“We will continue on our path to becoming a ‘Digital City’”
Heidelberg to forge ahead with projects started as part of its bid for ‘Digital City’ award
Heidelberg will carry on developing as a ‘digital city,’ even though – after making it to the final – it did not ultimately win the national ‘Digital City’ competition run by the digital industry association Bitkom and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB). “It is a shame that we didn’t quite manage a victory,” said Heidelberg’s Mayor, Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner. “But that will not stop us working towards digitization. During the competition we received fantastic support from numerous partners who intend to keep on working with us. We want to take advantage of that fact.” Ultimately it was the city of Darmstadt that was crowned Germany’s ‘digital capital.’ This result was announced on Monday, June 12, 2017 during the German government’s ‘Digital Summit’ event.
“With our partners we developed a concept for a model digital city. Although we did not win the competition, we still want to build on that concept and continue on our path to becoming a digital city. Using the opportunities afforded by digitization, we want to keep improving quality of life for our citizens. That is why we will not be deterred from our plan of establishing a municipal digital infrastructure. I would like to thank everyone who supported us in our application,” said Prof. Würzner. Of the five German cities that made it to the final of the competition, Heidelberg was the only one from the state of Baden-Württemberg.
“Establishing Heidelberg as one of Germany’s model digital cities”
“With the help of our partners we came up with a large number of ideas in just a very short time,” said Nicole Huber, the City of Heidelberg’s coordinator on digital matters. “Several of our partners promised to carry on supporting us regardless of the outcome of the competition. We will keep working on the projects we started, so as to establish Heidelberg as one of Germany’s model digital cities.”
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.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/DigitalesHeidelberg (German language only). Full details of the Digital Summit can be found at www.de.digital/DIGITAL/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/it-gipfel.html and www.digital-gipfel.m-r-n.com (both German language only).