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Is digitization leaving the countryside behind? A combative debate


Smart-city approaches are driven by the needs of business and not oriented towards the needs of citizens – this, at least, is what Gerald Swarat thinks. He’s head of Fraunhofer IESE’s Berlin contact office and author of the book “Smartes Land – von der Smart City zur Digitalen Region” (“Smart Countryside – from Smart City to Digital Region”).

For too long, digitalization was only meant for mega-cities and not for smaller communities. Is there currently no clear vision that a municipal digital agenda can be based on? Is there a lack of skills and qualified personnel to develop and implement digital strategies? Is there a danger that communities could become test rooms for international tech companies?

With "Order! Order!", Swarat will take on José David da Torre Suárez, managing director of the model project "Digital City-Darmstadt", in a digital discussion with his provocative thesis. The city of Darmstadt, with just under 160,000 inhabitants, is not a mega-city, but it is strongly networked: On its way to becoming a digital city, the Science City Darmstadt is to develop into an innovative and lively location for designing and testing digital smart city technologies.

A recording of the debate can be seen here.

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With the kind support of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.