Quality of life, innovation, resource efficiency – and overall social inclusion.
Vienna’s main strength in the smart city context is the city’s holistic and interdisciplinary approach that unites actors from different areas of the city administration and affiliated organisations. In contrast to other smart cities, Vienna does not primarily focus on new technologies and sensors but combines sustainable, innovative and – most of all – social aspects to guarantee and maintain Vienna’s high quality of life.
Smart City Wien stands for a holistic approach to meet the challenges that cities are facing today. The focus of our work covers all areas of life, work and leisure activities and their influence on urban development. As a result, the main focus areas of the initiative are energy, mobility, buildings and (ICT) infrastructure. The main goal is to achieve the best quality of life for all inhabitants of Vienna while minimising the consumption of resources.
The first historic step was the development of the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy, which was adopted by the Vienna City Council on 25 June 2014. The Smart City Wien Framework Strategy is a long-term umbrella strategy until 2025.
The Smart City Wien Framework Strategy was developed in a stakeholder process, which asked all stakeholders inside and outside the city administration to participate in either general consultation teams or teams focusing on specific issues. Thus, the strategy is built on the support of the various municipal departments, citizen initiatives, and private partners.
The vision: Vienna will significantly reduce the amount of resources the city consumes while at the same time maintaining social cohesion and continuing to offer a very high quality of life to all inhabitants. The framework also defines goals and goal hierarchies as well as specific strategic approaches. At the moment, the city is working on improving the indicators used to measure the progress on the different goals defined in the framework strategy.
Involving the citizens in the initiative is important but, at the same time, a challenge. As a long-term and holistic initiative, the Smart City Wien project can only work if it is developed and shared with the citizens. After all, they are the ones who are affected by the city’s development in their daily lives. However, before being able to promote a fruitful cooperation with the citizens, they need to be introduced to the topic of “Smart City Wien”. Building awareness, for example through events and social media, is therefore an important tool for the Smart City Wien initiative.
The Vienna City Administration is drawing on information and communications technology (ICT) to steadily expand its services for citizens and businesses. Various online services and participation models have been developed to raise people’s quality of life and preserve Vienna’s attraction as a business location. ICT has a supporting function in our vision of a Smart City Wien.
Being a “smart citizen” in Vienna can be achieved in various ways, and Smart City Wien is accompanying us in our daily lives – by using renewable energy, by switching from car to bike, but also by being part of an innovative start-up that develops technologies to assist migrants in the job seeking process. The most important fact is that Smart City Wien is securing our social inclusion efforts and our quality of life.
The Smart City Wien Agency provides the platform for all stakeholders involved in the sustainable development of the City of Vienna to meet and exchange knowledge. The agency is in regular contact with different departments of the City of Vienna, e.g. the Municipal Department for Urban Development and Planning, the Municipal Department for Environmental Protection, the Municipal Department for Energy Planning, and many more. Moreover, the agency is the central contact point for Smart City topics for all stakeholders from research institutes and universities to businesses and the citizens of Vienna.
In many projects, and in close cooperation with companies, research institutions and the citizens of Vienna, the city aims to achieve the vision laid out in the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy. One concrete example of such an initiative are the citizens’ solar power plants by the city-owned energy provider Wien Energie. By investing in community-funded solar power plants, the Viennese have the opportunity to participate in the development of renewable energies. The first citizens’ solar power plant opened on 4 May 2012 in the north of Vienna, with 2,100 photovoltaic modules and an output of 500 kilowatt peak (kWp). The energy is fed into the Vienna power grid and provides solar power for approximately 200 local households. In 2016, the 22nd citizens’ solar power station has opened – with more to follow.
Another example is the “aspern Vienna’s urban lakeside” project. The construction of aspern Vienna’s urban lakeside will be completed in the northeast of the city by 2028. In the future, 8,500 housing units will accommodate 20,000 people there. With a 240-hectare project area, it is one of Europe’s largest urban developments, it is a city within the city.
Each city chooses its own definition of “smart city” and has its own priorities to solve the problems that are similar for all cities such as resource scarcity, climate change, and population growth. The diversity and uniqueness of each city is extremely positive and can occur under very different approaches to the subject of “smart city”.
Smart City Wien has its own definition, too. Our ultimate goal is to offer the best quality of life for all citizens in Vienna through the use of comprehensive innovations with maximum resource conservation. The focus is on the people and on social inclusion. Smart City Wien is a city where the citizens enjoy the highest quality of life by using the latest innovations and an efficient resource management.