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The New Hanse

How can cities use data to become more democratic and sustainable?

The New Hanse

How can cities use data to become more democratic and sustainable?

THE NEW HANSE: WE ARE HIRING

About

The New Hanse investigates the relationship between urban digital infrastructures, access to and deployment of data for the public interest; with tangible data-driven pilot projects that address real world challenges for the city of Hamburg. The New Hanse aims to showcase the potential of a citizen centered digital green city in a close collaboration between administration, science, industry and civil society. With a pilot project in the contested field of mobility data and by building legal as well as technical instruments to govern these data sources collectively, The New Hanse wants to create data intermediary – blueprints for other European cities and explore new concepts for the transformative use of data.

The city of Hamburg thereby becomes a civic laboratory for more democratic and sustainable futures, balancing out harmful economic externalities of treating at data as a commodity, not a commons. The intertwined relation between digital and “analog” urban space, the debates and regulation surrounding both provide a starting point for practical as well as theoretical investigations and interventions.

THE NEW INSTITUTE and Francesca Bria have designed this project in order to support the city of Hamburg in becoming the European capital of green digital transformation and tell a different story about the futures of (European) cities. Cities are accelerators of social differentiation, arenas of displacement, "markets of ideas" as well as places for knowledge exchange, political articulation, and trading. In times of crisis, city alliances have historically formed transnational alliances along common strategic and normative lines. From the late Middle Ages to the early modern age, the Hanseatic League not only sought to reorganize trade, but was also a project to preserve and distribute civil liberties. The New Hanse could be a starting point for a joint European initiative of progressive cities like Copenhagen and Helsinki promoting a sustainable data-driven democracy and reconnecting Hamburg to a tradition and past which could be its future.

Questions
  • How should we regulate the data generated by private companies in public urban spaces? What belongs to whom and what is the role of citizens, the companies and the public?

  • How do we set up the proper incentives for collaboration between actors and ensure a fair impact and a fair share of the externalities and wealth created by those data-based services?

  • How do we establish a form of data governance that preserves the digital sovereignty of citizens - and how should we govern relations between the participating actors transparently and democratically?

  • How to put in place technical solutions, protocols and digital infrastructures that are privacy-enhancing and protect the (data) rights and the digital sovereignty of citizens?

  • Can we find good examples of use of data to face and mitigate the impact of climate change in urban areas?

Art
Art

Paul Kolling, WB190621 No. 1-21, 2020 © Foto: Maik Graef

China’s Belt and Road initiative has been hailed as the new Silk Road. But few maps of its routes have been released to the public. In response, Paul Kolling strapped a GPS to a train departing on one of these – from Zhenzhou to Hamburg – and gathered satellite imagery of the entire journey. His work reveals one possible reason for China’s reticence in naming specific routes: the presence of Uyghur work camps. By mapping the blurred outlines of Belt and Road, "Westbound 190621 (1.968-3936)" hints at the ways technological systems can be used to expose as well as to control.

Curatorial Note
Status

As a first step, THE NEW INSTITUTE plans to identify concrete projects for a green and digital transformation within the city of Hamburg and work with the city administration on three concrete challenges in the areas of participation, data commons and net zero.

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PROGRAMMES

  • The Foundations of Value and Values

    What is a sustainable value system for the 21st century?

    The programme “The Foundations of Value and Values” is motivated by a recognition that there are differing versions of how society and the economy function – and encourages a thorough thinking through of these various approaches to their logical conclusions.

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  • The Future of Democracy

    Which governance structures and forms of decision making enable systemic change for a sustainable future?

    The programme “The Future of Democracy” explores how to make democratic decision-making processes and the respective institutions fit for the future – more responsive to contexts, more equitable, and more sustainable.

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  • Socio-Economic Transformation

    What is an economy that serves social well-being within planetary boundaries?

    The programme “Socio-Economic Transformation” aims to find alternative ways to measure progress and develop rules of digital governance directed towards public interest and the common good.

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  • Changing Mindsets – Changing Behaviour

    What role do behavioural changes play in socio-economic transformations?

    The programme “Changing Mindsets – Changing Behaviour” aims to forge novel interdisciplinary and trans-sectoral alliances, drawing together research from neuroscience, psychology, data science, sociology, philosophy and economics, among others.

  • Voices from the Past – Lessons for the Future

    How do social movements lead to systemic change, when and why? What can we learn from past protest movements to help us build a better future from the present?

    The programme “Voices from the Past – Lessons for the Future” is analyzing key-moments in Europe and beyond, treating change as a generational practice as well as an exercise in memory.

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