CIT City in Transition - A Model for Comprehensive Renewal Processes to Increase the Value of Urban Areas

By means of pilot projects in two urban areas comprehensive goals and criteria, assessment approaches and a code of practice for sustainable urban renewal are elaborated jointly with decision makers and experts in urban development.

Content Description




CIT City in Transition - A Model for Comprehensive Renewal Processes to Increase the Value of Urban Areas


CIT stands for "city in transition" and shall communicate the necessity of a new access to the development and modernization of our towns and municipalities considerably. We chose this English title quite consciously: »City in Transition« stands for »City in movement, in change, in alteration«. Exactly this kind of transition is needed by our towns and urban settlements. Austria losses 20 Hectare of land per day; the burden of transport reaches the borderline of acceptance in some Austrian regions, and we will not succeed in the fulfillment of our Kyoto-Targets, as well. Keyword Climate protection: One can be shure, Austria will not meet the Kyoto-Targets also on the long term, if we will not change our . policy on housing. New developments of buildings and settlements should be only the second choice, major renovation of existing dwellings the first choice. The results of CIT can support the necessary transition process in kind of a toolkit for sustainable urban development.

Working method

During the project duration the project team has been searching for those of international and national projects, which might be a useful help in interdisciplinary decision processes, done by heterogenic decision makers. Thereby methods of multi-criteria assessment and decision making are in the focus of CIT. With this background, CIT developed three different parts of a common methodology for contend-related aspects and organisation of decision making procedures in urban development. Experiences by a pilot project in Vienna (in which we tested the tools for half of a year) helps us to do some further developments of the CIT-Toolkit. By these kind of project design, about 30 experts and stakeholders from planning, policy, economy, and administration supported the development of the tools.
Our thanks and respect is given to all of them.

Intended objectives

Cit has been dealing with

  • Definition of criterions, and main targets of a sustainable urban development, and urban refurbishment processes. (CIT criterion catalogue & indicator set)
  • Development of an easy to use assessment method for sustainable urban development, and urban refurbishment processes (CIT-Assessment method)
  • Documentation of a process design for sustainable urban development (CIT-process method)
  • Testing and further development of these tools in a field study in Vienna
  • Publication of all results (which is given by this report)


General argumentation line: Based on calculations about potential energy savings in the housing sector the following can be assumed: Austria will only reach the Kyoto targets, if we will take strong investments into the major renovation of buildings (including the upgrading of the thermal envelope). The enhancement of dwellings and the living environment results to energy savings also in the transport sector, and the private households. Nearby two-thirds of the Austrian population is living in agglomerations (including the agglomeration centre, and their urbanised neighbourhoods). This is the reason for a main strategy "modernisation of urban districts and settlements" is necessary.

CIT - Toolkit

  • CIT criterion catalogue & indicator set for sustainable urban development: Ecological, social and economic criteria for comprehensive renovation processes in urban areas are collected. In a second step measurable indicators are derived from these criteria in order to facilitate the problem analysis and the description of the urban area. The indicator set is divided into seven topics: demography & population; housing & construction; mobility; economy & local services; free spaces; environment; social affairs, diversity, and culture.
  • CIT assessment : Based on the indicator set the assessment model is evaluating various development options regarding their contribution to sustainability. Decisions of public authorities on alternative actions and investments for urban development can be fathomed with this tool in the best possible way according to the principles of sustainable urban development.
  • CIT code of practice for participatory urban development processes: Participation and consensus oriented planning and decision making for sustainable urban renewal are tested in practice and processed in a code of practice for all target groups. By including various stakeholders in planning and decision making processes, public measures and investments shall achieve broader acceptance by inhabitants and economy
  • CIT- Guide for practitioner: All results have been collected into the CIT - Guide for Practitioner. This guide supports a large target group of different experts from urban development, politics, economy, and administration.

Pilot project"Wien Neubau West"

All of the tools have been tested in a field study for the development of a part of the 7th district of Vienna. The experience of this testing period is used for the relaunch of the toolkit during the project duration.


  • Even if the politics starts a process of new thinking, a comprehensive modernisation of cities gets possible. An important aspect is given by the re-arrangement of housing funds. At the moment we spent 80 percent for new buildings, and only 20 percent for retrofitting and renovation.
  • In addition to this, the funds should be spent only for building affairs again (and not for other affairs, as it has been done the last years). In future, an exception to this solution can be accepted only in the case of upgrading of the living environment of already existing town districts. If we succeed in major renovation of more than 25 years old building on low energy standard, we will realise a saving of greenhouse gases about 3,7 million tons! This calculation includes a renovation quota of 4 % per year.
  • In addition to the retrofitting of buildings we have to improve the quality of the housing environment (public transport, local supply, social infrastructure). The Indicator-Set of CIT includes a lot of different targets and criterions for the improvement of the housing environment, and secures the quality of life for the inhabitents. In addition to this aspect, these measures help to save energy in the transport sector ("city of short roads" - reduction of transport activities of the private households).
  • The fulfillment of the Austrain Programme on Climate includes a retrofitting quota of two percent. If we realise this quota, 11.000 additional jobs are added. (Source: WIFO 2002). If we realise the CIT quote of 5 percent per year, something about 25.000 additional are added.
  • The positive effects of an enlarged retrofitting activity predominate in sum in economic, social and environmental aspects. Comprehensive modernisation of towns and settlements fulfil the "triple bottom line" and offers a sustainable opportunity of the land development of Austria.

Project Partners

Project manager:

Robert Lechner
Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut

Project partner:

  • SNP architects


Robert Lechner
Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology
Seidengasse 13, 1070 Wien
Tel.: 01/5236105-0