The "Digital City" Competition
The Bitkom Digital Association had started the "Digital City" competition in collaboration with the German Association of Cities and Towns (Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund). The lighthouse project aimed to demonstrate how the city of the future could shape based on state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure and innovative solutions in the fields of energy and environment, transport, administration, health, education, trade, security, society, data platforms and IT infrastructure. Bitkom and its members (2,400 companies from the digital sector) wanted to establish the Digital City of Europe - away from single solutions towards a comprehensive and integrated approach. Its goal was a city serving as a role model beyond the borders of Germany.
Heidelberg faced the challenge...
... and engaged the competition with great support from science, business, politics and local public. As the only city from Baden-Württemberg, Heidelberg reached the final round together with the cities of Wolfsburg, Darmstadt, Kaiserslautern and Paderborn.
Establishing Heidelberg as one of Germany’s model digital cities
Although we made it to the final, it was the city of Darmstadt which was ultimately crowned Germany’s ‘digital capital.’ The result was announced on Monday, June 12, 2017 during the German government’s ‘Digital Summit’ event. However, Heidelberg will carry on developing as a ‘digital city'.
Through digital projects in a wide range of fields – including transportation, education, healthcare and public administration – Heidelberg wants to further improve its citizens’ quality of life. Central to these efforts is the integration of all areas of Heidelberg life into a coherent ‘smart-city’ concept.
Support for Heidelberg’s bid to win the award came from within the city and the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, but also from the Baden-Württemberg regional government, and from international partners. The application was backed by numerous companies and institutions including the University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg University Hospital, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and the global high-tech hubs of Palo Alto in California and Hangzhou in China. Workshops were held in which stakeholders from the fields of academia, business, culture, society and public administration were asked to set down their own visions for a ‘digital city.’ The visions were then presented at a public forum, and discussed on an online public-participation portal.