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Berlin – a Smart City

Berlin is very much en vogue – with people moving to Germany's first city by the thousands year after year. The Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office estimates that the city's population will grow by roughly 250,000 new residents between now and 2030. Over the same period, the age average of Berlin's population is expected to rise from 42.3 years (2011) to 44.2 years. As a result, the city is facing a number of challenges: Infrastructure, mobility and resource requirements are growing in sync with the demand for housing. City hall has responded by passing a new urban development concept – the smart city strategy for Berlin.

Smart City Concept – the Future of Urban Living

With its smart city strategy, Berlin is at the forefront of the latest trend: More and more metropolises around the globe are pursuing such concepts with the following objective: In order to face up to the environmental, social, economic and cultural challenges of tomorrow, smart cities are seeking to exploit the diverse options created by digital information and communication technology.

As it is, more than 300 research groups and researching companies work on interdisciplinary projects aimed at creating the city of the future. These projects focus, inter alia, on the following aspects: raising the resource-efficiency and carbon-neutrality of Berlin by 2050, enhancing the city's international competitiveness, creating a pilot market for innovative applications, and intensifying the networking on the regional, national and international level. There are many examples for smart technology. A case in point would be intelligent electric meters that capture the actual energy consumption in real time and thereby help consumers save energy. Another example would be so-called smart grids that will have the capacity to integrate decentralised storage systems into their energy management.

Smart Living in Berlin

Smart living is one of the key fields of development activity in the smart city of Berlin: Due to the rising demand for new housing, for instance, various projects seek to upgrade the management of new-build residences and neighbourhoods. Smart approaches are also under development for existing apartment and building portfolios – contemplated solutions including the potential use of residential buildings as sources of solar energy or the development of so-called smart homes. Eventually, the process will deliver the apartments of the future, where certain mechanical and electrical engineering features will be digitally controlled and networked.