SynENERGY - Energy optimised settlement development by making use of synergies of energy efficiency, spatial planning and building culture
Due to the "Gemeindestrukturreform" the two communities Weiz and Krottendorf have been merged in 2015. Thus, additional challenges as well as additional design options for the new, larger city Weiz have arisen. The city of Weiz, with its approximately 11,200 inhabitants, around 8,000 jobs in leading companies such as Siemens Österreich AG, Andritz Hydro GmbH, Magna Gruppe (Presstec, Autec und Fuel Systems), Lieb Gruppe etc. and 4,500 pupils (compulsory schools, secondary schools, vocational trainings) is a regional hotspot and also an important factor in economic, education and innovation for the entire region of eastern Styria. In terms of positive support for the development of a trans-regional acting city, the city government has to make immediate and long-term decisions for the urban development of selected neighbourhoods that optimally promote the economy, innovation, housing, mobility, energy and environment.
The planning requires increasingly integrative approaches and solutions, so that an innovative, resource efficient and sustainable urban development can be forced. So far, this integrative consideration of different aspects has rarely been realized in the urban development. Especially in the urban development of small towns energetic, spatial and social aspects have hardly been considered jointly and comprehensively.
Contents and Objectives
Spatial planning as a classical instrument of urban development should be complemented methodically within the project SynENERGIE, to optimally use the potential synergies of energy efficiency, spatial planning, mobility and building culture and thus achieve a high user acceptance of all stakeholders involved. Project objectives were the development of a new system design for energy-optimized settlements and urban districts as well as the development of the SynENERGIE concept that can be transferred as a method to other cities (method suitcase as procedural concept).
SynENERGIE differs from previous approaches and relies on the knowledge of comparative projects and the project team to optimally meet current needs of development action and of know-how.
The processing of the project was carried out using the following procedure: A methodical concept has been developed to ensure a complete acquisition of the relevant parameters of influence and to support the development of an optimal city design concept. Accordingly, expert interviews, surveys, field and best practice analyses were performed. Existing spatial planning methods and tools (software) were tested for applicability and practicality and subjected to a review by the project team. The SynENERGIE methods suitcase represents the results of workshops, expert interviews and development works done by the project consortium and has been tested based on selected focus areas in the city of Weiz. Parallel to the methodical development participation events, presentations and consultations with stakeholders were done. Also, a final participation workshop was organized, where the project results were presented to those responsible in the city of Weiz, including further experts and decision makers. Within this workshop the results and the framework conditions for the applicability and replicability of the SynENERGIE concept were discussed.
As result, the SynENERGIE concept (including the methods suitcase) can be presented, that has been proven based on selected focus areas of the city Weiz. The concept allows considering the following aspects within any further urban development:
- Objectives from the perspective of the city
- Spatial planning and building culture, thus conserving resources can be optimized at all levels
- Interests / needs of those affected / stakeholders
- Area analysis with relevant thematic areas (construction, mobility, energy and material flows, general infrastructure)
- Innovative concept (checklists and decision trees) for a practical applicability in future planning
In addition, the innovative design of the concept (checklists and decision trees) promotes a practical applicability in future planning.
This concept is intended to serve in the municipality of Weiz as a basis for the realization of corresponding structural projects.
Prospects / Suggestions for future research
The SynENERGIE concept as a coordinated package of methods for planning of urban districts is an important contribution for practical urban development. This development tool is designed and tested thus it can be used interdisciplinary by planners (spatial planners, energy, traffic and landscape planners), performers (construction, energy, transportation, natural environment), investors and policy. In the town of Weiz further urban development should take place using the SynENERGIE concept. For the purpose of the funding program "Stadt der Zukunft" and the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the use of this concept in other cities and regions is possible and can contribute to sustainable urban development.
Weizer Energie- Innovations- Zentrum GmbH