SUPERBE - Potential of Superblock-concepts as contribution to planning energy-efficient urban quarters

The exploratory study SUPERBE for the first time looks into the applicability and potential effects of Superblock concepts in an Austrian urban context in order to assess their contribution to energy-oriented urban planning.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

In light of the necessity to significantly reduce energy usage and to save emissions, new planning tools for the reduction of overall energy demand will have to be developed, especially for the sectors of transport and buildings.

The spatial configuration of urban structures - specifically streets as an extended living space of the adjacent buildings - provides an effective lever for enabling energy-efficient mobility solutions, lifestyles and economic systems. New planning instruments can strengthen centrality and short distances, succeed in achieving density and mixing of services, prioritise interior to exterior development as well as align the development of usage to the offer of mobility services within environmentally friendly (public) transport.

The location of a living space and the structure of the surrounding habitation do have a large effect on mobility patterns - and thereby on the energy consumption - of the population. Contrary to the imperative of reducing energy demand the overall Austrian energy usage is rising, most notably in the transport sector.

New planning concepts that foster spatial proximity, technological connectivity and sustainable forms of mobility can significantly add to reducing the energy usage in the sphere of living spaces. In this context a large potential exists to organise everyday trips in a more sustainable way and thereby reduce overall energy usage. A prioritisation of active forms of mobility in the vicinity of living spaces has a direct effect on the amount of energy that is used for mobility.

Currently a systemic approach is lacking to estimate the suitability of existing urban quarters in relation to the transport- and energy-related effects of an application of the Superblock concepts for the context of Austrian cities.

Contents and goals

In this context the project SUPERBE is setting three main research goals:

  1. Describing urban morphology types of city quarters as possible areas of application by using the city of Vienna exemplary for other Austrian cities,
  2. developing application scenarios for three areas of application, and
  3. elaborating general recommendations for implementation to evaluate possible implementation in Austrian cities and to prepare possible follow-up projects.


The research probe SUPERBE investigates the spatial organising principle of a Superblock for a possible application in the context of Austrian cities. This urban planning tool that is already in application in Barcelona and other cities allows for a realignment of transport priorities to organise streets as extended living spaces in accordance with the goals of a walkable urban environment.

The implementation of Superblocks offers potentials for energy savings by a reduction in urban transport demand, by shifting transport demand to more sustainable forms of transport, and by using streets for the purpose of integrating green infrastructure for a betterment of the urban climate (prevention of the urban heat island effect).

Expected results

The expected outcomes are twofold: on the one hand, the scientific results will highlight further needs for research and will serve as foundation for that, on the other hand, the practical results can be transformed into follow-up implementation projects.

Project Partners

Project management

Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Transportation, Research Center of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering

Project or cooperation partners

  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH (AIT)
  • Florian Lorenz, Public-Relations Berater (FL)

Contact Address

DI Dr.techn. Harald Frey
Gußhausstraße 30/230-1
A-1040 Wien
Tel.: +43 (588) 01 23117