Smart Pölten 2.0 Holistic view on a Vertical Farm in preparation for a demonstration project for the city of St. Pölten

The city of St. Pölten forsees great potential in Vertical Farming with regard to the objectives related to the concept of the Smart City program - linking local food production, quality of life by reducing resource consumption. This has to be evaluated by combining Vertical Farms with existing living buildings. Eco-social and socio-economic considerations play an important role in this process.

Short Description



Starting point / motivation

The increasing urbanization and world population growth with increasing demands on sufficiently fresh and high-quality food, produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner requires new solutions in crop cultivation and an increase in programmatic densification of urban areas. An innovative solution for this is Vertical Farming.

Despite its advantages such as the strong reduction of land use and water consumption in food production, Vertical Farms need a high level of embodied energy for construction. In addition, experience show up that it requires a longer period of time for new technologies to find the necessary acceptance among the population.

Contents and goals

This study is the basic research for planning and construction of a vertical farm as co-operative R & D project for the city of St. Pölten in 2018. Three chosen existing living buildings get enlarged by the programme for food production as Vertical Farms (e.g. facade renovation). Potentials from a socio-economic and energetic perspective are determined, synergy potentials between the functions of living and food production are investigated. The holistic approach of this exploration is carried by the involvement of the local population.


The chosen reference buildings are examined functionally, spatially and energetically. Through spatial studies - different constellations of the existing housing with volumes for Vertical Farming get developed. Potential urban public spaces get highlighted. A business model canvas is created for the existing building with the greatest potential.

In this concept phase, a citizen participation is made possible within the context of a Zukunftskonferenz (future conference) in the format of workshops. Wishes, needs and concretizations as results of discussions can thus be transferred to the preliminary design of the Vertical Farm. The results of the research project will be presented at the end of the research period at a final conference.

Expected results

The vfi has already energetically investigated several typologies of Vertical Farms. The hybridization of living space and food production leads to a strong reduction in heating consumption, both for residential and Vertical Farms. The overall energy consumption will be reduced - not only by the reduction of the embodied energy.

It is to be expected that with a sophistically planned integration of the citizens promising new socio-economic business models will arise. The findings from the energetic-architectural processes as well as from the discussions with the citizens will reveal opportunities and dangers with regard to the adaptability and scalability of this concept.

Project Partners

Project management

Magistrat der Stadt St.Pölten

Project or cooperation partners

  • vertical farm institute
  • Marketing St. Pölten GmbH
  • WPU Wirtschaftspsychologische Unternehmensberatung GmbH
  • Mag. Dietmar Schneller-Scharau
  • GrünstattGrau Forschungs- und Innovations-GmbH

Contact Address

Magistrat der Stadt St. Pölten
Rathausplatz 1
A-3100 St. Pölten