Fields of action

The strategy Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin is designed as an enabling strategy that promotes new forms of collaboration inside and outside the administration. For this purpose it formulates fields of action. These are deliberately chosen to be interdepartmental: they do not fall under the responsibility of a single departmental administration. They are compatible with various specific strategies and measures [18], reinforcing the latter’s effectiveness. Through the fields of action therefore, the strategy also supports existing specific objectives rather than reformulating them. Here, BerlinStrategie 3.0 [19] was taken as a basis.

The fields of action were developed iteratively based on the needs described in the Grünbuch zur Digitalstrategie [20] and those identified in the participation process with the urban community. They address a fundamental question of urban transformation in different ways: how can new processes and technologies help achieve desired changes more effectively, more quickly and more in line with needs?

Graphic showing the values compass and four main concepts: Regenerative management; inclusive shaping of urban life; future opportunities for all; facilitative administration

... based on the values compass

The fields of action show what the urban community would like to achieve by tapping into the potential of digitalization, technology and new methods in connection with the development of Berlin. Also, challenges and limits are indicated where the use of digitalization and technologies is not in the interests of the urban community. This might be the case where this would restrict residents’ privacy or primarily serve individual interests, for example, or where digital processes do not offer any improvement in terms of synergies, quality of life, or efficiency. The fields of action define the space for measures that tangibly strengthen the common good, sustainability, cooperation and resilience. They take effect at different spatial levels – neighborhood, Berlin-wide, trans-regional.
Graphic showing the different levels of spatial impacts: diverse, livable neighborhoods; accessible urban space; (supra-)regional networking

Spatial impact

The dovetailing of digital and physical spaces leads to changes at various levels of the urban space. While the GD:B fields of action define the content framework for the measures, the participation process identified three spatial levels at which the activities of the strategy can have different effects. At the neighborhood level, possible effects can be seen in an improvement in the immediate quality of life and better networking within the neighborhood, for example.

At the level of the city as a whole, positive effects in Berlin include the improvement of mobility and infrastructure services in line with needs, as well as the transformation and use of public spaces in a community-oriented way. Last but not least, (supra-)regional networking is also gaining in importance in terms of cooperative, learning urban development.

  • Diverse, livable neighborhoods

    In Berlin there is no one center but numerous small districts and neighborhoods in which Berlin residents spend their day-to-day lives and pursue all essential activities. GD:B activities strengthen life in the immediate surroundings of all Berlin residents, both in the city center and in the outer districts, thereby contributing to the implementation of the 15-minute city* for everyone.[21]

    At the neighborhood level, the measures therefore make a contribution in that people are to find a livable, diverse and safe environment on their doorstep. Neighborhoods are strengthened as places of cooperation and innovation for sustainable and inclusive urban development. Developments promote local involvement and self-efficacy among residents.

    To this end, the goals of sustainable urban development are taken up in the various fields of action and further developed using digital means. In this way, neighborhoods become local spaces for interaction and innovation. This approach of an engaged city seeks to strengthen local autonomy and agility on a small scale, while remaining compatible with larger structures such as the districts, state or region. This is because solutions to global challenges can be tried out and validated on a small scale, especially when digital infrastructures enable quick and easy comparison with other local projects. The next step is to scale up successful approaches in other districts, in the city-wide or on a (supra-)regional basis.

  • Accessible urban space

    The use of data as a possible information basis for decision-making processes in the context of urban development policy offers an opportunity to uncover inequalities in the distribution of financial resources, environmental pollution, and urban potential, thereby helping to make Berlin more inclusive at the city-wide level.[22] This applies to all approaches that conceptually combine issues such as housing, mobility and urban greenery, for example. While local test sites can be useful in many fields of action, a city-wide approach to smart infrastructure and climate adaptation makes sense in order to work towards a city for all.

    The fields of action provide an opportunity at the city-wide level to change processes and bring together actors who have so far acted separately, for example so as to make mobility services more flexible and bring them more into line with needs. Openly accessible, interoperable databases support a systemic view of complex interrelationships, enabling participation and needs-oriented management of measures. Working jointly and within a network, it is possible to find suitable responses to extreme weather, water shortages and pollutant concentrations in Berlin’s conditions, e.g. based on concepts such as that of the sponge city*.

  • (Supra-)regional networking

    GD:B aims to strengthen the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. For this reason, GD:B’s activities include close cooperation with the state of Brandenburg at the ministerial level, with individual municipalities (such as the Smart Cities model municipalities) and with other actors in Brandenburg. Due to close interdependencies and commuter links, it makes sense to collaborate and network in the various fields of action. This can contribute to greater flexibility in the choice of where to live and work available to all population groups, for example, resulting in a reduction in traffic. Regional networking not only solves acute problems such as the use of mutual aid in disaster situations, it also promotes the development of an innovative ecosystem in the long term. This also reinforces the underlying principles of the Strategischer Gesamtrahmen Hauptstadtregion (“Overall strategic framework for the capital region”)[23].

To the fields of action

  • Regenerative management

  • Future opportunities for all

  • Inclusive shaping of urban life

  • Facilitative administration

… the fields of action with the example of the Smart Water measure

The Smart Water measure primarily contributes to the field of action Promote regeneration of natural resources locally, for example by using rainwater to replenish the groundwater and supply green spaces. Since awareness is to be raised among citizens in his area, participatory governance and participation also have a key role to play here. Likewise, the measure has an impact on the field of action Establish effective (administrative) processes and tools for implementing projects, since it establishes procedures for effective cooperation between several administrations and urban actors.

Spatial impact of the Smart Water measure: Rainwater management potentially impacts on new and existing housing developments. For example, areas for infiltration of roof or surface water have to be planned in new housing developments or newly created on existing development sites, for example in the form of additional green spaces in streets or on private land based on agreements.

  • References

    [18] BerlinStrategie 3.0, the conceptual superstructure for the further development of the city of Berlin, which was adopted in 2021. Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin. Senatskanzlei (2021).

    [19] Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin. Senatskanzlei (2021). BerlinStrategie 3.0. Available online: https://www.berlin.de/rbmskzl/_assets/politik/berlin-strategie-3-0-langfassung.pdf

    [20] ​Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Energie und Betriebe (2020).

    [21] Berlin’s urban development plans (StEP) and the Berlin land use plan offer points of departure here. See: Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung, Bauen und Wohnen (2022). Planung. Available online: https://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/planen/planung/index.shtml

    [22] One example of this is the Berlin Umweltgerechtigkeitsatlas (“Environmental Justice Atlas”), which provides a neighborhood-by-neighborhood account of environmental impacts related to social disadvantage. See: Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Mobilität, Verbraucher- und Klimaschutz (2022). Umweltgerechtigkeit. Available online: https://www.berlin.de/sen/uvk/umwelt/nachhaltigkeit/umweltgerechtigkeit

    [23] Länder Berlin und Brandenburg (2021). Überlegungen zu einem Strategischen Gesamtrahmen (2021). Available online: https://www.berlin-brandenburg.de/zusammenarbeit/strategischer-gesamtrahmen

Strategy Chapters

  • Why Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin?

  • Values Compass: How do we shape Berlin as a digital city?

  • Fields of Action: What does the city need?

  • Measures: How can we realise Berlin as a digital city?

  • Governance: How do we work together?

  • Implementation: What tools do we need?

  • Impact measurement: How do we stay on track?

  • Overview of Strategy

You can find these and other contents in the Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin strategy paper.

Download it here (in German): Strategie Gemeinsam Digital Berlin

Click here for the appendix (in German): Anhang zur Strategie