Urban governance & planning

© Photo Konstantin Sutyagin - Fotolia

Governing the transformation towards a smart city

© Photo pressmaster

Apart from the eight fields of innovation directly targeting specific sectors in a city (mobility, energy, etc.), three cross-cutting areas of innovation are present in all areas of urban life and must be considered consistently. One such cross cutting theme is urban governance & planning, or the “steering” of urban systems. Governance of the city can be both "top-down" coming from the city authorities, as well as "bottom-up" characterized by impulses from civil society and other non-state actors. The governance arena is characterised by interaction taking many different forms between many different actors.

 

Why is governance and planning so important?

 

Various early lessons from the Morgenstadt Initiative made clear that effective political leadership is of significant importance for the transformation process towards a sustainable and smart city. A strong leadership, stimulating innovative strategies; motivated city employees; a committed and unified city or municipal council; and a wide-reaching and well-executed citizen participation activities are all important preconditions for effective interventions.

 

For whom is this field of innovation interesting?

 

For everybody! The Morgenstadt Innovation Network provides your city or your company with valuable tips and suggestions in this important field of innovation. In this context, the network can also assist will improved collaboration between cities and companies. With our extensive experience and linked in with the know-how of the interdisciplinary Fraunhofer team, we speak your language and understand the way cities, as well as companies function. 

 

Supporting internal governance processes within a city

 

An important starting point is to better understand the political framework conditions determined by the city’s own policies. We know the basic political constellations of many different cities and can therefore provide suitable comparisons with national or international pioneer cities. The ambition is to facilitate the diffusion of best practices through learning and to highlight areas where local conditions should be adapted. One example of this is the development of a Smart City Charter. Recommendations can be developed by key actors in the city and set into motion by decision-makers as an important early step towards becoming a smart city.

How can you prioritize the steps that need to be taken in your city? There are tools for this in our toolbox. The Morgenstadt City Index can assist, for example, a city employee or even a high-ranking leader to see in which area their city performs very well or where it is falling behind

 

© Photo Thomas Ernsting

Integrated planning

 

A second important factor linked to urban governance is integrated planning. "Silo thinking" is regularly identified at the source of many challenges faced by cities. The pursuit of sustainably demands an integrated approach, but the sustainability agenda in many cities is still conducted by departments divided along sectoral lines that do not work together effectively. In the framework of individual projects, City Labs or innovation partnerships, we help bring the relevant actors together and implement concepts collaboratively to overcome this disjointed approach.

 

Facilitating citizen participation through digital technologies

 

Effective integration of citizens and stakeholders in urban development has emerged as an important challenge for cities. The new media and online-based participatory procedures offer great potential for sustainable urban development. However, digital channels such as social media, online petitions and new interactive forms of participation significantly amplify friction between citizens and policy makers. For many cities and municipalities, the cost and benefits of digital participatory procedures are disproportionate. Management of online-based citizen communications requires a high demand of human resources with often limited tangible benefits. On the contrary, in some cases these channels are dominated by the overwhelming minority who push a narrow agenda.

A range of approaches and instruments for the effective management of digital participation and citizen communication processes already exist. However, practical application support, simplified solutions and professional expertise still lack. This would help municipalities to rise above the harsh reactive communication and exploit the full potential of digital media for participation.

 

This may be of interest to you:

 

Espresso

Espresso is a systematic standardization approach to strengthen smart cities and municipalities. It develops a regulatory framework for smart cities.

 

SMARTER TOGETHER

Munich is working on solutions for the viable city of the future together with numerous partners from business and science.

 

TRIANGULUM

Implementation of ICT / digitization, sustainable energy / efficiency and mobility projects in Manchester, Stavanger and Eindhoven.

SMARTilience

SMARTilience is developing a governance model for climate-friendly urban development and is applying it to the three German cities of Halle, Hamburg and Mannheim.