Smart Cities Network Austria
The smart city initiatives, supported by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and the Climate and Energy Fund, enabled cities to renew and widen their focus on topics such as urban quality of life, innovative technologies and integrated urban planning. In view of the European and national climate neutrality targets and the associated increasing importance of cities for reducing CO2 emissions, these discussions are the first crucial building block for developing future-proof mobility and energy supply solutions. Even if Austrian cities' priorities differ, commonalities arise, among others, in strategic approaches. In the past, cities have often exchanged those experiences in informal formats within the cities and between them. However, the holistic decarbonization of existing systems requires, in addition to comprehensive, strategically oriented approaches and the involvement of numerous relevant actors (e.g., funding agencies, local authorities, decision-makers, energy suppliers, etc.), access to innovations and the continuous learning from and with others.
The Smart Cities Network Austria aims to strengthen this approach and supports and connects those pioneer cities with a strong commitment to smart city concept implementation and future-oriented climate change adaptation. These cities are Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Villach, Klagenfurt, Innsbruck and Linz.
The Smart Cities Networks' primary goal is to support and accelerate municipal innovation processes (including interdisciplinary working methods and multi-level governance approaches). Through a coordination office (located at the Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning and Housing) that organizes various city-tailored networking formats, actors from municipalities can conjointly develop solutions to local challenges with stakeholders such as housing companies, businesses, city-related and research institutions. The formats further allow for conceptual discussions on approaches to strengthen organizational structures in cities and experience exchanges to generate innovative project ideas and debate strategic developments. A successful exchange on such sensitive subjects requires a solid foundation of trust, ongoing communication, and a shared understanding of the cities/city administrations' concerns and the "language" of research. Compared to existing formal and informal networks in Austria, the Smart Cities Network proactively works to meet these requirements and, in addition, provides a direct communication channel between the BMK and the cities. As a result, the network is expected to continuously contribute concise, needs-based research questions and topics for funding schemes and generate various joint research and implementation projects.
Achieving these goals requires a conscious interaction of a multitude of actors, depicted in the organizational model below. The Smart Cities Network's core is the triangle BMK - cities - coordination office, which can be extended (topic-related) to other national and international actors.
The cities shape the content of the network. A roadmap (developed by the cities) outlines the main topics of interest for the next years, which are then pursued by different yearly activities. Since the initiation of the network, the participating cities have conducted a multitude of national and international (research and implementation) projects (either on a cross-city or individual basis) in the following topic areas:
- (Spatial) Energy planning and
- Sovereign top-down instruments
- Climate protection - decarbonization
- Plus-energy districts
- Climate change adaptation
- Mobility - innovative mobility solutions
- Integrated planning, processes and governance - standards in planning processes
- Legal frameworks (sovereign law, civil law)
- Public participation and involvement
- Urban quality of life
- ICT / data availability / open data / digitalization in planning / construction processes
The cities of the Smart Cities Network are also "climate neutrality pioneers"! Supported by the R&D service "Fit4UrbanMission - preparation for the EU mission "100 climate neutral cities" of the 8th City of the Future call of the BMK, the seven smart cities will in the upcoming year develop goals, visions, strategies, measures, roadmaps and capacity and financing plans for becoming a "climate-neutral city".
The network is open for the participation of further cities. The network is suitable for all Austrian cities that address cross-sectoral climate neutrality topics (such as plus-energy districts, energy space planning, climate change adaptation, integrated planning and planning processes, and digitalization) through (mostly smart city) strategies. Active participation in the Networks' exchange formats and the ambition of mutual learning are prerequisites for a cities' participation.
Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
Tel.: +43 1 711 62-652933
SIR – Salzburger Institute for Regional Planning and Housing
Schillerstraße 25, 5020 Salzburg
Tel.: +43 662 623455 23
Tel.: +43 662 623455 26