Villab – Exploration of a Villach innovation laboratory for the cooperative development of sustainable neighbourhoods

The "Villab - Probe" project serves to check the feasibility of an urban innovation laboratory to accelerate the transformation of Villach districts towards climate neutrality. Assuming positive feasibility, the cooperation with relevant stakeholders will be deepened and a business plan drawn up for a future innovation laboratory.

Short Description



Starting point / motivation

The city of Villach is an innovative industrial location with leading international companies, an important traffic junction for the Alpe-Adria region, a research centre in the field of microelectronics and, with a population of almost 63,000 people, the most important school, sports and cultural city in Upper Carinthia. The mission statement of the city of Villach defines sustainability as a natural basis for decisions. This principle is anchored, for example, in the urban development concept "STEVI: Concept 2025" (with the aim of compact, sustainable urban development) as well as in the internal model of the municipality ("Villach lives green" - directive or climate-neutral municipality by 2030).

In line with the Paris climate goals, the strategic and internal administrative initiatives are to be transferred to the rest of the city. The main challenges for Villach are the extensive existing infrastructure of buildings and energy systems as well as mobility services, the majority of which are not owned or operated by the city of Villach. Individual successes in cooperation, for example in the field of heat supply with renewable energy, have been achieved in the past. In order to achieve the Paris climate goals, Villach needs new approaches, methods, processes and partnerships to direct private capital into sustainability-oriented investments.

Contents and goals

The idea for the innovation laboratory Villab is to accelerate the transformation process towards climate-neutral neighbourhoods and to increase the climate-friendly effect of implementation measures. Assuming that the technological readiness of green-tech innovations is fundamentally available, the planned innovation laboratory should take care of increasing the integration maturity of climate-friendly technologies and services. With sustainable urban development and climate-neutral construction processes, the innovation laboratory is intended to support two essential processes in the city.

Therefore, Villab will

  1. aid the expansion and strengthening of the innovation ecosystem in Villach and the expansion of human resources for multi-stakeholder processes,
  2. develop and provide specific key processes (financing & subsidies, new business models, private law contracts, participation processes, information & campaigns),
  3. support the development of competencies and resources for innovative climate protection measures (buildings, energy, mobility, green & blue infrastructure, public space) and
  4. use digitalization and data management as a transparent basis for the simplification of processes and for the preparation of decision-making bases for all stakeholder groups.

As part of the exploratory project, specific quarters are identified for the future innovation laboratory in Villach - the so-called "Innovation Districts".


The planned Villab innovation laboratory provides for systemic and integrative urban transformation management for small and medium-sized towns. The exploration project therefore deals with

  1. the updating and deepening of the framework conditions for the existing ecosystem,
  2. the conception and feasibility study for an urban innovation laboratory in Villach,
  3. the further, needs-based development of the innovation ecosystem for the innovation laboratory in Villach and
  4. the creation of a business plan for the planned innovation laboratory.

Expected results

The "Villab - Probe" project serves to check the feasibility of an urban innovation laboratory in Villach. Based on the feasibility analysis, the cooperation with relevant stakeholders will be deepened and a business plan for the development and operation of an urban innovation laboratory in Villach will be drawn up.

The exploration project "Villab" is being implemented in close coordination with the "Fit4UM" R&D service. The R&D service serves to revise the overarching strategies with the target horizon 2030 in order to take into account the increased requirements of the Paris climate protection agreement and the changed European requirements.

The exploration for the innovation laboratory starts at the operational level and ensures the needs-based conception of the innovation laboratory in accordance with the requirements of the innovation ecosystem in Villach.

Project Partners

Project management

City of Villach

Project or cooperation partners

  • smartwärts e.U. - DI Gerhard Lang
  • Silicon Austria Labs GmbH
  • KELAG Energie & Wärme GmbH
  • Zentralraum Kärnten+ - Association for the promotion of intermunicipal cooperation for the central area of Carinthia
  • Office for resilient spatial and urban development e.U. - DI Ernst Rainer (Contractor for work)
  • reacct e.U. - Mag.a Karin Schreiner (Contractor for work)

Contact Address

City of Villach, Energy coordination
MMag.a Ursula Lackner (Stadt Villach, Energiekoordination)
A-9500 Villach
Tel.: +43 (4242) 205-4012