Civitas Digitalis

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Digital and Crowd-based Service Systems for the Establishment of Sustainable and Livable Living Environment 2020

Starting Situation

Chance: Digitalization for an extended range and depth of participation in civic participation

The isolation of individual social strata, the acceleration of social change and pace of life as well as alienation represent growing challenges for municipalities and make changes necessary. To transform cities to sustainable, adaptable, and livable environments, the digitalization of everyday life and the transformation towards a civil society with a strong need for dialogue, self-realization and cooperation, offer yet untapped potentials. In particular, an increasing willingness to participate in the creation and provision of services (co-creation) and the sharing of resources and offers (sharing), combined with digital networking, provide the opportunity to create new, needs-oriented and high-quality services, infrastructures, and projects. These can strengthen the community, involve citizens productively, meet their needs, counteract negative effects of demographic development and thus create a more livable and future-oriented living environment and work space. 

Aim of the project

Goal: Collaboration of civic, economic and local actors for socially beneficial service innovations

The aim of the project is to promote the development of new and needs-based offers for the smart service city of the future and to increase the quality of life of citizens by means of citizens' participation in urban development. They should be involved as active co-designers of services.


Solution approach: citizens' sensor, innovation laboratory and Civitas Digitalis platform

The Civitas Digitalis solution consisting of three partial solutions is developed and piloted in the project iteratively:

  1. The citizens' sensor provides a web-based participatory network for the collection and generation of new service ideas and the potential for improvement of existing services.
  2. IT-supported processes and techniques for joint co-creation (on-site and platform-based) are tested by the city, service companies and citizens for the innovation process building set.
  3. Finally, the Civitas Digitalis platform brings together the results in an integrated Internet platform and, thereby, enables the full implementation and control of co-creation and co-production to the development, improvement and transformation of innovative, high-quality services for the smart service city of the future.


Benefit: An expandable and transferable participatory value-added network for cities of the future

The cities of Hamburg and Kassel directly use the project results in the participation process and contribute to the transferability of the Civitas Digitalis solution. The project results are also piloted, prepared and transferred into the regular operation beyond the project runtime in further application areas (for example, in the construction of neighborhood centers) together with the implementation partners. In addition, the project results are passed on to experts and representatives of other agglomerations through transfer events (specialist lectures, trade fair and conference participations etc.) and publications of the findings, with the aim of implementing the Civitas Digitalis concept in whole or in part in other cities. 

Kassel subproject - "Awaken the Hercules in you"
Kassel is a dynamic, innovative, creative and social city - thanks to the people who live in it. As experts in their own everyday lives, they know best what ideas, projects and initiatives the city needs to make Kassel even better.
This is precisely where the "Civitas Digitalis" project at the University of Kassel comes in: Getting citizens actively involved in the systematic development of service ideas. Civitas Digitalis was driven forward at the Scientific Center for Information Technology Design (ITeG) in the Department of Business Informatics by Matthias Billert under the direction of Dr. Christoph Peters and Prof. Dr. Jan Marco Leimeister.  In the process, the business information scientists have been looking for ways for citizens, municipalities and economic stakeholders to shape the city as a service system.

From a simple idea to a well thought-out service solution
Together with the other project partners and in close cooperation with the city of Kassel , they developed the "Awaken the Hercules in You" portal: Through this platform, which can be easily used by citizens, , citizens of the city of Kassel have the opportunity to develop their simple idea into a well thought-out service solution. The concept is based on a multimedia, media-break-free approach that allows solutions developed by citizens to be systematically created and presented.
Citizens thus initiate their own service ideas, which they can then use as "prosumers" of socially desirable and high-quality services.

Project Partners


  • University of Hamburg –Business Information Systems, esp. socio-technical system design (project coordination)
  • University of Kassel – Department of Business Informatics
  • fortiss GmbH – An-affiliate-institute of the Technical University of Munich, competence field of open data & information management
  • City of Kassel – Research for more civic involvement
  • Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
  • Stadtwerkstatt, Hamburg
  • Department of Geo-Information and Cartography, Hamburg


The project “Civitas Digitalis” is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the project lead partner PTKA (Projektträger Karlsruhe am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie/KIT) (funding code: 02K15A050). 


  • Prof. Dr. Jan Marco Leimeister
  • Dr. Christoph Peters
  • Matthias Billert, M.Sc.
  • Jan Martin Persch, M.Sc.