Foto: SOL4 Büro- und Seminarzentrum Eichkogel

SPRINKLE - Smart city governance processes in small and medium-sized cities

The project aims at comprehensively analyzing existing approaches for the coordination and regulation of Smart City development in small and medium-sized cities. In the context of case studies, this study will combine the analysis of relevant legal-institutional frameworks as well as of governance processes for selected, energy-related fields of urban activity.

Short Description




Starting point/motivation

In Austria, as in Europe, the discussion around Smart Cities has so far been mainly concentrated on large urban areas. In contrast, there is only little adequate information and knowledge available about Smart City activities in small and medium cities at the moment.

In many of these cities, a multiplicity of approaches do already exist to foster energy savings or increase the percentage of renewable energies- and this both within and outside borders of communal influence. In this context, we have seen the rise of new urban policy models, which often starkly contrast with the relevant legal-institutional framework and governance processes of large cities: approaches and measures adapted to these local circumstances need to be implemented and in some case will still have to be developed.

While large cities are for instance composed of relatively well equipped and specialized municipal bodies and often have city-owned Infrastructure companies and energy service companies, small and medium cities are facing the challenge of having to deliver "smart" targets and goals in the presence of much more modest resources and capital. For this reason, small and medium cities are to much a greater extent dependent on the cooperation with "non-municipal actors".

On one side, this means that the importance of (individual) local stakeholders and initiators is comparably higher. On the other side, this also means that the cooperation with external Players for the organization of intra-communal change management processes is much more important than in greater urban areas.

Contents and goals

The project aims at comprehensively analyzing governance structures and processes for Smart City development in small and medium cities in the context of selected energy related fields of activity. Urban governance describes the whole array of activities aimed at the coordination and regulation of an urban area.

From an institutional and organizational perspective particular interest shall be devoted to questions related to competencies, regulatory instruments, resource allocation etc. From a procedural perspective, the focus is on the reconstruction of the logic of actors, their specific constellations, interests, and problem awareness as well as on the logic of decision-making processes and communication.


The chosen research approach is founded on the systematic comparison of selected case studies of small and medium cities that already have experiences in the development of Smart City strategies and in the implementation of related measures and projects.

Expected results

Through the consolidation of different perspectives of Smart City development (Urban development practice and planning, legal-institutional perspective, actor-centred perspective on governance processes) the project results in the elaboration of new knowledge on Smart City development in small and medium cities.

More specifically, barriers and drivers of existing governance structures and processes shall be identified and recommendations for the overcoming of these barriers and a set of measures for the successful development and implementation of Smart City strategies for small and medium cities in general shall be derived.

Project Partners

Project management


Project or cooperation partners

Contact Address

Dipl.-Ing. Ursula Mollay MA MSc
Franz-Josefs-Kai 27
A-1010 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 533 87 47-0
Fax: +43 (1) 533 87 47-66

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