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The Kiel region on the way to becoming a smart region

Tiny Town Hall in Kiel

Photo: Smarte Kiel Region

The Smart KielRegion project has a clear goal: to improve the quality of life for people in the KielRegion. On the way to becoming a "smart region", digital technologies are in use. Whether demographic change and the associated shortage of skilled workers, the energy transition or climate change - German cities and municipalities are facing major challenges. This is also the case in the KielRegion, which includes the state capital Kiel and the two districts of Plön and Rendsburg-Eckernförde. To address these issues, the region is relying on smart technologies that already offer promising solutions and make a decisive contribution to a livable, sustainable and intelligently networked region.

The Smarte KielRegion project has set itself a clear goal: By February 2028, the region is to develop into a "Smart Region". This means that the opportunities offered by digitallebenization must be seized now in order to continue to increase quality of life for the people in the cities, villages and communities. "Keeping the needs of the citizens of an entire region in mind and making their everyday lives easier for as many people as possible is a goal we have set ourselves. To counter demographic change, for example, we are planning to develop a smart home for the elderly in cooperation with care experts and smart furniture for the home. In addition, people's expectations are constantly changing, and we want to take that into account", emphasizes Jonas Dageförde, Chief Digital Officer of the state capital Kiel.

Digital solutions should make everyday life easier and better for people in the KielRegion. In order to make the region fit for the future, the main task in the strategy phase was to involve local people in the development of the strategy and to understand their wishes and needs. Workshops as well as discussions with experts and political actors helped to better understand regional challenges and to jointly develop smart solutions. "Through early and extensive local participation, we have created understanding in many places and even enthusiasm for the topic of smart region in some", explains Ulrike Schrabback, Managing Director of KielRegion GmbH. One example of local participation is the "Tiny Town Hall," the world's smallest town hall that stands on wheels and comes to people in their towns and communities. Here, the exchange between administrations and citizens works quite simply, almost as a matter of course or even smartly.

New approaches and ideas, broad participation and open communication make regional development on the way to becoming a "smart region" an exciting process with great proximity to citizens. Current challenges are taken up by the team of the state capital Kiel and the KielRegion in order to develop smart solutions in model projects. The collected data is presented in digital dashboards and transferred into applications.

Selected smart region projects

The smart KielRegion is no longer in its infancy - the team has already successfully implemented numerous smart projects. A key success factor for this is the incubator program: it connects project managers of smart projects with each other to exchange insights and challenges and to offer assistance. A genuine "smart movement" has emerged from this project. Thanks to the participation of many stakeholders, the chances of success of individual projects increase. The following projects, among others, have emerged from the productive exchange in the "incubator": A VR film of the regional underwater world, which aims to promote understanding of the environment; "Room X," in which citizens can experience the development of their city and get involved interactively; and the development of sensor-based data that helps schools and municipalities keep fire exits clear.

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