The project identifies and discusses the cultural, social, and participatory challenges of digitisation and artificial intelligence (AI) for communities in its focus. It seeks to research the socio-cultural effects in varying municipal fields of activity and to put them up for discussion.

The following questions will be discussed:

-How can municipalities create a good life for their citizens in the age of digitisation?

-What local and regional decisions need to be taken now to prevent potential negative effects of digitization in the future?

The use of digitisation and artificial intelligence (AI) in local and regional infrastructures often holds the promise of positive effects such as higher efficiency of public services, reduction in costs, and better communication between citizens and administrations. However, while the technical-infrastructural level is usually considered, risks are rarely mentioned. At the local/regional management level, political decisions affect the quality of life and everyday life of citizens. Protecting the common good is a core responsibility of local and regional authorities. However, innovative pressure and belief in technology make it difficult to keep an eye on central objectives such as the common good and resource protection. Municipalities, however, have a decisive role to play in the process of weighing the interests of the market economy with those of the individual, public welfare, and the goals of sustainable development.

In addition to coordinating the project, nexus is conducting literature research, interviews, and focus groups. The resulting theories will be discussed and further developed with a feedback committee. With experts from local authorities, science, business, and civil society, a participatory feedback of the results will be facilitated. Finally, practical instruments will be developed, such as examples of good practices for concrete areas of application or future scenarios.

Project Cover-Up Digital Commune

Client: Umweltbundesamt
Duration: 08/2019 – 05/2022
Employees: Kerstin Franzl and Dr. Angela Jain (project leader), Dr. Thomas Blanchet, Ina Metzner
Project partners: Open Knowledge Foundation e.V.

Photo: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay