The Smart City Strategy
The city of Bonn is rising to the challenge of digital transformation. It wants to actively shape digitization and provide its own services more efficiently through digital tools. The goal is to develop Bonn into a leading smart city in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Bonn City Council already decided on the organization and content of the "Digital Administration" agenda in November 2017. In addition to the establishment of a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) as an advisor and driver of the digital transformation, initial fields of action and concrete projects were described. The topic of digitization is one of four strategic focus areas on which the city of Bonn has agreed as part of the new council coalition as a result of the 2020 municipal elections.
The digitization strategy initiated by the administration is not a self-contained and temporary individual project. Rather, it is an ongoing, continuous process involving the entire city administration. Of particular importance for the digital transformation is the involvement of urban society in the process toward a smart city. The term smart city is not clearly defined. However, a common basic understanding has emerged in recent years among cities involved in smart city concepts. Ultimately, it is about the intelligent further development of sustainable urban development with digital tools. The focus is not on technology, but on the possibilities provided by technology that allow communication, collaboration processes and participation to be further developed or completely redesigned. The basic understanding of the smart city concept is based on the "Smart City Charter" of the "National Dialog Platform Smart Cities" of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR). On the basis of this evolved basic understanding, the cities that are actively developing a smart city have developed their own individual approaches.
Digital Administration and Digital City
In the Smart City Strategy of the City of Bonn, the city administration plays an initially central role. As a prelude to Smart City development, it has drawn up the Digital Administration and Digital City strategy papers and submitted them to the political bodies as a basis for the discussion process. This is not just about the future roadmap for defining, prioritizing and implementing fields of action. It is also about ensuring that the necessary human and financial resources are made available. The digitization subcommittee was formed to reflect the importance of the topic from the political arena as well. In addition, the Smart City microsite has been set up on the city of Bonn's website to bundle and bring together all the information on the topic.
While Digital Administration is primarily concerned with areas of action and measures of the city administration, such as online services and eGovernment services for citizens, Digital City concentrates on enabling all "Bonners" to live a "good" life with Smart City services, together with partners from science and industry and ultimately the urban community. Or, to put it simply: How can all the digitally captured data from the city administration and the urban community be used to make life together better, for example for more efficient mobility, or to contribute to climate neutrality? The Digital City process is being supported and coordinated by the Economic Development Department, which has many points of contact with digitization issues and is already involved in digitization projects through networks with many partners.
Digital City Strategy Paper
This strategy paper is not to be understood as a completed concept, but rather as an offer to enter into an exchange with urban society. As part of this participation, the Digital City continues to evolve. The Digital City process is about creating a Smart City with everyone and for everyone. It is about both creating something new, facing the opportunities but also the challenges of digitalization, and at the same time understanding what is happening as a result and how we can shape these changes together.
In this context, the smart city process is a very extensive, complex project that extends over a longer period of time, as well as an additional focus topic for economic development. As an actor, it can initiate the process, but it is dependent on good, collaborative cooperation with the necessary network partners within and outside of the administration.
The four fields of action as a prelude
As a prelude, the Economic Development Department and the administration propose the four interlinked fields of action listed in the strategy paper:
- Digitization and coexistence - Benefits for the urban society.
- Digitization at the interface to administration - more time for important things
- Digitization and infrastructure - technology as support
- Digitization and innovation - Developing new things together
The "think tank" as a central platform
As a central platform, the think tank is intended to provide the Digital City with a framework for exchange, evaluation and discussion of future topics. An annual event is also planned. At this event, achievements will be presented, innovations honored, and impulses and focal points defined for the coming year. A digitization jury consisting of representatives from society, politics and administration will support the process and the CDO in evaluating smart city measures.
Joint procedure - "Digital City" process
The Digital City strategy paper has been presented to the political bodies. Regular reports on the further development of the paper and the progress of the implementation measures will be submitted to the political bodies. After the summer break in 2021, the paper is to be discussed with stakeholders, feedback is to be gathered, and the paper is to be given a higher profile. A first "think tank" is planned for the end of the year. Chapter III.4 lists a number of concrete measures and projects on digitization in which the Economic Development department is involved.