Smart City knowledge: from municipalities for municipalities

March 19, 2023

Smart Cities model projects: First studies published: How do digital solutions help in extreme weather? When will data platforms improve life in the city? And what can municipalities learn from the experiences of others? These and many other questions are addressed by the accompanying research for the Model Projects Smart Cities (MPSC) program. The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) has now published the first studies to emerge from this research.Both publications provide recommendations for municipalities. The focus is on resilience strategies and urban data platforms. More publications will follow in the coming months. “The studies elaborate on scientific debates on smart cities and provide recommendations for the concrete development of strategies,” says BBSR head Dr. Markus Eltges. “They contain collected knowledge about smart cities, address success factors and obstacles, and present practical examples. We are thus addressing municipalities and academia.”

How tools help municipalities deal with crises

The study “Resilience in the Smart City” illustrates how cities and municipalities in the digital age can better prepare themselves for more frequent crises and negative events, for example as a result of climate change. Digital solutions help: They often make it easier to assess complex interrelationships and the effects of decisions. The publication presents corresponding practical examples.

These include

  • Sensors that collect data on air pollution,
  • tools that support a decentralized and therefore resilient energy supply, and
  • IT solutions that operate independently of the power grid and maintain communications in the event of a disaster.

According to the study, municipalities should systematically anchor resilience in their decisions and invest in human and financial resources for this purpose. Already in the development of a digital strategy, they have the opportunity to formulate guidelines for robust and at the same time adaptable systems. Cross-cutting officers in local government, such as a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), provide support in carrying these guidelines into all departments.

Data platforms: Information on air pollution, noise levels or parking situation

The second study published, entitled “Urban Data Platforms,” examines the diverse use cases and user groups of data platforms. Municipal, but also private actors integrate the data collected via the platform into innovative applications, for example to provide information about air pollution, noise pollution, parking situation or traffic light switching. In this way, intelligent lighting systems can be deployed and traffic flows can be visualized and controlled in order to optimize traffic flows, for example with a view to reducing emissions.The authors emphasize that a municipality must actively participate in the development of the data platform in order for it to develop its full benefits for them. The study therefore also contains recommendations on how to successfully set up a platform. It becomes clear that municipalities face different challenges in this regard. These include, for example, the question of whether an urban data platform should be implemented for an individual municipality or whether supra-municipal cooperation makes more sense.

MPSC research

The publications “Resilience in the Smart City” and “Urban Data Platforms” are the result of accompanying research by the Coordination and Transfer Office (KTS) of the Model Projects Smart Cities (MPSC). BBSR coordinates and manages the research activities on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB). Interested parties can access the two new publications online.

Printed copies can be ordered free of charge here: in der Smart-City:

Urban Data Platforms:

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