#14 What makes a Smart City – European Smart City Charter 2017

Important annotation:

The following article is based mainly on this brochure regarding Smart City Charter issued by BBSR in 2017 in German language. Additional information are respectively referenced – sources can be found in the end of this article, as well as in _Smart City Database.

I. What is Smart City Charter (SCC)

Smart City Charter is a set of guidelines and recommendations established in summer 2017 which support German cities and diverse municipal-related governmental units in process of sustainable digital transformation, which timeframe will end in 2040. It helps to define chances, risks and undesirable scenarios before and throughout the development process; it also aims on intermunicipal and interagglomerational cooperation including rural areas. Smart City Charter assists as well the implementation of German Sustainability Strategy (ger: Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie) and Sustainable Development Goals from UN (cf. BBSR 2017:9).

Its results are respectively published on Smart Cities Dialogue Platform set by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety BMUB together with inter-ministerial working group “Smart Cities and Sustainable Development” powered by IMA City and German Federal Government (Morgenstadt 2017).

SCC was designed based of following documents:

(cf. BBSR 2017:9)

For whom is SCC

  • cities, communes, municipalities, administrative districts, agglomerations, urban regions, metropoles, metropole regions, metropole agglomerations, countries, international/interregional/.. collaborations etc.
  • stakeholders from research, economy, civic, environmental etc. sectors

(UNH 2018)


II. Guidelines for Developing a Smart City

1. Digital transformation needs goals, strategies and structures

  • Smart City should integrate digitalisation with urban development process in the way that enables a sustain achievement of development goals
  • Through identifying the specific spheres of implementing digital services/infrastructures etc. and constant examining the effects of connectivity between them, the development strategies for further urban growth should be built
  • Smart City needs to adjust organisation structures of communes/municipal units etc.

2. Digital transformation needs transparency, participation and co-shaping

  • Smart City should strengthen transparency and democracy within its borders
  • It should secure the idea of integration, digital participation and inclusion
  • It should promote the cooperative nature of development processes

3. Digital transformation needs technical infrastructures, data and services

  • Smart City should enable an access to all digital infrastructures
  • All used datas should be generated responsibly and efficiently, while avoiding uncontrolled redundancy
  • It should provide long-term functionality of connected instracturtures and municipal services

4. Digital transformation  needs resources, competencies and cooperations

  • On governmental level a Smart City should provide all necessary personal and financial resources in order to enable sustain transformation processes
  • It should develop a wide range of digital competencies and promote life-long learning processes in order to respond agily to ever changing digital changes on a governmental level
  • It should promote building cooperations between economy and research markets, creating innovation and knowledge clusters

(cf. BBSR 2017:11-14)

A Smart City is ..

diverse and open – it supports a sustain, democratic and equality-driven social inclusion

participative and inclusive – gives integrative concepts for extensive and self-determined participation both in digital and analog way

climate-neutral and efficient in use of resource – “it promotes environmentally friendly mobility-, energy-, water-, sewage-, and waste concepts and contributes to CO₂-neutral, green and clean cities” (cf. BBSR 2017:10)

competitive and success-enhancing – it strengths local economy and new added-value-concepts, offering infrastructure solutions matching local characteristics

openness-driven and innovative – it creates innovative solutions by agily reacting to changes within the commune/city structure

responsive and sensitive – through AI tech, sensorics, data usage as well as new forms of interaction and learning impacts  processes and services within communal/municipal structure and urban space

secure and space-giving – it provides secure private and public sphere in digital and spatial way, without interferencing with citizens’ freedom and privacy rights

worth-living-in / worth-putting-one’s-heart-in – needs of people are a central objective of  urban development; a Smart City shall assist local initiatives, creativity, individuality and self organisation

(cf. BBSR 2017:10)


III. Main Fields of Action depending on stakeholders

# Establishing Smart-City-Strategies and enabling the societal and corporative dabete // cities, communes and administrative districts

# Connecting digital and analog participation processes (or processes that already work well in a given region) // communes and administrative districts

# Conducting analysis of needs, risks and possible impacts // communes together with research units

# Enabling inter-stakeholder co-creation processes; strengthening local economy and neighbourhoods  // country, metropole regions, agglomerations, administrative districts and communes

# Providing legal and regulatory frameworks  // country, metropole regions, agglomerations and administrative districts together with research units

# Conducting Smart-City-Solutions  // communes together with research-, economy and civic units

# Providing a free use of (Open) Data // communes and administrative districts

# Showing the high quality factor of digital transformation activities  // communes

# Providing demand-oriented financing options  // country, administrative districts and communes

# Implementing and expanding needed technical standardisations; integrating diverse users for more unifical technical solutions // country, administrative districts and communes

# Monitoring and reacting to sectoral and spatial impact that occurs during transformation processes // research units

# Promoting experience, knowledge and competence exchange between divers governmental units incl. communes // all governmental units

(cf. BBSR 2017:15-17)


Additional sources:


Title picture: http://www.greendigitalcharter.eu/tag/smart-cities

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