Berlin smart city strategy aims to use technology and innovation to create a sustainable, livable, and connected city. The strategy common focuses on initiatives such as smart mobility, energy-efficient buildings, and digital infrastructure. Smart City Berlin is also working on a data platform that will enable it to gather and analyze data to make more informed decisions. Additionally, the city has launched several pilot projects, such as a smart parking system and a smart waste management system. Berlin’s smart city strategy is designed to improve the quality of life for its residents, reduce carbon emissions, and position the city as a leader in technology and innovation.
Berlin smart city strategy, road map, examples (strategie gemeinsam)
Berlin has a comprehensive smart city strategy that aims to use technology and innovation to make the city more livable, sustainable, and connected. Here are some examples of what has already been implemented, as well as future plans:
Smart mobility: Digital Berlin has launched several initiatives to improve mobility, including a smart parking system that uses sensors to detect available parking spaces and a digital platform that integrates public transportation and bike-sharing services. The city has also introduced electric buses and is working to create a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Energy-efficient buildings: Berlin has implemented several measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, including mandatory energy audits for large buildings and subsidies for energy-efficient renovations. The city also has a program to promote the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.
Infrastructure: Digital Berlin is investing in digital infrastructure to improve connectivity and access to technology. This includes expanding broadband internet access, developing a city-wide data platform, and promoting the use of digital technologies in education and healthcare.
Smart waste management: Berlin is implementing a smart waste management system that uses sensors to monitor trash levels in public bins and optimize waste collection routes. This will result in significant cost savings and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Water management: Berlin is working on a project called “Rain Sewer Berlin” that aims to make the city’s sewer system more efficient by capturing and storing rainwater. This will reduce the risk of flooding and improve water quality in the city’s rivers and lakes.
Berlin’s smart city strategy is designed to improve the quality of life for its residents, reduce carbon emissions, and drive economic growth. The city has already achieved several notable achievements, including:
Berlin was named the “Greenest City in Europe” by the European Union in 2019.
The city has reduced its carbon emissions by 43% compared to 1990 levels.
Berlin has been ranked as the third-best startup city in the world, after San Francisco and New York.
Berlin’s smart city roadmap includes several future plans, such as:
Implementing smart lighting systems that use sensors to adjust lighting levels based on the time of day and occupancy.
Creating a city-wide mobility platform that integrates various modes of transportation and provides real-time information to users.
Developing a digital platform for citizen participation and engagement, allowing residents to provide feedback and input on city projects and initiatives.
Berlin smart city strategy is focused on using technology and innovation to create a more sustainable, livable, and connected city. The city’s achievements so far and its ambitious plans for the future demonstrate its commitment to this goal.
Smart City Berlin, Germany
2.251 Smart Points
Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall’s graffitied remains. Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification. The city’s also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built-in 1963.
Strategic Framework for Smart City Berlin
Berlin is growing. By the year 2030, there will be 250,000 more people living in the city than there are today. 1 This will bring with it an increase in the demand for housing as well as in requirements for mobility, the adaptation of infrastructures, and the availability of resources such as water, energy, data, and building land. Like many major urban centers around the world, this means that Berlin is also facing a wide variety of challenges for the future: the growing city, the aging city, or the city in the midst of structural change all require inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental approaches if solutions are to be found. The Smart City approach aims to find solutions to the ecological, social, economic, and cultural challenges faced by Berlin through the use of intelligent technology. Berlin wishes to preserve – and as far as possible enhance – its appeal and its quality of life.
The “Berlin smart city strategy | Urban Development Concept Berlin 2030” represents the city’s own cutting-edge mission statement. The Smart City Strategy Berlin, submitted within this framework, sets out an innovative strategic policy approach aimed at serving the common good by expanding and ensuring the future sustainability of Berlin.
Smartness within the urban context
But what actually makes cities “smart” and therefore viable for the future? As Berlin sees it, cities that are viable are those which achieve a significantly higher or stable quality of life while using the same or a lower level of resources. This can only be achieved by means of urban management which, by using innovative information and communication technologies, links up various sources of information, thus allowing the creation and use of synergies, achieves a significant increase in efficiency and conservation of resources through integrated approaches, and which, in so doing, involves both citizens and investors in the shaping of the city to make it attractive, viable for the future, resilient and dedicated to the common good, thus increasing the quality of life.
Smart Berlin is, therefore, both a place to live and an economic area that develops sustainably through the systematic and inter-modal deployment of innovative technologies, materials, and services. This comprises production processes, services, and technologies as well as infrastructures which, by means of the new, “intelligent” information and communication technologies, only become viable at all because they are integrated, networked, and mutually supportive.
Inter-departmental thinking and action
In order to be able to develop and deal with these approaches and problems, it is necessary to continue and further improve the interaction between public administration, urban society, business, science and research in a way that transcends the borders between the European Union, national government, the federal states, and local authorities. To ensure the future viability of the city, life-defining areas of urban society like housing, the economy, public administration, mobility, utility infrastructure, health, and public safety have to be taken into account in a way that is properly balanced. This means that they become policy areas in which developments, problems, and challenges have to be dealt with integratively, inter-departmentally, and with a view to long-term objectives. At the center of these policy areas lies the preservation and further improvement of the quality of urban life of each and every native Berliner as well as of people who move to the city from elsewhere.
The fundamental societal questions and inter-disciplinary issues of demographic change, social integration, resource efficiency, and digitalization make such an approach inevitable. In tackling these issues, it is important not to consider the areas of action separately from one other, but rather to focus on the points at which they overlap and intersect. Because the information in a Smart City is increasingly linked up so as to enable the city to act more efficiently, the city’s public and private players have to coordinate their actions and synchronize them at an early stage. However, in the dialogue between urban society, politics and public administration, it is necessary to develop clear objectives, agree upon responsibilities, provide leadership and carry out regular reviews of the progress made so that potential mistakes and problems with implementation and their causes can be detected in good time and amended as part of an “error management culture” within the urban policy dialogue.
The goals of Smart City Berlin
As one of Europe’s major cities and a growing urban center, has set itself the following goals in its Berlin smart city strategy with the basic premise of serving the common good:
- A reduction in the use of finite resources; the establishment of the use of renewable energies; an increase in resource efficiency and the climate neutrality of Berlin by the year 2050
- Minimization of the negative side-effects of living in a densely populated urban environment, such as environmental pollution, stress-related illnesses or a diminished feeling of personal safety
- The further development of the international competitiveness of the capital city region of Berlin-Brandenburg; an increase in economic strength and the creation of jobs
- The creation of a lead market for innovative applications
- Further networking on a regional, national and international level
- A strengthening of the resilience of urban infrastructures
- The long-term securing and optimizing of public services through public administration, municipal enterprises, and social bodies
- The strengthening of a transparent decision-making culture in public administration
- An increase in the quality of life and location
- An increase in opportunities for greater social participation
The Role of Technology
The safeguarding of the inviolability and freedom of each and every citizen is the number one priority of Berlin’s Smart City strategy. Smart City Berlin is in no way overly technocentric. Instead, available technologies are deployed in such a way as to get the most use out of them while at the same time keeping them within the control of providers and consumers.
ICT for the city
Digitalization – the capturing of the active and passive features of analog processes of everyday life by means of suitable sensors and their transfer into digital information which can be further processed by electronic means – pervades almost all areas of urban life and already plays a prominent role in public administration. This process will be continued and intensified in Berlin over the next few years.
By digitalising processes which have up to now been analogue, industry, public administration and the general public will be spared time, effort and money. This will free up resources which can be used for dealing with other important tasks. Internet-based services in the leisure sector, production processes, transport and public administration will increasingly complement or entirely replace analogue services. Sensors and environment recognition systems are already increasingly taking on an intermediary role in the interaction between human beings and their environment.
The networking of pools of data and information systems opens up new lifestyle possibilities. By developing new communication media or refining existing ones, access to digital information in the future will be simpler, cheaper and more efficient. This will also mean improved possibilities for productive exchanges both between citizens themselves and between citizens and public administration. The technological basis required to reach a broad section of the general population is the multi-channel capability of the processed and communicated information.
Through the development and widespread proliferation of mobile end devices such as smartphones, the technological precondition for many different forms of support has already been fulfilled. Intelligent electronic assistance systems can link real-time data from the city’s networked information systems to citizens’ inquiries in a wide range of application areas. This process also works the other way round – citizens can use their smartphones to collect data and make it available to other members of the public, e.g. in IT-supported complaint and issue management.
Berlin’s roads are already home to a wide range of “intelligent” vehicles that share their positional and operational data with other vehicles or service provider companies. This Car2X communication makes it possible for other road users to anticipate dangerous situations or other dynamic events more effectively and quickly. This data can be combined with data platforms and made accessible to all road users. Information about traffic jams, free parking spaces, or public transport alternatives to driving, which is provided in this way, speeds up the flow of traffic.
Satellite-based navigation systems are nowadays already capable of achieving accuracy to within less than 10 meters. The Open Service offered by the European GNSS (GALILEO) boasts a precision of just a few meters. GALILEO 19 has its own separate tiers for both security-critical and government applications with higher resolutions and guaranteed availability. Navigation in areas that are inaccessible for satellites (buildings, tunnels), unmapped objects and non-map-based autonomous navigation will be used in Berlin to meet challenges faced in the field of public safety.
Intelligent electricity meters (or smart meters, as they are also known) make it possible to monitor actual energy consumption in real-time. There are similar intelligent meters for gas, water, and heat consumption. They help to optimize energy consumption and use infrastructures to the best of their capacity.
Industry 4.0, the “digital factory”, represents a new paradigm in industrial production and its logistical processes. 20 It involves a networked organization of production and a transformation of the working environment. The organization of production made possible by this in the urban environment will also be considered as a development option for Smart City Berlin. The application of innovative manufacturing processes and the use of new materials will go towards providing a further boost to industrial production in Berlin.
Over the next few years, a decisive role will be played by intelligent networks known as Smart Grids. Using new components and systems from the fields of energy, data and communication technology, it will be possible to integrate electricity grids and decentralised accumulators (electric vehicles, battery banks, power-to-heat systems). The possibility of incorporating short-term and long-term storage into energy management is becoming increasingly important, particularly as a result of the expansion of renewable, and therefore fluctuating, energy production.
Recyclable material from household waste and waste packaging will no longer be collected separately in Berlin but in a combined recycling bin. The separation into different recyclable materials will be carried out in highly efficient, sensor-controlled plants. In modern waste incineration plants, the unrecyclable residual waste is burnt to produce heat and electricity. Similarly, biogas is obtained from the accumulated organic waste. These technologies are constantly being refined and are becoming cleaner and more efficient. Smart City Berlin aims to recycle waste to generate usable materials and also heat and electricity as much as possible.
The development of LEDs has made a generation of efficient and controllable light fittings available which can be used together with sensor and control technology to fulfill all the preconditions required for the widespread deployment of intelligent lighting systems in public places by the year 2020. The function of lighting systems can also be expanded to include their use as WLAN nodes or in anomaly detection.
Another issue which will also become increasingly important will be that of open data, i.e. the free availability and modification of private and public pools of data for the provision of new services. To this end, Berlin has set up basic infrastructures and ensured that data can be processed electronically. The readily available (non-personal) data will also be made available in digital form free of charge.
Smart administration and urban society
In seeking to create a Smart City, it is absolutely vital to establish new administrative structures and modes of participation. This involves taking into account all aspects related to administration, from the core services provided by local citizens’ offices to health care and public safety. Nowadays, this means that a modern state offers its services first and foremost online. Modern administration is no longer conceivable without the use of the latest information and communication technology.
Speeding up and simplifying administrative processes
IT support makes it possible to speed up administrative processes and allows new services to be offered with a greater level of transparency and citizen-friendliness. Processes become noticeably simpler and faster, and the use of electronic processing throughout saves time and money. Measures are put in place to deal with recurring administrative services in order to be able to carry out processes with optimum efficiency (e.g. an automated alert sent out when an identity document expires). Process optimisation and automated control in closed systems of administration support human decision-making. Smart services are, thanks to unified and standardised operating concepts, simple to use, familiar, easy to find, secure and certified.
The result is a visible reduction in the effort required of citizens and businesses. To name but two examples, it becomes possible to lodge appeals against official decisions via email or to file lawsuits using qualified electronic signatures. Berlin Smart City is well aware that, as a rule, extremely sensitive processes and data are involved here. For this reason, the Berlin Senate places particular emphasis on data protection and security.
The progressive digitalisation of business processes
Many tasks (e.g. the opening of a café or restaurant) have to involve more than one of Berlin’s administration departments and therefore require complex organization. The aim of the progressive digitalization and networking of business processes within or between authorities is to minimize the amount of effort involved in joining up official processes. It should be the data that is sent from one place to another, not the public. The use and interconnection of available pools of data in administration should lead to clients and businesses being relieved of the burden of having to prove their identity each time. The harmonization and optimization of data standards, IT procedures, and business processes are the basis for this. Corresponding measures already form part of the Berlin eGovernment Strategy.
Berlin is getting its own e-government law. The law aims to establish basic e-government norms that will be able to help overcome the major obstacles created by the formal requirements of administrative law. It thus opens up the possibility of carrying out all business processes entirely electronically and offering these processes to the public and business in an easier, simpler and more cost-effective way.
The law takes previous experiences with e-government projects in Berlin into consideration. It sets out to create the preconditions required to link up all application procedures (such as for planning permission) in advance more quickly and efficiently and to design the electronic processing of each step in the process, from the submission, receipt and processing of the application data to the final decision and notification of the applicant. All of this should involve close collaboration between the administration and applicants’ representatives, such as chambers of commerce and industry, in order to achieve a high level of acceptance of the new electronic procedure on the part of both the client and the city’s administration.
In order to make smart administration a reality, the Berlin Senate, independently of the legislative proposal, has passed a resolution to adapt federal-state law with respect to e-government. The aim of this resolution is to adapt the formal requirements in the legal norms of Berlin state law to the conditions of e-government, thereby laying the foundations for the provision of smart administration services. Any obstacles to an increase in online service provision and any new technological hurdles which may arise will have to be overcome to ensure that an extension of smart administration activity is achieved.
The (online) participation of urban society
In addition to application procedures, the participation of urban society plays a crucial role in the development of Berlin. Under the e-government law, participation will be supported and extended electronically. The new platform mein.berlin.de is going online in 2015, bringing together the online supported participation procedures of all of Berlin’s administration departments in one place. The platform makes a large number of tools available that can be used in participation processes. For instance, it is possible for users to create a profile which they can then use to follow a wide range of procedures, to keep themselves informed about the progress of a debate on a particular issue or to take part in the debate themselves. In a local context, this applies to such things as monitoring the use of public money that has been set aside for local expenditure or commenting on a draft planning application that is open to public scrutiny. In a city-wide context it applies, for example, to participating in the planning for the use of the land of the former Tempelhof airport or for a climate-neutral city.
The challenge lies in further developing the discourse processes in order to build as broad a consensus as possible without hindering progress. The use of open data can support the participation of urban society. Nevertheless, care must be taken that these new forms of urban discourse-building do not undercut or devalue the democratic decision-making and voting processes which are guaranteed under constitutional law.
Unifying points of contact
In 2013, the Berlin Senate officially approved the “One Stop City Berlin 2016” program, which sets out how the relevant guidelines for government policy are to be implemented. These include combining services thematically, harmonizing business processes, and increasing the number of ways to access administrative services based on a specific issue in order to create unified points of contact for citizens and businesses. The services can be accessed in person, by post, over the telephone or via the Internet. Areas in which these approaches have been initially successful include contact points in Berlin’s local administrative and regulatory offices, points of single contact for businesses, and the 115 citizens’ hotline. All administrative services are offered, combined, and processed centrally. Successfully operating portals are being expanded. These smart services are highly individualized.
The introduction of the 115 citizens’ hotline in Berlin is part of a national initiative to establish 115 as the one-stop telephone number to reach administration agencies. The central concept behind 115 is to provide citizens with a single telephone number which they can use to access reliable information about public administration services. If a caller cannot be given immediate assistance, the matter is passed on to the relevant authority by telephone or email. In Berlin, the 115 citizens’ hotline is becoming increasingly popular. In 2014, the number of calls received in a month again doubled to more than 100,000 in comparison to the year before. The 115 citizens’ hotline has thus developed into an important factor in achieving modern, efficient and citizen-friendly administration. It is a shining example of how a citizen-friendly administration can be achieved.
A single, standardized document management system with viewable electronic files is a precondition for the functioning of e-government. Berlin’s administration has begun a phased introduction of the e-file with the aim of creating a modern, efficient, and networked working environment for all Berlin administration staff in the future.
Open data Berlin smart city strategy
A further element of a modern, citizen-friendly administration is a free access to selected data held by Berlin’s public authorities (open data). Access to data and information held by Berlin’s administration and their further use is provided centrally via a portal ( www.daten.berlin.de) in which over 800 data sets are already currently available. For example, a large amount of geographical data relating to the Federal State of Berlin has been made available online free of charge and unconditionally since October 2013 (Geoportal Berlin ). Data protection is guaranteed just as it is for official statistics. This enables new business and service ideas to be developed by combining the available data. A phased extension of the disclosure of public and commercial pools of data in digital form is a fundamental precondition for Smart City Berlin. Incidentally, smart administration is also present in the form of open WLANs in all public administration buildings.
Smart leadership and smart staff
A functioning digital administration relies on inter-departmental action and therefore requires a change in the way that all those involved think.
Smart administration depends on highly qualified, motivated employees. Using demographic change as a basis, it develops and makes use of new ways to attract and recruit staff. In its role as an employer, the Federal State of Berlin is expanding its career portal. Smart staff recruitment is based on the principles of diversity, gender equality, and non-discrimination, and can be carried out entirely electronically.
Social integration is another fundamental challenge faced by smart Berlin. The integration of newcomers to Berlin, in particular, is both a challenge and an opportunity for public administration and urban society. As a result of the increasing individualisation of citizens, a growing number of different interests are coming together and making their presence felt in public discourse. Skillful and intelligent urban management and the inclusion of stakeholder groups can ensure the social participation of everyone. Berlin is a melting pot of the most diverse range of cultures, religions, ethnic groups and age groups. The city fosters and preserves the potential which lies in this diversity, and is constantly evolving. Innovative services will be beneficial and accessible barrier-free to all people, irrespective of their level of education, income or age.
IT professionals and the teaching of ICT skills
This participation can, however, only be fully guaranteed if the general population has the necessary wherewithal to make use of the new technical possibilities. Education and training in digital smart city strategy Berlin must therefore meet the latest technological standards and provide in-depth ICT skills. The equipment available in schools is of central importance to determining the use of new media in everyday life. As well as providing the relevant technical equipment, qualifying learners in the use of the new technological solutions must become a part of both school education and vocational training. Any efforts in this direction will have immediate relevance for the job market. Indeed, according to the latest findings, Germany will need approximately 1.2 million IT specialists by the year 2020. Berlin can lead the way in this. In order to be successful in this, Berlin will need to provide good training locally and attract qualified specialists from outside.
Art and culture
Art and culture enrich the daily lives of every Berliner. Art has a socially integrating effect and brings cultures together. Access to cultural assets and content will be made possible and freely accessible to all. The digitalisation of cultural assets such as the collections held in the Berlin Natural History Museum will represent a major step in this direction.
Because of the widespread availability of PCs (from desktops to tablets), smartphones, and, in future, “wearables”, i.e. watches, jewelry or clothing with digital technology, and because of the ready availability of affordable and powerful micro-electronic and micro-mechanical components, there is already a wide range of sensors, actuators and software which technically-minded users can use to equip fixtures or furnishings in their flat with their “own intelligence” and then to create networks. Equally, it is possible to buy domestic appliances with these features. In this way, routine household tasks in the home are automated and/or controlled by the user from outside the home – via mobile signal or broadband and with the corresponding security risks and need for technical precautions.
In addition to the potential for applications that depend exclusively or almost exclusively on the interests, preferences and options of individual members of a household – like, for example, controlling lighting, the music system and the television, or vacuum cleaning using a robot – ICT solutions also offer a variety of applications, which it is in the public interest to disseminate as quickly as possible.
Ambient Assisted Living
Technical assistance systems (Ambient Assisted Living) provide people with disabilities and with age-related physical restrictions to their mobility additional ways of increasing the quality of their accommodation and their quality of life so that they can be well catered for and stay in the surroundings they are familiar with. In future, this area of application will probably be further
developed particularly in health care provision (telecare, telerehabilitation and telemedicine). The fundamental characteristic and critical factor in the success of these two areas of application will be an appropriate combination of ICT and personal services.
Security for flats and buildings
In addition to the installation of smoke detectors, the use of which in residential accommodation is also prescribed in smart city strategy Berlin, there are many ICT solutions which can increase the security of flats against breaking and entering. On the basis of an extensive analysis carried out by the German Forum for Crime Prevention (Stiftung Deutsches Forum für Kriminalprävention) on the options and limits regarding the prevention of break-ins, and on the recommendation of the Interior Ministers’ Conference, the KfW banking group has included support for measures that prevent break-ins in its programs, “Energy-efficient refurbishment” and “Age-appropriate modernisation”, both of which are used by tenants and property owners in Berlin.
Energy and resource efficiency
In addition to having an ICT connection via cable and/or mobile signal, all flats in Berlin are networked – in part with each other – via the electricity grid and water supply system with supply and disposal facilities in the city’s infrastructure. Moreover, most flats are also networked in similar ways via the waste water disposal system, very many via the gas supply system and a large number via the central district heating system. The obligatory refuse disposal as well as collection and delivery services from logistics companies also represent a form of comprehensive networking with service providers. In all the networked areas of local services there are opportunities for developing smart solutions using ICT applications, both on the part of individual households (e.g. smart electricity and water metering) and on the part of service providers (e.g. remote electricity and water meter reading). These opportunities can and must be used to reduce costs and to improve energy and resource efficiency.
In its appendix, the feasibility study “Carbon-neutral Berlin 2050” contains differentiated and detailed calculations and estimates concerning the structure, the supply of energy and the energy efficiency of Berlin’s housing stock and also concerning the potential use of residential properties as platforms for technology that can be deployed in cities for using renewable sources of energy – in particular, photovoltaic cells and thermal solar energy. According to the study’s calculations, the heat requirements of Berlin’s housing stock could be reduced from 150 PJ (petajoules) a year (2010) by 59% to 61 PJ a year by 2050. In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to use established technology and insulating material as well as more developed technology when insulating the building shells and improving the internal heating systems.
According to estimates by the Kuratorium Deutsche Altershilfe (KDA) (a foundation that helps the aged), approximately 69,000 flats in Berlin are barrier-free. A further 41,000 flats would have to be modified by means of appropriate building measures in order to meet the need of particularly people for living space that is barrier-free or as barrier-free as possible. In addition to what are often small-scale modifications within the flats themselves, the single weightiest financial factor is above all the fitting out of existing buildings with lifts and, where necessary, ramps and staircase platform lifts in the entrance area. Because there is a conflict between the desire for barrier-free housing and the financial resources of households with a limited pension income, more developed technical solutions are necessary here.
With its support programs for the repair and modernisation of the pre-fabricated housing stock put up in the eastern part of the city (in total, around 270,000 flats) and with its work on improving the general surroundings of these residential areas and on strengthening the neighborhood centers there, smart city strategy Berlin has set high standards since reunification. The experience gained in the course of this work is being used in Berlin by the housing association GESOBAU in carrying out an energy-efficient refurbishment of the residential estate, Märkisches Viertel, and by the housing association degewo in its work on developing the Mariengrün Quarter. Energy-efficient refurbishment comprises
not only improving the energy-efficiency of the building, but also modernising the heating technology and/or the energy supply. All the projects mentioned above are characterised by an essentially homogeneous building design, whereby the buildings are owned by one or just a few landlords. The challenges in the case of the energy-efficient modernisation of residential areas with a mix of building designs and a large number of mainly private owners with different investment cycles and possibilities are considerably greater. Because the potential for improving energy-efficiency in large estates with a small number of owners has to a large extent already been realised, the major task in the future will be to develop effective and affordable solutions for tenants and owners in mixed residential areas.
Green and free spaces
It is important to use and to further develop a large number of green spaces and free spaces in Berlin (approximately 44% of the surface area of the city) in order to maintain quality of life and to support the process of adjusting to climate change despite the need for further house building in the city. Improved resource efficiency aims primarily at avoiding or reducing climate-relevant emissions. This means, when it comes to climate adjustment measures, tackling the anticipated negative impacts of global warming in city-center areas by supporting suitable measures like unsealing areas of ground, improving evaporation, greening and the supply and circulation of fresh air. Berlin has presented such ideas in its urban development plan “Klima” (climate).
Neighborhood management draws on a wealth of experience to provide suitable activities to strengthen the social cohesion of city neighborhoods by means of self-help activities, charitable commitment, the involvement of independent charitable agencies and other “strong partners in the neighborhood” (e.g. clubs, local businesses, housing companies and cooperatives). In addition to offering meeting centers in the neighborhood and other locations (e.g. in schools and religious communities), there is great potential in ICT solutions (“Kiez-App” – neighbourhood app). Such solutions aim to match the demand for self-help activities to the available supply and to communicate the provision of low-threshold services.
There is also a great need for investment and for technical development when it comes to making these residential estates barrier-free, designing their surroundings and providing energy-efficient lighting for public spaces as a way of making them more attractive and helping the residents to feel more secure.
Consistent with the high-tech strategy of the federal government69 , Berlin wishes to make its contribution to helping Germany on the way to becoming an established place for innovation in Europe and the world. The ability to innovate is indispensable – not just for Berlin’s job market. After all, economic growth and value creation mean prosperity and have a positive influence on the quality of life of citizens and on the appeal of the city. In all of this, Berlin’s industry is particularly important. The process of development of Berlin Smart City as a city of the industry has been supported for years by
companies, unions and the city’s administration working collaboratively to identify fields of action and to establish specific implementation strategies. The document that sets out the direction of this policy is the master plan for the city of industry, Berlin, which is available in version 2.0.
Interface of innovation
Smart Berlin offers many opportunities to drive cooperation between research institutes, universities and business. Successful innovation can best emerge when it is cross-disciplinary, particularly at the interfaces between ICT, energy technology, health and transport/mobility. A targeted policy of grants and subsidies is intended to bring together sectors and companies that don’t normally work together but which benefit from cooperation. This is the way in which various domains become smartly linked.
Demand for innovation
In order to further develop Berlin as a location for industry and innovation, it is necessary that innovative products, processes and local services are developed in the city and are also used here. In this way, it can be possible to meet new social demands in a growing city and to establish Berlin as a leading Smart City. Berlin can contribute to this with a targeted deployment of the EUR 4 to 5 billion that is estimated to be the city’s current volume of investment and procurement. With the help of the technology platform www.berlin-innovation.de, it is intended to support the use of innovative technologies by making this a criterion in public tendering and procurement processes.
A very dynamic start-up scene in Berlin has access to an infrastructure that supports the conversion of ideas into viable business models. The linking of established and start-up companies and the strengthening of a technology-based start-up scene enable Berlin to compete more effectively nationally and internationally.
Science and research Berlin smart city strategy
In order to make Berlin smart city, it is important to bundle the skills of the excellent science and research community in Berlin, to create synergies and to realise joint project concepts in a way that has appeal. Political support in the form of project sponsorship, the organisation of competitions or of product-oriented workshops is intended to make the transfer of research findings into specific applications easier. This also helps to enhance Berlin’s competitiveness. The increased financial involvement of companies in cooperation projects in addition to the very high level of third-party-financed research of central government and the EU is a further measure that is necessary if this goal is to be achieved. Even today, Berlin is very successful in securing third-party funds from the research framework programs of the EU, and, with EUR 585 million in funds from the 7-th Framework Programme for Research, holds fourth place in Germany.
Intelligent mobility and logistics are areas of key importance for Berlin, so the goal “electromobility as an economic factor” is being broadened in scope. New technologies, particularly with regard to resource efficiency and inter-modality, will continue to be given funding.
Since April 2012 the metropolitan region of Berlin has been one of four showcases for electromobility in Germany, with funding from the federal government and the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg, and with contributions from industry. The overall integrated scheme, which is being coordinated by the Berlin Agency for Electromobility (eMO)75 (Agentur für Elektomobilität), comprises 30 core projects with a total volume of up to EUR 85 million, covering all the relevant areas of action in the field of electromobility. What particularly finds expression here is the interplay between transport and energy systems, involving innovative ICT solutions and advanced vehicle technology.
The commitment to electromobility by the Federal States of Berlin and Brandenburg, as well as by companies, the scientific community and professional associations in the region, is strengthened by the “Programme of Action for Electromobility 2020”. The program makes clear the goals of Berlin’s electromobility strategy: on the one hand, to improve the quality of life for citizens by consistently electrifying mobility that uses conventional energy sources; on the other hand, to generate value creation for Berlin’s economy using electro-mobile systems, components and business processes.
It is intended in the long-term to position Berlin internationally as a testing and model location for urban technology and innovation in the field of research, development and applications. From 2015 the largest smart city congress in the world, Metropolitan Solutions, will be held in the capital city every year. At this congress, innovations in the areas of mobility, energy supply, water quality and supply through to building technology and urban safety and security will be presented. At the same time symposiums on the innovative development of cities and their infrastructures will take place. Decision-makers in politics will meet innovative developers and companies that offer solutions to urban problems. Other excellent forums in the context of Berlin’s smart city strategy are the CKI Conference for students, administrators and companies, the Berlin Business Conference (Berliner Wirtschaftskonferenz), the Smart City Summit, the Asia-Pacific Weeks and the City Architecture Congress.
Cities, companies and institutes for science and research benefit from the close international collaboration between Berlin and its partner cities, from city networks like Eurocities and Metropolis, bilateral and multilateral projects, delegations of experts and international events.
The close network of embassies and national and international players in the capital city provides excellent general conditions for cooperation. Berlin is a model city for smart city projects. The many international delegations that visit Berlin get to know the intelligent urban solutions in the German capital by viewing projects and buildings and by just being in the city.
The combination of the metropolis Berlin with the Metropolitan Solutions Trade Fair and the events that form part of the Asia-Pacific Weeks is a very attractive one for international delegations. After all, these forums provide opportunities to present innovative ideas, to discuss solutions and to position smart city strategy Berlin model projects. Moreover, important trips abroad during the past few years by the Governing Mayor and the other members of the Senate, e.g. to China, Japan, South Africa, India, Russia, Turkey and the Gulf region, were devoted to the export of Berlin’s solutions in the area of urban infrastructure (mobility, energy, the green economy). It can be seen clearly in Berlin that smart cities are learning systems.
New tools like the interactive Policy Transfer Platform , which was developed as part of a Metropolis initiative, make dialogue between experts possible, depict innovative urban development projects from all over the world and enable cities to network.
Digitalisation and structural change
Digitalisation has accelerated the structural change that is being generated by technological developments and globalisation. Small-scale company structures concentrate on niche markets or particular target groups. Local economic structures, e.g. for electricity, the Sharing Economy or exchange forums, are on the increase. People are increasingly becoming involved in producing things themselves, e.g. electricity or additive manufacturing, and are changing from being just consumers to being active players in the economy, so-called prosumers.
Exemplary projects have already been created by private groups or through public funding, for example in the areas of mobility, energy and housing. These projects have a signal effect in addition to their actual purpose, but they are still isolated in the city. The aim is to create analogue and digital networks in Berlin and, by so doing, to integrate residential, industrial and business spaces and to develop the city and its infrastructure within a cooperative matrix.
For Berlin to be able to compete as a location for 4th generation industries, it is important that it develops its own profile in this field and that it builds links between the areas of research, science, IT, and industry. As an analysis of potential, which was commissioned in 2014 by the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Technology and Research has shown, a number of companies and research institutes would be suitable as centers of competence. The development of a competence network, the launch of specific application projects and the planned Urban Tech Republic in Tegel will contribute to making the city economically viable for the future. Moreover, the fact that there are major partners here from business and industry shows that Berlin has considerable potential in this area.
A challenge for a networked Berlin is to establish connections between the traditional economy and drivers of innovation. Even today, numerous major German and also international companies like Deutsche Telekom, Bertelsmann, Springer, ProSiebenSat.1, Otto Group, Daimler, Microsoft, Google, Siemens, BMW and Bombardier Transportation are significant driving forces in the city. To create links between established structures in production and service provision on the one hand and new, unconventional ideas, on the other hand, promotes innovation. There is great willingness in the start-up scene in Berlin to discuss ideas with partners in industry and to develop new forms of cooperation. Such cooperative ventures are part of what makes up the appeal of Berlin, and they have to be made possible and supported by the city administration.
For this reason, event formats like the CKI Conference 87 or the Smart City Summit for public and private investors and technology suppliers are being developed as part of Berlin’s smart city strategy. At these events, companies, research institutes and administrators identify possible projects at the interfaces between the areas of mobility, the economy, housing, administration and industry. On the basis of these possible projects, they then develop options for implementation and define areas of responsibility.
Berlin and the surrounding region will have to deal with significant demographic challenges. Moreover, further improvements in preventive medicine, health care and follow-up care are necessary. Help is provided here by e-health solutions. The master plan for the health industry identifies a number of measures in this area, like web-based services for prevention and health promotion, technological development aimed at applications and healthcare delivery by networking all players, support for the further inter-linking of out-patient, in-patient and rehabilitative healthcare by deploying e-health technology and the development of innovative e-health products for the regional and global market.
All over the world, new financing models are being tried out, and Berlin can benefit from an analysis of these models. For example, the procurement of venture capital worldwide or crowd-funding models provide additional options that enable innovative entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice. In Berlin, the first crowd-funding platforms have been created and represent a new format for project cofinancing and citizen involvement. For more than 10 years there have been venture capital funds in Berlin (VC Fonds Berlin, VC Fonds Technologie, VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft) that are financed by
funds from the federal state and from the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE) with a view to supporting small and medium-sized companies in technology and the creative industries. The investments of these venture capital funds attract a significantly higher level of third-party financing, which creates substantial leverage effects in the financing of innovation. In addition, there is the support tool Pro FIT (Programm zur Förderung von Forschung, Innovationen und Technologien), a program for supporting research, innovation and technology, which is specially designed for the areas of early-phase financing and project support in research and development (R&D) and which provides subsidies and loans to young, innovative companies in Berlin.
Such financing models can help to create a great deal of dynamism in the start-up development process. However, for the potential here to be realised completely, further political activity is needed in order to make the legal and fiscal framework conditions for crowd-funding and venture capital stable and internationally competitive. This will make Germany more attractive as an investment location for venture capital.
A precondition for a smart economy is an effective broadband infrastructure for all areas which is based on mobile signals and landlines. This infrastructure is necessary in order to be able to make use of ICT as an economic factor. In order to be able to build a smart technical infrastructure out of the building blocks that are broadband infrastructure, IT security, generic software solutions (databases, search machines, customer management systems, merchandise management systems), cloud computing, the Internet of Things, digital management and control systems or Big Data Analytics, it is necessary to have a cross-segment exchange on the basis of open standards and interfaces. In addition, it is important to provide public WLAN covering as great an area as possible and to make public and private-industry data available in digital form.
Smart city strategy Berlin Innovation-oriented procurement
The smart city implementation strategy for Berlin involves establishing an innovation-oriented approach in the city administration, particularly in the case of construction and infrastructure projects. It is important to have regard for the best available technology when it comes to measures related to the growth of the city, e.g. the modernisation of existing housing and buildings, the construction of new buildings, or infrastructure projects. The technology platform www.berlin-innovation.de provides some useful guidance on this point. Examples are energy efficiency technology, new materials for new-build or refurbishment projects, security technology when planning new residential estates or traffic management systems in the case of mobility concepts.
Energy efficiency Berlin smart city strategy
With regard to energy efficiency technology, it is important to continue to develop the profile of the Smart City Berlin as a model of competence in energy systems. The importance of such systems will not only increase as the city grows: the systems themselves will make a substantial contribution to achieving the energy transition as well.
The energy transition provides Berlin’s companies with new opportunities in the future market that is an economy built on the conservation of resources and renewable energy. The development and promotion of the intelligent electricity grid, “Smart Grid”, are important technological challenges which Berlin, with its inter-linking of science, research and industry, is especially able to cope with.
Mobility is a precondition for social participation. The people in a city are dependent on being able to make journeys in their working and private lives with as little disruption as possible. For companies, the reliable and efficient provision of goods and the disposal of industrial waste and recycling materials are of central importance.
Consequently, ensuring mobility has particular significance in Berlin. It means that the largest city in Germany can enjoy spatial and social cohesion and it is the basis for maintaining and strengthening the economic performance of Berlin and the metropolitan region of Berlin.
Increase in traffic – disproportionate in terms of eco-mobility
In the last 25 years, Berlin has undergone considerable change, which can also be seen in changes to traffic as well. The overcoming of the division of the city, rising visitor numbers, the rising population, urbanisation, and the expansion of the European internal market are just some of the factors that are having an influence on traffic levels. However, this development has meant an increase in factors that put a strain on the environment and our health, e.g. noise, air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases, accidents and increased land usage.
An active, integrated transport policy has been able to contribute to breaking the trend of growing motorisation. More and more journeys are completed using public transport, by bicycle or on foot. Moreover, electric motors are on the increase in cars, lorries and buses.
It is the task of intelligent and sustainable transport policy to satisfy the mobility needs of people and companies in the city in a way that is socially just, in line with ecological and economic circumstances and viable for the future. A basis for this is to maintain and strengthen the compact spaces with little traffic that generates short-distance journeys in the poly-centered structure of Berlin.
Urban Development Plan for Transport 2025
The Urban Development Plan for Transport 2025 was developed in a participative process involving all interested parties in Berlin as a kind of timetable for the city’s transport policy. It takes into consideration the developments and overall conditions relating to transport and mobility in Berlin and, based on this, it then identifies transport planning and transport policy needs. 91 Important areas are improving accessibility, transport quality, transport safety and the reliability of transport providers. The assessment of the effectiveness of measures that have already been adopted was made – as far as possible – in relation to the financial expense that the implementation of the measure involved. Berlin smart city strategy is taking up the goals of the Urban Development Plan for Transport 2025 and is trying to support and drive the achievement of these goals through the use of innovative mobility technology.
More efficient mobility through “sharing economy” offers
Increasing digital networks and the trend to a “sharing economy” can make the most of mobility offers but can also contribute to the avoidance of high levels of traffic. People in Berlin are using new forms of mobility which improve the use of existing vehicles and infrastructure (e.g. car sharing, public bike hire system), which increase safety and contribute to a reduction in environmental impacts by being resource-efficient (e.g. individualised transport information). For the economy, this means new opportunities for jobs, for adding value and for more efficient, city-compatible transport logistics.
Unified transport concept
A unified transport concept integrates individual, public and business transport with cross-system transport management and with inter-modal transport information. Tests and initial applications can be introduced on a pilot basis in individual areas or across the whole city in order to achieve the best possible combination of the strengths of the various transport providers.
Electromobility and its integration into the electricity grid
With its numerous research and development plans and projects, Berlin is one of the leading locations in Europe for electromobility. The network of the Berlin Agency for Electromobility (eMO) bundles these projects and is the central point of contact in the region for developments in this field. It supports the goal of increasing the share of electromobility in the city. In addition to their positive impact on the environment, noise levels and the climate, electric cars, lorries and buses can make an important contribution in terms of energy by serving as mobile and decentralised storage units. The aim of renewable energy policy is to stabilise the naturally fluctuating inflows of wind and solar energy into the electricity grid and, in so doing, to support the load management capability of the grid. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary for the electrification of means of transport that a supply of energy is generated from renewables and that this load structure is integrated intelligently into the grid. Berlin is also one of the leading locations in Europe when it comes to the area of electromobility with hydrogen and regenerative fuel cells for vehicle fleets and the service station infrastructure. However, this technology is only sustainable if the hydrogen is generated by excess wind energy or excess solar power.
Even today, electromobility forms part of Berlin’s systematic approach to achieving sustainable mobility. The necessary networking of vehicles, transport systems and energy has to be integrated seamlessly into the wider mobility and energy requirements of a smart city. The mobility concepts that have already been initiated, like the mobility platform and map for combining public and individual transport, the stations of the future and smart grid storage units mean that electromobility is being integrated more fully into the areas of transport and energy. It is intended that electromobility should achieve greater industrial added value in Berlin, expand technical know-how, create new jobs and achieve a higher quality of life in the city. The new project of eMO, “Smart e-mobility”, is pursuing these goals. It is intended that Berlin’s reputation as a laboratory and good example in the area of smart e-mobility should be further extended as part of Smart City Berlin. This will be achieved by giving targeted support to local companies and R&D facilities, by developing and testing innovative projects and products and by holding on to or attracting (international) companies and talents to Berlin.
Innovation and securing existing infrastructure
A decisive factor in the implementation of ambitious, innovative approaches is the development of public spending or of the investment and expenditure capacity of the state. In all of this, the priority is to secure the existing infrastructure. Against the background of the continuing strain on public finances in the city, this is a matter of economic common sense. To attach particular importance to highly efficient measures when making necessary investments in the maintenance and modernisation of the road and rail infrastructure, and to strive for synergy effects is the expression of a modern transport policy and a financial necessity.
The structure of the population and the working population is undergoing massive changes. So, it is necessary to shape transport policy in order to cope both today and in the future with the challenges that result from the changes in the structure of the population and the economic development of Berlin and the surrounding region.
Design and organisation of transport processes
By designing and organising transport processes, it is intended to increase the quality of life in the city and that of the environment as well. This is achieved, for example, by reorganising road space in favor of eco-mobility (transport safety program for Berlin smart city strategy, pedestrian and cycling strategy) and by using the potential of alternative motors and fuels. In this way, less strain is put on the environment and the local surroundings, and transport safety is increased.
Traffic management and safety
Innovations in the ICT sector are driving new solutions in traffic control and management. These solutions will in the future be complemented by an improvement in active safety (accident avoidance). The systematic introduction of “cooperative systems” in which vehicles communicate with each other and with the infrastructure and in which driving can even be automated promises significant improvements in road safety, above all in the complex traffic systems of cities. The trend towards the automation of motorised vehicles is only possible because of high-performance ICT and sensor technology, but it makes new demands on IT security, the stability of technical systems and the design of the interaction between human beings and machines. In this context, measures like the design of roads and the areas around them, the lighting of public spaces and the availability (multilingual) sources of information also play an important role. Furthermore, campaigns for greater consideration on the roads, traffic monitoring aimed at putting more pressure on road users to respect the rules of the road, and the pursuit of infringements of these rules all support efforts to improve the safety of all road-users.
The possibility of being and staying mobile independently is a key precondition for participation and quality of life – especially for people with mobility restrictions. Barriers in buildings, social barriers and barriers created by a lack of information limit participation – a situation that requires action, particularly in Berlin, which is undergoing demographic change. This also requires that housing and mobility, as well as communication and participation, are viewed holistically. In addition to structural
improvements (e.g. the installation of lifts in the public transport system), intelligent solutions using ICT can also make a contribution (individualised route-planning, taking into consideration, for example, the availability of lifts for wheelchair-users). In the context of Ambient Assisted Living, it is possible, for example, to use innovative products and services which enable people with mobility restrictions to be independently mobile for longer.
Mobility and resource efficiency
With intelligent transport planning, Berlin contributes to improved energy and resource efficiency in the transport of people and goods and, thereby, to the avoidance and reduction of greenhouse emissions. An advantage for Berlin is the trend to more pedestrians and to greater use of public transport and of the bicycle. Two-thirds of journeys made by people across the area of the entire city are completed in this way. By making further improvements in the infrastructure (e.g. extending the network of cycle paths95 ), by launching model projects (e.g. pedestrian priority zones96 ), by promoting inter-modality and by creating links between public transport and car-sharing schemes, it is possible to shift the use of different modes of transport towards greater eco-mobility. The levels of noise and the emissions of NO x 98 and CO 2 caused by traffic, as well as the emission of fine particles in city areas are all reduced by these measures. The use of innovative motor technology, e.g. electric motors, hydrogen and regenerative fuel cells, but also the use of biogas in the transport of people and goods can also make important contributions to the protection of the climate, of health and of the environment in city areas.
Logistics in the smart city strategy Berlin
Modern urban logistics have to react intelligently to changes in the volume and structure of deliveries. In so doing, they implement, as far as possible, solutions which are compatible with climate protection 99 and which observe the applicable limits in the area of air pollution (e.g. NO2, PM10) or traffic noise. This means that smart solutions in urban logistics are not only good for the global climate, but they also reduce the number of people who are affected locally by negative impacts. Approaches are, for example, new distribution concepts that make sensible use of all transport providers and the (tri-modal) distribution centers in the city, the use of alternative motors or, on the last mile of the journey, the use of delivery bicycles. Whether it is a matter of these “small solutions” or the problem of large-scale goods transportation, it is important to find approaches that make sensible use of the existing infrastructure, that keep and promote economic activity and industrial manufacturing in the city area and that, at the same time, take into consideration the general conditions that constrain a densely populated and built-up city in Europe.
The strategic approaches and specific measures of the City Development Plan for Transport have been adapted and also widened in scope as part of the Berlin Smart City strategy.
Berlin smart city strategy infrastructures
Intelligently designed utilities infrastructures form the backbone of Smart City Berlin. The combination of and the greater interplay between different infrastructure elements make intelligent, cross-system solutions are possible. Berlin is in the process of putting this into practice. It will take into consideration the potential for smart energy infrastructures in all necessary areas of planning and policy and, in so doing, will develop in the next few years to become the leading city in the development of such infrastructures. At the same time, modern supply and disposal networks and infrastructures always have to reconcile the greatest possible safety with economic efficiency and to strike a balance between the greatest resource efficiency and being environmentally compatible and consumer-friendly, particularly considering the wish of many people for convenience. In addition to networking its utility functions, Smart City Berlin will guarantee a high level of network stability and the safety of its inhabitants.
Development of sustainable systems
In the course of developing smart solutions, a transformation of the structures for supplying electricity, gas and hot water, and for the supply of water and the disposal of waste water, and the disposal of household refuse is necessary. These systems have to become sustainable, and recycling systems have to emerge. In this way, Berlin can become carbon-neutral by 2050. It is a matter of harmonising the built environment of the city with its network infrastructures – with their focus on a sustainable and carbon-neutral city – and optimising these infrastructures both economically and ecologically. In order to regulate the overall system, it is necessary to define interfaces for the interplay of individual infrastructure elements.
Smart supply and disposal means making the transition from a throw-away system to a resource optimised recycling system and recycling society. A whole range of systems for the supply of resources and the disposal of waste are involved here. With the help of innovative approaches and new urban technologies in recycling (waste utilisation), upcycling (the creative reuse of waste) and urban mining (the reclaiming of compounds from waste), these systems can be developed for the purpose of reclaiming energy, hot water or raw materials.
Sustainable and climate-compatible energy supply
One of the challenges for cities is the question as to a sustainable and climate-compatible supply, distribution and use of energy. Berlin is on the way to achieving energy production that is socially responsible, ecological and innovative and that understands intelligent, smart infrastructures to be an important element in this process. This is why, in the area of basic utilities, the Berlin Senate has set itself the goal of exerting significantly greater influence on the operation and development of energy supply networks – specifically the electricity and gas distribution networks. Furthermore, it is intended that the public utilities company that was set up in the summer of 2014 will make a contribution to climate-friendly energy supply as part of its remit to generate and sell renewable energy. Finally, the Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Programme is currently being compiled in a broad consultation process. This program will determine specific measures and implementation strategies for achieving a sustainable energy supply that is also on the basis of renewable energies. These efforts are supported by a not inconsiderable section of Berlin’s population.
Uncoupling higher performance and higher energy consumption in technology
As volumes of data, and also the speed and storage capacity of computers grow, so too does the consumption of energy in technology. Today, ICT devices and applications consume 10% of the energy we produce. For this reason, one of the tasks to be performed in the course of digitalisation (Green IT102 ) is the uncoupling of higher performance and higher energy consumption. At the same time, new business models and distribution channels are indirectly causing increases in energy consumption, e.g. through the growing transactions for goods that are increasingly ordered online.
The energy supply of the future needs an intelligent grid that links up energy consumers and producers with the help of digital information technology and that continuously evaluates information about energy consumption habits and energy availability in order to be able to react automatically to fluctuations in energy supply or consumption. In all of this, the security of personal user data must always be taken into consideration. The development of smart grids and virtual power stations is necessary to meet the requirements of having a stable grid and a secure supply whilst at the same time supporting the inclusion of the fluctuating production of decentralised, renewable energies, of energy storage devices and combined heat and power plants.
Anyone who uses energy at home should be able to modify their consumer behavior. However, this requires improved public education, transparent information about peaks in consumption and production, and the opportunity for consumers to understand their own consumption patterns. And it also requires innovative services, for example, tariff offers that support variable electricity consumption. Added to this is the need to take into consideration “new electricity consumers” on the basis of increases in electrification. Energy and transport systems should be regarded to a greater extent than has been the case to date as a single entity, for example for the development and operation of the necessary charging infrastructure in both the public and the private sphere.
Energy goals of the federal government and the Federal State of Berlin
The city of the future will achieve a high level of energy and resource efficiency by using new technologies. Through the efficient use of energy, the streamlined conversion of energy and a supply that is increasingly based on renewable energies, Berlin will make a contribution to achieving the energy goals of the federal government and its own climate protection goals as well.
Efficient heat generation and use
Heat is the form of energy that is used most in cities. So, the greatest energy-saving potential is to be found here as well. This potential is already being realised in Berlin in the form of heat efficiency measures in buildings, measures affecting the supply infrastructures of entire neighborhoods, and
the increasingly decentralised and local generation of electricity and heat. The heating supply network of the future will expand these measures and, in particular, strengthen the use of renewable energies and other technical options, e.g. combined heat and power plants or the use of residual heat.
The existing infrastructures already meet the right requirements for storing and continuing to use the so-called surplus electricity from renewable sources. With the involvement of tenants, e.g. in the form of tenant associations, of property owners and suppliers (utilities companies and industrial suppliers of residual heat), it is possible to use smart systems to achieve new forms of heat supply that bring economic benefits to all the parties involved. The basis for combining infrastructures is innovative measuring and control technology and smart networking systems using ICT structures.
Sustainable water management
Berlin is not just modernising its water and waste water infrastructure. There are also discussions about innovative approaches (the collection of rain water, the reuse of grey water, the recovery of energy from cooling water, dealing with sewage sludge) with a view to achieving smart utilities provision in the water industry. Sustainable water management attaches importance to the ecological management of resources and includes topics like energy, urban development, the planning of open spaces, road building, ICT and education in a dialogue about water.
Pilot projects and breaking new ground
In addition to maintaining and ensuring the technical reliability of what has proved its worth for decades, it is also important to aim to achieve in the long term an upgrade of the central infrastructure systems in the city. Particularly with a view to the inter-dependence of the areas of water and energy, as well as energy and transport, it is necessary to break new ground in selected areas of the city and to try out decentralized solutions in pilot projects. Local approaches can serve as a model for the problems and challenges that have to be dealt with on an international scale.
The term public safety in Smart City Berlin includes both protection against intentionally caused damage and protection against natural disasters. The new information and communication technologies and the megatrend towards digitalization offer chances, but also risks. These risks have to be met with new security concepts.
New opportunities for the involvement of the public
Public safety is one of the key responsibilities that are particularly important to the Berlin Senate. However, safety is always a challenge for society as well, and this challenge cannot be met solely in the form of the security responsibilities exercised by the authorities and other organizations. The entire process has to enjoy the active support of the local population. Smart City Berlin opens up new forms of involvement that will help to achieve a qualitatively new (smart) safety culture for the people of the city. The possibilities range from active, personal involvement, warnings about severe weather and natural disasters, e.g. with the help of the “Internetwache Polizei Berlin” (a web-based police station) or the warning app “Katwarn” (an app providing warnings about severe weather conditions) which also gives advice about safe behavior in severe weather conditions, to the use of street
furniture and lighting as a form of crime prevention, and to a new understanding of informed cooperation between the public and the authorities.
In all of this, it is important to remember that technology is and remains an aid and is not a substitute for the exercise of judgment. For example, automatic analysis systems for evaluating cameras in public spaces can provide valuable indications of what to focus on and where the action is needed, but the decision on what action to take is not made by technology.
Data infrastructure, smart grids, and cybersecurity
The availability of Internet infrastructure in all areas of the city is one of the preconditions of having a Smart City Berlin. Key security aspects are the integrity and authenticity of data, and the availability of data even at times of crisis. These aspects have to be considered from the perspective of the public, providers, the authorities, and also organizations entrusted with security responsibilities. A dysfunctional data infrastructure that is prone to problems can cause differing degrees of disruption to other areas of life, for example, an impairment of the individual’s sense of personal safety, or disruption to networked devices in the home or to the connection with the electricity supply (as a consumer, producer and/or storage device).
All of these aspects mentioned above are a precondition for the core business, i.e. the responsibility to supply, of the energy suppliers. This is all the more the case because the remote control of decentralized units, e.g. electricity sub-stations, pump stations, is already state-of-the-art technology today. Whereas suppliers used their own communication systems with separate hardware in the past, today it is mostly public communication systems that are used. This is economically beneficial but makes the suppliers susceptible to cyber-attacks.
The disruption-free operation of the electricity grid represents even today an enormous challenge of technical management and control. The increase in volatile energy sources that cannot cover primary load capacity could lead to the fact that control over the higher levels of the grid (the high voltage level) is no longer sufficient to maintain network stability. Precisely because electricity supply is the Achilles heel of every modern society, particular attention has to be paid to this problem. Without correspondingly integrated security and data protection concepts at all levels, a smart grid is exposed to significant risks in terms of acceptance and operational management.
The smart city as a safe city
Smart City Berlin has to be a safe city in order to limit the vulnerability (of the entire system and not just a single element or node) which can arise as a result of increasingly integrated networks. However, the city can only fulfill this requirement if the risks at every logical and organizational level of the smart city architecture are taken into consideration as well and if corresponding security concepts are designed and then applied. For example, firewalls have to be erected in order to avoid the risk of infection spreading to the entire system, or partial shutdowns have to be possible that do not impair the operational capability of other parts of the system. An IT security system that is properly staffed and equipped to the highest possible standard has to be something that is a matter of course and the starting point for any smart city project. Only on this basis can the desired horizontal inter-linking of various part-systems represent added value both for the overall economy and for the individual. Smart City Berlin must put in place the conditions that are a precondition for its success.