For the citizens of Darmstadt, digital processes are intended to make everyday life more enjoyable, efficient and environmentally friendly in many areas. The Ethics and Technology Advisory Board is helping to implement this project successfully and avoid the risk of almost complete digital control of humans, as is sometimes the case in the People’s Republic of China.

The composition of the Advisory Board, made up of highly qualified people from science, politics and business, also makes it possible to assess the challenges posed by digitalisation for our society in the best possible way from an ethical point of view and to implement the recommendations into the development process of Smart City Darmstadt.

The Advisory Board is composed of interdisciplinary experts from the fields of computer science, philosophy/ethics/education, sociology – industrial sociology, urban and spatial sociology with architecture and urban planning, as well as the field of environment and sustainability. In addition, one representative from each of the groups represented in Science City Darmstadt’s city council is appointed to the Advisory Board for each term.

The chairman of the board is Professor Michael Waidner as Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Science City Darmstadt.


Resolution of the Advisory Board of 13 June 2019


Digital technologies are to be developed and used for the benefit of people in all areas of urban life, according to the needs of citizens and those affected by the projects. In order to safeguard this and to counter potential threats to urban society as a whole and to individual citizens as a result of digitalisation, the following ethical guidelines should set a guiding and limiting framework for the use and design of digital technologies.

The ethics working group of the Ethics and Technology Advisory Board appointed by the city council has drawn up these guidelines. They apply to the actions of Digitalstadt Darmstadt GmbH, other municipal holdings and the municipal administration. The Ethics and Technology Advisory Board supports Smart City Darmstadt in particular in its role as a model city.

The digitalisation process must be committed to the common good. The aim of digital transformation must always be to improve social and/or environmental municipal services of general interest and other urban services. This should be done as economically and efficiently as possible.

The objectives, development, implementation and use of digitalisation projects must be subject to parliamentary control in accordance with the applicable/existing regulations. This also applies to companies with shareholdings of the city. We must not create new power structures that are beyond democratic control and threaten the fundamental rights, security and privacy of individuals.

The responsibility of democratically elected bodies for city decisions must be maintained. Automated procedures must not replace them. The criteria for automated administrative decisions must be disclosed. When communicating between the city and citizens, it must be made clear from the outset whether a machine is used.

The accessibility and usability of analogue services or corresponding analogue services must be maintained in order to enable all groups of the urban population to participate in society.

Public authorities and citizens must be able to confidently develop, operate and use digital infrastructures, platforms and basic services. Dependence on products and companies should be avoided.

Darmstadt wants to be a pioneer in data protection. Data protection must be taken into account from the outset when collecting, processing and publishing data. Personal data may be collected and passed on as little as possible. Personal data may not be sold. If the city or municipal companies pass on data to third parties, their responsible handling of the data must be regulated by appropriate usage agreements.

Non-personal data that is of democratically determined and legitimate interest to the public must be made accessible and made available to the public in a user-friendly manner.

In all digitalisation projects, the consequences for environmental sustainability, the provision of information and communication, mobility and health, social balance and the organisation of work must be examined and evaluated from the outset. All digitalisation projects should offer both current and future generations development opportunities.

In all Smart City projects, the vulnerability of the systems for services of general interest must be taken into account and their functional reliability must be ensured (cybersecurity).


Lord Mayor Jochen Partsch (Science City Darmstadt)

City Councillor Holger Klötzner (Science City Darmstadt)

Professor Michael Waidner (Fraunhofer SIT, CDO Science City Darmstadt)

Roland Jabkowski (Co-CIO Hess. Ministerium der Finanzen)

Dirk Dohn (Hess. Ministerium des Innern/Sport)

Frauke Janßen (Dt. Städtetag)

Kirsten Rowedder (Staatskanzlei Hess. Ministerin für digitale Strategie und Entwicklung)

Alexander Handschuh (Städte- und Gemeindebund)

Jens Mühlner (Bitkom e.V.)

Jürgen Planert (DGB)

Harald Holzer (HIGHEST)

Andreas Fauler (Beauftragter Region Hessen #cnetz e.V.)

Stadtv. Dr. Jürgen Deicke (Bündnis 90/Grüne)

Stadtv. Roland Desch (CDU)

Stadtv. Arne Herrmann (UFFBASSE)

Dr. Katharina Vocke-Schöhl (AfD)

Stadtv. Ulrich Franke (Die Linke)

Stadtv. Leif Blum (FDP)

Stadtv. Phil Lehmann (SPD)

Stadtv. Roland Cuny (UWIGA)

Stadtv. Frederik Jobst (Volt)

Prof. Dr. techn. Dieter W Fellner (Director of Fraunhofer IGD)

Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring (TU Darmstadt)

Prof. Dr. Petra Grell (TU Darmstadt)

Prof. Dr. Nicola Erny (Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences)

Prof. Dr. Christian Reuter (TU Darmstadt)

Dr. Joachim Schulze (TU Darmstadt)

Prof. Dr. Jochen Hack (Universität Hannover)

Prof. Dr. rer.nat.phil.habil Jan C. Schmidt (Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences)

Prof. Dr. Rudi Schmiede (TU Darmstadt)

Matthias Martiné (President IHK Darmstadt Rhein-Main-Neckar)

Prof. Dr. Arnd Steinmetz (Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences)

Prof. Dr. Jens Schneider (TU Darmstadt)

Prof. Dr. Carsten Binnig (TU Darmstadt)

Alexander Gemeinhardt (Schader-Stiftung)

Christian Nasedy (Bund dt. Architekten)

The Advisory Board

The purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide feedback from Digitalstadt Darmstadt GmbH to the management boards of the municipal holdings. Project implementation takes place in many areas of the city’s subsidiaries, which means that dialogue and consultation with those responsible at this level is essential for the successful implementation of the individual projects in Smart City Darmstadt.

The Advisory Board meets four times a year. Further meetings may be convened if at least a quarter of the members, management or shareholders of Digitalstadt Darmstadt GmbH request this.

The aim of the meetings is to develop a common understanding of the overall project, which enables a trusting collaboration for the next steps.

MEMBERS OF the Advisory Board

Lord Mayor Jochen Partsch (Science City Darmstadt)

City Councillor Holger Klötzner (Science City Darmstadt)

Professor Michael Waidner (Chief Digital Officer of Science City Darmstadt and Director of Fraunhofer SIT)

Professor Klaus-Michael Ahrend (Director of HEAG Holding AG)

Michael Dirmeier (CEO of HEAG mobilo GmbH)

Sabine Kleindiek (Director of Eigenbetrieb für kommunale Aufgaben und Dienstleistungen, EAD)

Clemens Maurer (Managing Director of Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH)

Sybille Wegerich (Director of bauverein AG)

Dr Marie-Luise Wolff (CEO of ENTEGA AG)

The organization of Digitalstadt Darmstadt GmbH

Field of action