: What visions do Berliners have for their city? What do the private sector and civil society need in order to help shape the Smart City? What does the city administration want? How can we ensure the voices of so-called "silent groups" are heard? What insights can science provide us? Through various formats such as interviews, workshops, online participation and a symposium, we'll ensure a broad spectrum of opinions is involved in drafting future visions for a Smart City Berlin.

In the subsequent elaboration phase (08/2021 - 05/2022), we'll develop a strategy based on the vision for the future that will have been created in the preceding phase.

This will be followed by the implementation phase from January 2022 through the end of 2026. In this phase, the smart city strategy will be tested and implemented through concrete measures and projects. This will begin with five implementation projects, which will be financed from the model project's funds.

A detailed overview of the Smart City Strategy process can also be found in our Notion.

In order to act as transparently as possible and to give you a clearer picture of what is happening in the process, here is an overview of the steps and results so far, including opportunities to participate.

What's happening in the coming period:

  • Integration of the feedback

    The feedback provided by the urban community in the online commentary is currently being incorporated into the strategic framework, which will then go to the Senate and the House of Representatives and form the basis for the development of the Smart City Strategy.

What has happened so far:
  • 28.04. - 08.05.2021

    Online commenting

    Based on your ideas and opinions, we have formulated a strategic framework for a Smart City Berlin. All are invited to comment on the framework at (the city government’s participation platform). We’re looking forward to your feedback!

    Go to

  • 31.03. - 28.04.2021

    Evaluation and writing phase

    Through workshops, interviews and surveys with a wide range of groups, we were able to gather insights into a broad spectrum of perspectives on the future of Berlin. During this process, we placed a particular emphasis on identifying and reaching out to the relevant city actors and target groups whose voices were particularly important to hear in this process and tailoring our outreach to their specific needs and circumstances. Our goal here was to ensure that all target groups and city actors – “silent” groups that are seldom heard from in participation processes, city administration, business, science and civil society – were not only heard, but also addressed in a way fitting for their needs and interests. This was a priority for us, because our intent is for the entire Smart City process to be as open as possible and to integrate as many diverse perspectives as possible.

    The numbers: More than 1600 people participated in online surveys on the Smart City Berlin Strategic Framework, and more than 250 stakeholders from civil society, Berlin's business community and administration participated in various workshops. In total, we conducted 35 interviews with both administrative leaders (10) and so-called silent groups (25). We also organized a scientific symposium that drew more than 360 experts and participants.

    The openness of these formats allowed us to include many different perspectives in the process. However, these responses are not intended to be representative.

    In the next step, the results will be assessed, sorted and documented in writing. Based on these results, we’ll draft a first version of the strategic framework, which will be available for comment on starting on 28 April.

  • 15.03. - 31.03.2021

    Online participation for all Berliners on

    Berliners from all walks of life will have the chance to share their opinions on the smart city process through online surveys and the platform. The survey will be available in five different languages.

  • 15.03. - 25.03.2021

    Workshops with the private sector

    As part of the participation process, we're organizing workshops with representatives of Berlin's business community in order to involve various companies, start-ups and associations in the development of the strategic framework. The workshops are organised by Urban Impact in cooperation with Berlin Partner for Business and Technology.

  • 16.03. - 24.03.2021

    Workshops with the administration

    In addition to the interviews with managers, various workshops will be organised for employees of the Berlin city administration. From district governments to the senate departments to subordinate authorities: all administrative perspectives are sought here.

  • 17.03. - 25.03.2021

    Workshops with civil society

    Based on the application responses to the Call for Civil Society Engagement, ten civil society organisations will be selected to run workshops. These workshops will take place in March and are intended to involve various civil society networks.

  • 23. & 24.3.2021

    International Smart City Symposium "Redefining the Smart City" - Online event on in English

    This symposium, jointly organised with the Berlin Senate Chancellery and the Centre for Digital Governance at the Hertie School, will provide an overview of the current state of research on smart cities.

    The event offers everyone interested in smart cities a forum for listening, learning, presenting and discussing current research, strategies and success stories.

    Go to event

  • 25.03.2021

    Workshop with students

    CityLAB Berlin will invite students to contribute ideas and thoughts in a workshop. Because the future of our city concerns us all. This workshop on 25 March is aimed specifically at students from Berlin universities to hear their perspectives on the Smart City.

    Go to event

  • 15.02. - 24.02.2021

    Call for Society Engagement

    With our Call for Civil Society Engagement, we invite civil society groups to organise their own online workshops to develop and contribute their visions and wishes for a Smart City Berlin. Ten organisations representing different stakeholders will be selected to develop visions for the future with the conceptual and financial support of CityLAB.

    Call for Society Engagement

  • 14.02. - 07.03.2021

    Interviews with politics and administration

    Various interviews are conducted with politicians and civil servants. The following groups are addressed here:

    – Executives
    – Administrative innovators
    – Senate and district administrations
    – Subordinate authorities

  • 31.01. - 25.02.2021

    Interviews with silent groups

    The participation phase kicks off with interviews with so-called silent groups.

    We understand silent groups as social groups that, for a variety of reasons, are usually not heard from in participation processes or are insufficiently represented. These groups therefore need targeted outreach. They need formats that are easily accessible, build trust and are oriented towards the concrete interests of the individual actors.

    Though it is of course difficult generalize entire groups as "silent", the following groups were identified in the context of the Smart City participation process as groups that should be explicitly addressed in the early phase of participation:

    – People from a refugee background
    – People with disabilities
    – People who are discriminated against because of their country of origin or sexuality
    – Children and adolescents
    – People without a stable living situation

  • 23.08.2020

    Appointment of advisory board

    The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, establishes a Smart City Strategy Advisory Board and appoints its members. The advisory board, which consists of different experts representing academia, the private sector, the public sector, and civil society will accompany the development of the strategy as an advisory body and provide impulses.

    The appointment of the advisory board is a first step towards involving the city society in the future development of digital infrastructure and exemplary pilot projects.

    Read more

  • 08.09.2020

    Confirmation of Funding

    The state of Berlin receives the funding for their proposal and thus a mandate to develop a new smart city strategy and generate five implementation projects. The funding will provide the state of Berlin with around 6 million euros over 7 years, plus further funding from the Federal Ministry of the Interior amounting to around 11 million euros. (Press release)

  • 05.2020

    Submission of application

    Berlin submits its application for the "Smart City Model Project" funding program from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The motto of the funding round is "Common good and networked city/urban network".