Values Compass for Berlin as a digital city

The graphic shows a compass on the outline of Berlin and the words community-oriented, resilient, cooperative and sustainanble around it.

Which values form the basis for the strategy?

The values of Berlin’s urban community form the basis for the orientation of the strategy Gemeinsam Digital: Berlin. They were developed in 2021/2022 by way of a comprehensive, multi-stage participatory process [13]. The question of how Berlin residents envision a “livable city for all” was taken as a starting point, alongside established approaches such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals *[14](SDGs) and the donut model [15]. The four guiding principles that emerged are described below: these form the basis of the Values Compass for implementing the strategy. They are the guiding principles underlying all GD:B activities.
  • The sustainable city

    The basic requirement for a sustainable city is the protection of its resources and natural basis of existence so that future generations will continue to enjoy an intact and livable environment. Achieving sustainability is a cross-sectional task that concerns all policy areas of the Berlin Senate. For its realization, digitalization must be used with the inclusion of local, regional and global perspectives: this involves reducing urban emissions, resource consumption, and the acceleration of transformation processes in the areas of electricity, heat, food and mobility, and lastly – and importantly – the sustainable development and promotion of economic ecosystems that favor innovative and future-proof business models. In doing so, technology itself must be made sustainable, while data-driven action and artificial intelligence* (AI) are to be used sensibly and free of the risk of discrimination for the sustainable development of the city. Gender aspects must always be taken into account when implementing climate protection measures.

  • The community-oriented city

    In the smart city, all Berlin residents should have equal access to services of general interest, infrastructure and resources, and be able to actively contribute to their maintenance. The use of technology must serve the good of the city and its residents, not individual interests. In the desired expansion of a freely accessible digital and low-threshold infrastructure, in addition to the provision of public offerings and open data in connection with the digital transformation of the city, special consideration is to be given to ethical aspects, security, solidarity, digital and physical accessibility, gender equality, and social justice at the local and global level. Social security, high-quality education and comprehensive participation in social life are to be advanced with the help of digital public services for all Berlin residents in line with their needs. This can also serve Berlin’s economic development and the development of new business models.

  • The resilient city

    In future, urban infrastructures and supply chains are to be designed with foresight to ensure both reliable operations and basic services for the city. The implementation of GD:B will help deal with crisis situations in a robust and adaptive way – in other words: with resilience. In order to achieve this, conventional management approaches must be improved and decision-making processes must be aligned in a crisis-proof manner with the help of intelligent systems. As part of a technology impact assessment, attention is to be paid to avoiding any existing discrimination mechanisms in the use of IT systems. Technology itself must also become more resilient and secure to ensure cybersecurity. This is supported by the fact that public IT systems are created on a modular and open-source basis and can be used independently. In order to strengthen the learning capacity and foresight of a resilient city, the learning strategy continuously assesses and takes into account new societal conditions inside and outside Berlin, also drawing on the input of experts.

  • The cooperative city

    In the implementation of GD:B, creative participation of the entire urban community is required as the basis for the participatory development of the city. Public administration provides the link between municipal institutions, residents, business, academia and civil society. In order to fulfill this mandate, the administration must do more to tap into and expand existing possibilities, develop new governance structures for cooperation and social engagement, and promote inclusion on an equal footing – including in the digital space. [17] The technologies themselves are developed in participatory processes and evaluated from the perspective of inclusion and gender sensitivity. In order to promote the cooperative city, GD:B places a special emphasis on transparency and openness.

... example measure Smart Water

The Smart Water measure is primarily oriented towards the guiding principles of the sustainable and resilient city. Sustainable use of water resources and urban greenery is promoted. The city is to become more resilient and adaptable to the impacts of the climate crisis and related extreme events in the future such as heavy rainfall.

  • References

    Please see glossary for explanations for terms marked with an asterisk*.

    [13] See Annex I: Strategy process

    [14] Engagement Global (2022). Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Available online: https://17ziele.de/ziele/1.html

    [15] Donut economics proposes an economic model based on the planetary and social limits of human activity. See: Doughnut Economics Action Lab (2022). About Doughnut Economics. Available online: https://doughnuteconomics.org/about-doughnut-economics

    [16] The guiding principles were previously formulated in a detailed version in the document Strategischer Rahmen für die Entwicklung einer neuen Smart City-Strategie (“Strategic Framework for the Development of a New Smart City Strategy”). See: Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin. Senatskanzlei (2021a)

    [17] Berlin has already committed to protecting digital rights by signing the Declaration of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights. Cities Coalition for Digital Rights (2022). Website. Available online: https://citiesfordigitalrights.org

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