16. December 2014

Becoming a Smart City

Due to the global trend towards urbanisation, cities have become the primary living environment for humans in recent decades. To be able to offer the citizens a high quality of life, new forward-looking urban development concepts are required: Sustainable cities aspire to careful management of natural resources, intelligent mobility and communication systems as well as community residential and living spaces.

Smart City - The vision of an intelligent city of the future

The cities of the future are sustainable, energy efficient, and liveable

Due to the necessity of reinterpreting existing urban structures and their uses such as work, living, and leisure the "Smart City" concept emerged in Europe as overarching model of a sustainable city. This generic idea refers to holistic urban development concepts that use innovation intelligently and integrates it in the areas energy, traffic as well as information and communication technology, to make city life more efficient and more attractive.

Berlin, Cologne, Vienna - Exemplary “Smart Cities”

German cities such as Berlin or Cologne have already set themselves ambitious "Smart City" objectives. An efficient infrastructure, environmentally compatible mobility, exemplary climate protection projects and a high quality of life characterise everyday life in these cities. In addition, Austria's capital of Vienna with 1.8 million residents bears the title "Smart City" and sees itself as an "intelligent city" regarding innovative energy, mobility and infrastructure solutions.

Smart City Vienna: A liveable city

"Best quality of life with the most efficient resource conservation"- the key objective of the Smart City Vienna until the year 2050 is reinforced by more than 150 representatives from the city council, industry, research and society, who debated the further implementation of the Smart City framework strategy at the 7th Smart City Vienna stakeholder forum in early November 2014.

The concept adopted in 2011 is divided into the action areas - resources, innovation, and quality of life. One of the objectives pursued is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent per head by the year 2050. Furthermore, from 2018/2020, a lowest-energy building standard will apply to all new buildings and renovations. Comprehensive refurbishments of existing buildings are to contribute to the reduction of energy consumption by 1 % per head and year.
Keeping this overarching objective to become the city with the highest quality of life in Europe in mind, the framework strategy focuses on social inclusion and comprehensive participation and decision-making opportunities for the citizens.  Thus, social justice and equal opportunities are seen as key principles for making comprehensive life provisions.
Photo 1: Danube City is a central, modern part of the 22nd Vienna district. Its immediate proximity to nature and the spectacular view of the Danube make this part of the city particularly attractive. 
Photo 2: With "Aspern - the Urban Lakeside" a new multifunctional district for 20,000 residents will gradually be developed during the next 20 years in the north east of Vienna.
Photo 3: The Vienna museum district is one of the largest cultural sites in the world and is characterized by a high feel-good factor. Its inner courtyard is decorated with colourful outdoor furniture called „Enzi“ – a design of the Vienna group of architects PPAG, named after the former authorized representative of the Vienna museum district Daniela Enzi.
Photo 4: The Vienna Volksgarten was opened to the public as a public park in 1825. Well-preserved monuments, a lovingly tended rose garden, numerous seating facilities and a café encourage visitors to linger and recover.
Photos: Fotolia, Schreinerkastler.at

Vienna - The city of green spaces

Furthermore, the ample green spaces for leisure activities, such as the Vienna Forest (Wienerwald) and the Danube Island (Donauinsel), which currently cover approximately half of the city area, provide a high feel-good factor. Their contemporary preservation and expansion according to population growth in coming years is also a task set in the Vienna Smart City framework strategy.

EU initiative "European Smart Cities and Communities"

European flagship projects required

Politically the "Smart City" idea takes up the EU initiative “European Smart Cities and Communities”. This funding priority is part of the European research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020” and calls for cities, industry partners and citizens to develop together proposals for solutions for the areas energy, supply, traffic, logistics as well as information and communication technologies.
The EU provides funding for flagship projects setting the stage. Project proposals can be submitted until 05 May 2015. The Nationale Kontaktstelle Energie, www.nks-energie.de is among others responsible for the programme coordination in Germany.

Further Information

  • Smart Cities Week 2015
    From 04 to 06 March 2015, the expert symposium "Smart Cities Week 2015" takes place in Salzburg under the theme "A social and innovative energy future thanks to integrated system solutions". Presentations and workshops highlight various aspects of this challenge and demonstrate solutions. The event is hosted by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology as well as the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. The programme details and the online registration form are accessible from early January 2015 at: http://www.smartcities.at/service/veranstaltungen/smart-cities-week-2015/