We all experience how quickly our lives are changing as a result of digitalisation. We are happy to make our lives more pleasant and we also care about our personal data. How can digital strategies help reduce our resource consumption and improve our work, education, health, democratic participation and social coexistence? How do we organise the data we need for good planning?
Digitisation affects all areas of life. It also has a decisive influence on how we live, operate, use and shape the city. Especially in mobility, the wide availability of digital devices means that new products can prevail faster than before. New drive technologies, offers to control multimodal mobility and for navigation optimise route relationships and the choice of means of transport. They are inexpensive, useful and comfortable. They facilitate environmentally friendly, resource-saving mobility and increase the quality of life.
Digitisation offers great opportunities, especially for urban development. Public space is used less by more efficient traffic and can be redesigned with a new quality for pedestrians and cyclists. From intelligent management of the technical infrastructure and traffic flows to widely available educational offerings, “industry 4.0” to networking in the healthcare sector, online participation and digital administration: The development towards "Smart Cities" contributes to resource efficiency, resilience and quality of life in our cities and regions and promote sustainable urban development.
On the other hand, digitisation also brings challenges. We are increasingly dependent on applications and technologies of the platform economy as well as on a few global providers. This poses the risk of losing control and data sovereignty at the national as well as at the municipal level and of having insufficient design and configuration options. Massive changes can already be seen in city centres and district centres, especially in retail. Not only in rural areas a lack of broadband coverage creates new development disadvantages and increases emigration. The unequal spatial and social access to digital offers can deepen the social-spatial division and disadvantage entire population groups.
As a cross-cutting issue, impulses and interactions, opportunities and risks of digitisation in the relevant areas of action must be assessed in the urban development planning and local "smart city strategies" must be developed to use the far-reaching possibilities. Online formats, together with classic offers, can greatly improve planning and participation processes and reach wider target groups.
The National Urban Development Policy discussed the opportunities and challenges of the Smart City at an early stage and provides a Smart Cities dialogue platform. Finally, the "Smart City Charter" sets guidelines on how digitisation can be successfully designed for cities and municipalities with integrated development strategies.