PRoBateS - Potentials of planning and building legislation for energetically sustainable city structures

The aims of this project are to analyse planning and building legislation in order to identify barriers, potentials and suitable courses of action for energy-orientated policy measures. Specific policy recommendations are developed with a view to increasing the sustainability of energy-related city structures. For these purposes the project combines two different disciplinary approaches: a thorough legal analysis and a spatial structure and quantitative impact assessment.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

In order to achieve ambitious goals in climate protection and resource conservation, cities are facing the challenge to develop innovative instruments and strategies in the energy and building sectors.

In a number of European cities, planning and housing legislation has become a means to achieve energy policy goals and establish more energetically sustainable city structures. A duty to use solar energy or specific heating-systems may serve as example as well as urban development contract that obliges the builders to conform to strict energy-efficiency criteria.

The introduction and implementation of new instruments as well as the transferability of good practices require a thorough analysis of the legal-institutional context. In addition, the potential for energy-orientated solutions largely depends on the spatial structures of cities.

Contents and goals

This project combines a legal analysis of drivers and barriers in the relevant planning and housing legislation with a technical planning perspective. Based on a typology of urban fabric types the potential of different legal measures will be assessed quantitatively and with a view to location (spatial structures) at the level of the City of Vienna as a whole as well as on the level of selected neighbourhoods.


At the citywide level, the focus will be on the question to what extent different law and policy measures could be implemented (high or low potential for implementation, analysis of statistics and spatial data). At the level of selected neighbourhoods, the focus will be on the specific effects of such measures based on given indicators (e.g. energy consumption, share of renewables, CO2 emissions) which will also allow to transfer findings to other neighbourhoods.

Expected results

The project shows options how the existing legal instruments could be developed and how far good practices from other cities could be implemented and aim to give specific recommendations for political action. Combining the legal and technical planning perspective allows new insights that can contribute to more energetically sustainable city structures.In connection with a context-sensitive analysis of existing good practices learning processes for the Austrian energy policy can be instigated and potentials in the fields of planning and building legislation can be identified.

Project Partners

Project management

Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna)
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance

Project or cooperation partners

AIT - Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH - Energy Department

Contact Address

WU Vienna
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance
Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner
Welthandelsplatz 1, Building D3
A-1020 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 313 36-4662