Syn[En]ergy: Development of Potential Synergy Effects between the Interdependency of Urban Planning goals and Photovoltaic Usage on Open Urban Landscapes

Open spaces such as parking lots, brownfields and some categories of recreation areas offer an underutilised potential for photovoltaics in urban regions. In the course of Syn[En]ergy an inter- and transdisciplinary approach potential synergies and conflicts with other use demands were investigated, a typology and practical solutions for selected areas with regard to requirements from economy, urban planning and design, legal as well social aspects developed, and then evaluated by stakeholders from enterprises, administration and the general public.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

Current scientific research on urban photovoltaic application possibilities and the development of specific approaches mainly focus on roof surfaces and similar building oriented structures. Similarly, legislative frameworks and planning strategies for urban areas tend to be in line with this development.

In contrast, urban open spaces have received less attention as potentials for photovoltaic usage. The Syn[EN]ergy project intended to improve the scientific research in this field of interest and to develop innovative solutions for photovoltaic implementations in urban open spaces.

Contents and goals

The use of urban photovoltaic energy has to meet legal, spatial, design oriented, technical, ecological, economic and social challenges. The photovoltaic oriented usage of open urban spaces is particularly desirable, when beside the sustainable energy production other synergy effects can be realised and therefore create an added value to cities and their residents. Moreover, such a multiple use can render sites more suitable for photovoltaic installations, where photovoltaics alone would not be economic.

Syn[EN]ergy as an inter- and transdisciplinary project pursued the following goals:

  • Investigation of synergy effects between photovoltaic usage on horizontal urban spaces and other uses as a basis for a sustainable urban energy production

  • Estimation of potentials and development of solution for photovoltaic oriented approaches on open urban spaces in the Vienna region as a contribution to a sustainable energy supply of urban areas

  • Development of new niches for the Austrian photovoltaic industry

  • Development and communication of new energy and resource efficient action oriented alternatives for stakeholders in private enterprises and public administrations as a contribution to energy transition

  • Development of typologies for photovoltaic oriented open urban spaces

  • Development of visualisation methods for photovoltaic projects as a basis for the investigation of social acceptance

  • Contribution to enhance the resilience of urban spaces through the research of social acceptance of residents and stakeholders regarding urban photovoltaic usage in every day landscapes

  • Discussion of communication oriented opportunities of urban development strategies for residents through the visible usage of public spaces with photovoltaic


The project implemented an inter- and transdisciplinary approach. Methods from social and natural sciences, economics and technics were integrated in a mixed methods design. The study area was the Vienna conurbation.

Expected results

  • Technical and economic calculation and extrapolation of urban photovoltaic potentials based upon social accepted concepts

  • Development of socially accepted photovoltaic concepts for urban open spaces

  • Web GIS mapping applications for the defined photovoltaic potentials in the Vienna conurbation

  • 3D augmented reality models (ARM) for the immersive interaction of real life landscapes as a new method for the evaluation of planning projects

  • Guideline for urban planning and landscape architecture to consider the renewable energy potential of open urban spaces in future developments

Project Partners

Project management

Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning (ILEN) / University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

  • Andreas Muhar
  • Boris Salak
  • Thomas Schauppenlehner

Project or cooperation partners

  • Institute of Landscape Architecture (ILA) / University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
    Dagmar Grimm-Pretner, Roland Tusch

  • Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)
    Ernst Gebetsroither-Geringer, Hans-Martin Neumann

  • NIKKO Photovoltaic GmbH
    Eric Sehnal, Lukas Horvath

Contact Address

DI Boris Salak, a.o. Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Andreas Muhar
Peter Jordan Strasse 82
A-1190 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 47654-7218
Fax: +43 (1) 47654-7209
Web: (starting in 02/2016)