Lessons Learned: The Multifaceted Field of (Digital) Neighborhood Development


  • Madeleine Renyi PhD student, project manager
  • Dr. Anna Hegedüs Stiftung Lindenhof Tenure Track Position
  • Paul Schmitter
  • Fabian Berger
  • Thomas Ballmer
  • Prof. Dr. Edith Maier
  • Prof. Dr. Ing. Christophe Kunze




neighborhood development, technology implementation, lessons learned


In a cross-national project, 14 neighborhoods from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were accompanied on their way to digitally supported neighborhood work. This paper discusses general requirements, choosing a suitable digital tool, the implementation process as well as the challenges faced by the various stakeholders. The following factors have been found to play a major role in sustainable neighborhood work: good fit with overall development strategy, interplay between online neighborhood work and physical interactions, strong existing neighborhood management structures, strategic planning of digitalization activities, start-up funding for innovation activities, and above all, the presence of a committed person or team as well as interesting content to attract users. Depending on the neighborhood, self-managed and individualistic solutions are preferred to generic and/or commercial solutions. There is no ‘fit-for-all’ path to sustainable digitally supported neighborhoods.


Author Biographies

Madeleine Renyi, PhD student, project manager

Madeleine Renyi, M.Sc., is currently working as project manager at Gesundes Kinzigtal GmbH (Hausach, Germany). From 2013 till 2020 she was a research assistant at the care & technology lab (IMTT) of the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences (HFU). As a PhD student she is still associated to the faculty. The focus of her research activities is on collaboration in outpatient care.

Since 2017, she is a PhD student at the Department of Accounting and Business Informatics at the Institute for Information Management and Business Management (IMU) at the University of Osnabrück.

Dr. Anna Hegedüs, Stiftung Lindenhof Tenure Track Position

Dr. Anna Hegedüs, completed her doctoral studies regarding "Participation as a goal of care and therapy" at the International Graduate Academy of the University of Halle - Wittenberg (Germany) in 2020. She has several years of experience in nursing development and (especially quantitative) nursing research in the field of psychiatric nursing. She has been a research assistant at Careum from 2015 till 2021. Currently she holds a tenur track professor position at the University of Bern.

Paul Schmitter

Paul Schmitter, M.Sc., is a research assistant at the ZHAW since 2018. His focus is on digital transformation in facility managements in health care.

Fabian Berger

Fabian Berger, M.A., began his research career at the University of Lucerne, where he worked as a research assistant for "Qualitative and Quantitative methods in the social sciences" under Prof. Dr. Rainer Diaz-Bone. He then worked for three years at the Lucerne School of Social Work in the Competence Center Prevention and Health on the topics of community self-help, prevention of sexual abuse in children and participation of people with disabilities. Since 2017 he has been a research assistant at Careum School of Health, working on the topics of young carers, assistive technology and care givers.

Thomas Ballmer

Thomas Michael Ballmer, M.Sc., is a research assistant at the ZHAW.

Prof. Dr. Edith Maier

Prof. Dr. Edith Maier, MSc., is a full professor at the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences. She has a background in applied linguistics, social anthropology and information science, which makes her especially qualified for investigations at the interface between humans and technology.

Prof. Dr. Ing. Christophe Kunze

Prof. Dr. Ing. Christophe Kunze, is Professor of Assistive Technologies in Health Care and Head of the care & technology lab (IMTT) of the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences (HFU).






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