Resource efficiency and the climate crisis are big challenges for cities around the world. Vienna is taking up these global issues with flying colors, thanks to an innovative Smart City strategy.
Cities are growing; two in three people will live in cities by 2050. Cities are also responsible for three-fourths of total energy consumption and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – and therefore have special responsibility for the future. Vienna has long been working on sustainable urban development and with great success. Vienna was voted the world’s most livable city by the international consultancy firm Mercer for the tenth time in a row in 2019, was placed first in the “Global Liveability Index” of the “Economist Intelligence Unit” in 2018 and 2019, and also occupies first place in the Smart City Strategy Index of the corporate consulting firm Roland Berger.
Smart City Vienna Framework Strategy 2019-2050
Mission statement – from old to new
Smart City Wien is committed to the vision of a city where it is possible to live a good life. However, because Vienna conserves natural resources and uses them responsibly, this good life does not come at the expense of the environment and future generations. Concerning the UN 2030 Agenda, the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy is thus Vienna’s sustainability strategy, designed to guarantee the city’s future sustainability in all spheres of life.
Sustainable development is in no way a contradiction of urban quality of life; on the contrary, it is a basic requirement if the latter is maintained and improved in the long term. Radical conservation of resources, a focus on sustainable behaviors and lifestyles, and active, considered use of modern technologies create new qualities that make the city a pleasant place to live.
In Smart City Wien, living a good life means high quality of life for all. Having said that, of course, city life, being concentrated in a confined space, has always brought together a great diversity of interests, needs, and lifestyles. Recognizing this diversity and exposing, balancing, and negotiating conflicts of interest have already been a Viennese strength in the past and one that will continue to be sought after in the future. In Vienna’s interpretation, a Smart City is one that never loses sight of the “human scale”; a city that places the focus on the needs of local people in their diverse communities and lifestyles while opening up equal personal development opportunities for all.
Sustainable use of resources and working to create a sustainable, liveable city are only successful when everyone benefits – but equally, only when everyone plays their part. This socially sensitive and target group-oriented approach sets Vienna’s Smart City strategy substantially apart from the technology-led approaches of numerous other cities.
In Vienna, as elsewhere, new technologies and technical solutions have a useful role to play. Therefore, the city makes active, careful use of the associated opportunities, particularly those offered by digitalization, to realize its goals.
Smart City Wien means rethinking the city: high quality of life is not an achievement that can maintain through occasional minor readjustments. Smart City Wien is developing new perspectives for the liveable city of tomorrow. This process calls for creativity, imagination, and expertise. It means treading new ground, being open to change, and letting go of entrenched behavior and consumption patterns in many areas. The key tool for this purpose in the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy is thus wide-ranging innovation in all areas, but always focusing on people, their quality of life, and their opportunities in life. With this approach, Vienna is positioning itself on the international stage as a city that promotes in- novation, where tomorrow’s issues are being discussed, and viable solutions developed today.
Vienna’s mission in a nutshell:
High quality of life for everyone in Vienna through social and technical innovation while maximizing resource conservation.
The more distant the future, the harder it is to predict, yet all the more scope is available for farsighted policy-making. In this spirit, we see our vision of Smart City Wien in 2050 as a guideline for active management of the far-reaching changes that will occur under the banner of our Smart City mission in the next 30 years because the future is what we make. In 2050, Smart City Wien is a vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis.
Vienna recognizes social diversity as:
- a strength that boosts the city’s creativity and capacity for innovation;
- a liveable city for all – thanks to a wide range of good employment opportunities, a plentiful supply of affordable housing, a high level of material security, comprehensive public services, and social cohesion;
- a thriving location for business – Vienna’s expertise and Smart City products and services are exported worldwide;
- a digitalization capital – Vienna actively utilizes digitalization to drive innovation while focusing on people’s needs. Vienna’s policy of responsible, inclusive digitalization has evolved into a further USP for the city;
- aware of its responsibilities – the actions of the public, the business community, and the city’s policy-makers and administrators are guided by a high level of environmental awareness;
- largely carbon-neutral – new technologies and changed behavior have drastically reduced energy consumption, and there has been a successful shift to renewables;
- a city of short distances and lively neighborhoods – streets full of parked cars have been transformed into play areas and shared spaces with a high feel-good factor;
- more mobile than ever – everywhere in Vienna is within easy reach, by bike or on foot, by public transport, vehicle sharing, or self-driving e-taxis – with all that on offer, who needs their car?
- firmly in the green zone – a wide range of parks and green spaces in all neighborhoods, intact countryside and clean waterways provide space for recreation and physical exercise, while street planting and green facades make for a pleasant urban microclimate;
- well built – many of the buildings generate more energy than they consume; this helps both the environment and the citizens of Vienna, who benefit from cheaper housing costs;
- largely waste-free – consumer goods are durable, easily repaired, and recyclable at the end of their life; old buildings are “mined” as a major source of raw materials;
- in good health – not only are people living longer, but healthy life expectancy has also increased; the healthcare system focuses on staying healthy and active aging;
- well-fed – the agricultural enterprises in Vienna and its surrounding region supply high-quality organic produce that covers a large share of the urban population’s food requirements;
- a learning community for sustainable development – sustainable development of a liveable city is a key element of educational curricula; high-quality education and training and needs-based qualification programs are accessible to all and act as incubators for innovation;
- open to creative, unconventional solutions – culture and the arts are essential forces in society; the city leverages its creative potential to drive social change;
- an internationally recognized research center of European standing – Vienna attracts high-profile, top-flight experts, institutes, and research teams from all over the world;
- open to experiment – major societal issues are tackled in an interdisciplinary fashion; technical and social innovations are piloted in local “urban labs”;
- a fair city – women, and men enjoy equal opportunities in all spheres of life, paid and unpaid work is equally shared, and people can occupy diverse social roles regardless of their gender or cultural background;
- a “we” project that benefits everyone – the people of Vienna use a varied range of participatory formats to engage in joint discussion of future perspectives and play an active role in co-shaping Smart City Wien;
Building on values and strengths
Vienna has a long tradition to build upon: for generations now, a firm foundation of stable values has underpinned the work of the city’s policy-makers and administrators. The quality of public services and wide access to services of general interest is a keystone in Vienna’s high quality of life, which is evidenced by numerous international studies. Assuming municipal responsibility for the comprehensive provision of public services has long been a part of Vienna’s DNA. Farsighted long-term planning of infrastructure and the seamless continuity of social programs create a solid basis for the development of the Smart City. Several outstanding examples illustrate this:
For example, in municipal and non-profit housing association complexes, Vienna’s social housing stock comprises over 400.000 high-quality dwellings spread across the entire city. Thousands of subsidized flats are added every year. Over 60 percent of the Viennese population live in a home built or renovated with public funding, which plays a decisive role in ensuring a good social mix and affordable housing for all.
The public transport system is very extensive and provides fast access to almost all parts of the city. The route network covers around 1,200km and is continuously being extended, while the low fares and excellent reliability and quality ensure a high level of acceptance.
Vienna’s water is of unparalleled quality for a major city. The high level of supply security and the efficient drinking water distribution network result from sustained investment by the City of Vienna for over 100 years or more. Thirty million euros per annum are invested in Vienna’s mains network alone.
The city’s waste disposal and management infrastructures serve as an example of best practice for many other cities, ranging from wastewater treatment and use of the resulting sewage sludge for energy generation to end-to-end logistics for waste separation and collection, through to combined waste incineration and energy generation for the district heating network.
In spatial terms, Vienna is a compact city – yet at the same time, it succeeds in maintaining the share of green space at over 50 percent. The safeguarding of Vienna’s extensive Green Belt and long-term infrastructure projects like the Danube Island combine environmental quality with excellent leisure and recreation opportunities; the Danube regulation project does all the above while also protecting the city against flooding.
Vienna was the first city in the German-speaking region to publish open data and is a European pioneer in open government. The City of Vienna offers numerous administrative procedures in digital and analog form. Both processes are of high speed and quality to ensure swift, efficient handling and legal certainty.
And there is another Viennese characteristic that the Smart City can build upon throughout its history. Vienna has repeatedly been confronted with a dramatically changed scenario, turning necessity into a virtue to reinvent itself on more than one occasion. Thus the rampant growth of the late 19th century produced infrastructure that is still in operation today; the housing shortage of the interwar years gave birth to the tradition of municipal housing provision; the successful model of sensitive urban renewal emerged from the economic shrinkage during the Cold War, and the fall of the Iron Curtain saw the city reposition itself as a metropolis at the very heart of Europe.
This expertise in change management will be of great benefit in the coming years, too, with Vienna in the process of launching its next phase of far-reaching transformation as it implements the Smart City goals.
Smart City Wien sets out the local response to global challenges
Across the world, people are moving to live and work in urban agglomerations. In 2008, for the first time in human history, more people were living in cities than in rural areas. Forecasts predict that two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities by 2050. Not all cities in Europe are seeing population growth, however, but only the more attractive ones. Vienna, too, has seen robust growth in recent years: in 1995 the city’s population was still at approx. 1.5 million, whereas even with moderate growth, it is expected to reach two million before 2030. This trend towards urbanization gives additional impetus to Smart City Wien. Still, it also entails the challenge of providing infrastructure and urban services on a whole new scale while simultaneously conserving limited natural resources.
The global technological revolution is rapidly gathering pace. Today’s children grow up with and take for granted an array of science fiction technologies to their parents not all that long ago. These technological opportunities give rise to new communication patterns, new business models, new occupational profiles, and forms of work. These, in turn, require members of the workforce to acquire new skills and qualifications and repeatedly change direction. Some seize upon it as a career opportunity. Others experience it as stressful, a source of anxiety, or even a threat. Smart City Wien utilizes new technologies and innovations, but in doing so, it always places the focus on how they benefit people.
End-to-end digitalization is penetrating all spheres of life. This phenomenon raises a host of new issues, for instance, regarding the transparent handling and careful treatment of large quantities of data, the ethical and moral boundaries associated with the use of digital innovations such as artificial intelligence, and equitable distribution of the benefits and opportunities afforded by new technologies. On the other hand, digital technologies also equip Smart City Wien with a new tool to elaborate innovative solutions for an array of future urban issues, open up new avenues for public participation, or make life easier and more convenient.
The global climate crisis is rapidly getting worse. It is one of the most, if not THE most, pressing challenges of our time and the future. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is constantly increasing, and global warming is intensifying as a result. The Earth’s temperature is already rising faster than at any point in the past 10.000 years. Since the 1970s, the average global temperature has risen by 0.85°C, and the temperature in Austria by up to 2°C. What is more, the Earth is rapidly approaching some critical global warming thresholds, so-called “tipping points,” which – once crossed – could lead to uncontrollable “runaway” warming; these include, for instance, the complete melting of the Arctic ice cap, the thawing of the permafrost in Siberia or the dying off of the rainforests around the Equator. Even today, the consequences are being seen and felt ever more clearly. Global warming has triggered a sharp increase in extreme weather events in recent years. Both heat waves and torrential rainfall are increasingly necessitating repair work and investment in preventative measures. The growing number of very hot days is a health hazard, especially for children and older people.
Because global emissions are still increasing, the available “carbon budget” – i.e., the maximum permissible amount of greenhouse gas emissions required to avert climate disaster – is rapidly dwindling. Therefore, meeting the international climate targets of greenhouse gas emissions needs to be reduced to about one tonne per person and year. In Austria, the figure is currently around 9 tonnes, and if we also factor in the CO2 emissions generated abroad during the production of imported goods, it rises to a hefty 15 tonnes.
Vienna cannot halt the climate crisis by itself. Still, it can make a substantial contribution towards tackling it: by developing models for sustainable solutions, creating perspectives that motivate as many individuals and institutions as possible to do their part, and drafting strategies that work locally and set an example globally.
Vienna’s Smart City strategy – long story short
But what exactly makes a smart city? Vienna answers this question thus: high quality of life for all residents with the greatest possible protection of resources through social and technical innovations. Vienna can build on an excellent starting position in these tasks, like the water supply with mountain spring water since 1873 or the social housing buildings of “Red Vienna” since the 1920s.
The Smart City Vienna framework strategy for 2019-2050 is accompanied by many other concepts and strategies of the city, like the city development plan, a dedicated energy program, or the “Digital Agenda,” which is working on Vienna as the capital of digitalization. Furthermore, the topics “Smart solutions for the urban habitat of the 21st century” and “Smart production in the city” are also essential elements of the city strategy “Vienna 2030 – Economy & Innovation”.
The latest recently completed Smart City project is a milestone on the way to a model climate city. Vienna’s main water treatment plant was converted into an eco-power plant that produces more energy than it consumes through modern technologies. In addition, thanks to a new sludge treatment plant, the urban wastewaters are now cleaned with energy self-sufficiency, the CO2 emissions reduced by 40,000 tons annually, and clean electricity and clean heat are generated.
Energy supply – Smart City Strategy 2050
The energy supply of Smart City Wien is based almost exclusively on renewable energy sources that are also used locally: solar installations on rooftops and facades generate power and heat. Efficient heat pumps allow waste and ambient heat to be used for heating and cooling buildings. Deep drilling draws hot water from 3.000 meters underground and feeds it into the district heating network. Wind turbines, photovoltaic installations, hydroelectric and biomass plants inside and outside the city use renewables to meet the city’s daily energy requirements. Expensive energy imports are no longer required, so the money stays in the region.
Electricity is the dominant fuel. It allows energy to be exchanged and enables joint optimization of the once separate heating, transport, electrical applications, and industry. The days when electricity was only generated in a few large power stations and distributed via a radial grid are long since over. Many energy consumers – both private households and companies – are now involved in energy production themselves, either via their plants or via community energy generation schemes. With the advent of “prosumers,” power generation has been decentralized; the same applies to the many different kinds of energy storage facilities, including electric cars.
Smart grids allow the networked interconnection of all these actors, optimizing coordination of energy consumption and generation and guaranteeing a supply of clean energy for all residents of Vienna; energy poverty is a thing of the past.
Radical improvements in energy efficiency mean that overall energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases have drastically declined, despite economic and population growth. This has been achieved thanks to the smart use of new technologies, new business models, and long-term surveillance of costs, coupled with changes in people’s consumption habits and mobility behavior. After all, public expertise and environmental awareness are ultimately other important sources of energy.
Mobility and transport – Smart City Strategy 2050
First and foremost, the city offers an array of opportunities for encounter and interaction. Everyone in Smart City Wien has access to flexible, safe, barrier-free mobility options, regardless of their income, gender, ethnicity, age, and physical abilities.
In 2050, mobility is to a large extent virtual: everything from the latest news to education is accessed via the Web. A large proportion of work-related communication is done digitally, and production plants are digitally controlled. As a result, many people work where they live.
Mobility options are primarily used for physical exercise, recreation, and social interaction. In the city of short distances, green spaces, cultural institutions, schools and nurseries, shops, restaurants, and cafés are all within walking distance. Other parts of the city are likewise easy to reach. Everywhere in Vienna is easily accessible via public transport. There is also an extensive network of cycle routes. Autonomous electric vehicles offer new additional options and are used on a shared basis. Private vehicle ownership has drastically declined. Mobility is a service consumed as and when required. The space required for motorized traffic is therefore minimal. Streets have thus been transformed into play areas and shared spaces; trees and community gardens improve the urban climate, even in densely built-up districts, and help cool the city down on hot days.
Transfer between the different modes of transport is seamless, barrier-free, and hence much more convenient – not least for the elderly and other people with limited mobility. All public mobility options are integrated into the city’s mobility platform.
Automation and networked interconnection of the different modes of transport mean that accidents involving injury to people are now very rare. All modes of transport are powered by renewables and are resource-efficient in their production and use. The shift to eco-friendly modes of transport has significantly reduced energy consumption.
Goods are transported into the city by suitable electric vehicles operating out of communal logistics centers on the outskirts. Inner-city distribution hubs and a dense network of collection points allow efficient, coordinated goods deliveries. In addition, new technologies allow growing numbers of everyday necessities to be produced locally again, with production increasingly based on closed cycles. As a result, the volume of goods traffic has declined significantly.
Buildings – Smart City Strategy 2050
Urban growth and spiraling demand for housing in the first half of the 21st century have molded the cityscape of Smart City Wien. Concurrently with this, the world of work has changed dramatically, as have the expectations and lifestyles of the urban population. These changes have affected the design of buildings, which usually combine multiple functions now that work, home life, leisure time, and social life are much more strongly integrated.
But the focus is not solely on functionality and efficiency: careful attention has also been given to architectural and aesthetic quality, green and outdoor spaces, and the design and amenity value of urban neighborhoods. The high quality of buildings gives them a long useful life. Moreover, the interior layouts of buildings can be adapted to changing uses.
Consumption of energy and resources in the construction sector has been drastically reduced in recent years. Green building materials ensure healthy indoor air quality, highly effective ventilation systems ensure minimal energy loss, and smart home technology ensures efficiency and comfort. A refurbishment drive has also drastically reduced energy consumption in the existing building stock. Both new builds and refurbishment projects are planned from the outset to minimize the consumption of materials and energy throughout the entire life cycle of the building. Nevertheless, all technical developments focus first and foremost on the well-being of the residents.
In many cases, the energy consumed by buildings is generated on-site from renewable sources. Building shells are used both for solar energy generation and for greening. Recent developments in materials have vastly expanded the scope for innovative design. On the facades, energy-generating sections alternate with planted sections, which the residents tend and serve as vertical vegetable gardens. Water circulates roofs and facades, cooling through evaporation and irrigating the plants. Rooftop gardens serve as recreation areas, social zones, and open-air workspaces. Bikes are easily accessible for convenient use. There are now much fewer private cars, so many indoor car parks are no longer needed and now serve other purposes – from charging stations for e-vehicles to a fitness center.
Digitalization – Smart City Strategy 2050
Smart City Wien is Europe’s digitalization capital, albeit with a typical Viennese people-centered focus. Working with expert partners from research and industry, the city has learned how to seamlessly integrate innovative solutions into the city’s everyday life to enhance and facilitate community life. Vienna has taken a clear stance regarding the use of technologies and data processing, ensuring that people retain sovereignty over their data and can actively control and manage their use. Vienna’s approach to digitalization is characterized by openness to new technologies and their use, resource-efficient application. Vienna utilizes digitalization in a targeted manner to drive innovation for the city’s future and as an effective tool for attaining its climate goals.
Digital Vienna sets international trends by combining its historical achievements – from farsighted planning of in- infrastructure to comprehensive service provision for the local population – with innovative solutions and applications. Vienna sees digitalization as a challenge facing society as a whole and requires urgent policy intervention. In a highly efficient and increasingly interconnected city, the municipal administration and its associated enterprises focus on people and their specific needs while opening up new digital platforms for active engagement and participation across all social groups.
Vienna’s policy of responsible, inclusive digitalization has evolved into a further USP for the city.
Economy and employment – Smart City Strategy 2050
The economy of Smart City Wien is based on “creating value(s)” in the truest sense of the phrase – with the input of and in the interests of the local people. This is just one of the reasons why Vienna in 2050 is one of the most economically successful cities in the European Union. The level of prosperity is high and enables a high level of material security, a high standard of living, good working conditions, and equitable opportunities for personal development for everyone living in Vienna.
To this end, Smart City Wien places special emphasis on creating a thriving yet sustainable economy that secures the basis for a good life, both now and for future generations. How? Economic prosperity has long since ceased to be linked to increased consumption of energy and resources and a growing burden on the environment; instead, it is now aligned with social and ecological principles.
This consistent alignment with the principles of the circular economy means that consumption of natural resources, materials, and energy has drastically declined, both in production and in services. Smart, energy-efficient production processes, durable products, regional value chains, the renaissance of the repair economy, and proper reuse and recycling of materials and waste create added value without placing an additional burden on the environment. The “use, not own” approach that underlies the sharing economy has significantly lengthened the useful life of infrastructure, buildings, and products of all kinds yet still allows for their technical evolution.
Adequate provision of services and amenities in the local neighborhood creates the necessary basis for the “city of short distances,” Products and services can be conveniently accessed without long vehicle journeys. Municipal enterprises still provide many services of general public interest for the common good; affordable and of high quality, they allow a good life for all regardless of individual income. Effective support is also provided for the nursing and care services.
In 2050, Vienna’s economy is thus as sustainable as it is resilient and competitive. What is more, Smart City Wien has successfully established itself as a leading center of the circular economy and smart added value whose expertise is sought after worldwide.
Water and waste management – Smart City Strategy 2050
Waste prevention and the circular economy are accorded high priority in Smart City Wien. Products and buildings are designed and fabricated to be durable and repairable; they can be easily dis- mantled and their parts and materials reused or recycled at the end of their useful life. Moreover, production processes are largely waste-free.
Non-avoidable waste is separated and is cheaply processed into high-quality, highly sought-after secondary raw materials. These now cover the lion’s share of raw materials requirements. Old landfill sites, buildings, cables, and underground pipes are the new urban “mines” systematically inventoried and exploited. Old products and equipment, components, and parts of buildings are also reused wherever possible. As a result, only a small proportion of residual waste remains. The material composition is such that it can be used for waste-to-heat energy recovery for the district heating network without adding extra fuel.
The high quality of the drinking water supply and the wastewater and sewage system is guaranteed. Furthermore, thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, the sewage treatment plant is energy self-sufficient and produces energy fed into the electricity and district heating grids.
Smart City Wien is well prepared for the greater frequency of torrential rain. Smart rainwater management prevents flooding and ensures that the water can trickle away or evaporate where it falls, improving the urban microclimate.
Environment – Smart City Strategy 2050
In response to strong population growth, large amounts of new housing, workplaces, and industrial and commercial premises have been built in Smart City Wien over the past decades. Throughout this process, emphasis has been placed on the careful use of land as a natural resource: new buildings have been designed with more compact layouts, and denser developments have often replaced substandard buildings.
As a result, the city still has ample room for green and open spaces, including extensive recreation areas like the Vienna Woods, Norbert-Scheed-Wald, the Lobau wetlands, and numerous small parks and gardens. The outer shells of buildings are used for a wide range of different planting methods, as are unsealed surfaces in the public space. Green spaces are within walking distance in all neighborhoods, allowing individual social interaction and leisure activities. The municipal administration and the public work together to maintain the high quality of the city’s green spaces, which are an important habitat for flora and fauna, and promote and conserve biodiversity. Green spaces, fresh air corridors, and cool air pools also help mitigate the overheating in densely built-up areas caused by the climate crisis.
A large number of journeys are made on foot or by bike. Public transport and motor vehicles are fully electrified and cause much less noise and zero local emissions. The same applies to the energy supply. Clean air and waterways, a large number of newly planted trees in the streets, intact countryside, and functioning ecosystems ensure that people can live a good life in Smart City Wien.
The agricultural enterprises in Vienna and its surrounding region now all produce high-quality organic produce that covers a large share of the urban population’s food requirements. New processing and ordering systems ensure that goods are produced in line with demand. In addition, vertical gardens, community, and neighborhood gardens tap new opportunities for home vegetable growing and have further increased awareness of healthy eating. The volume of waste has thus been drastically reduced.
Healthcare – Smart City Strategy 2050
In 2050, it is no longer unusual for centenarians to live active, independent lives well into old age. Not only are people living longer, but healthy life expectancy has also increased. This is because the healthcare system’s focus is no longer solely on treating illnesses but on staying healthy and active. The city’s clean air, healthy food, a wide range of sports facilities and recreation areas, cool green spaces, and bodies of water are all conducive to this.
In Smart City Wien, health promotion starts in childhood. Every school campus has its health center, where specialist staff from various disciplines actively support children and young people to develop a healthy lifestyle. Health coaches also provide advice later on in life.
The funding system based on mandatory contributions ensures that everyone living in Vienna has access to the city’s high-quality healthcare facilities. Interdisciplinary primary care centers are available to all throughout the entire city. If necessary, the latter refer the patient to appropriate specialist facilities. High-tech procedures in hospitals allow precise diagnosis and individually tailored therapy, promising very high chances of a swift recovery. Vienna is a leader in the development of personalized medicine, and thanks to long-standing efforts in R&D, has regained its global reputation in the life science and biotechnology sector.
Digital healthcare services and applications reflect the needs of patients in Vienna and are broadly and firmly established in the city. Here, quality and security are always the topmost priority.
With increasing life expectancy, demand has also grown among older people for preventive programs to help them stay fit and healthy for as long as possible. Above all, active, healthy aging gives people choices: alongside various forms of community and assisted living, older people also have access to numerous digital tools which allow them to stay in their own homes for as long as they wish to. In addition, the mix of different age groups in public housing has given rise to a new wave of supportive neighborly relationships and significantly enhanced social well-being.
Social inclusion – Smart City Strategy 2050
Vienna in 2050 is a vibrant, diverse, cosmopolitan city on a dynamic growth trajectory. This creates economic potential, opportunities for social mobility, gender equality, and a good life for all. However, economic, technological, and social change have repeatedly posed challenges to Vienna and urban society – Vienna has responded with continuous investments in social cohesion and opportunities for public participation.
Social inclusion is a palpable reality in Smart City Wien, not least because the local authority still has at its disposal a varied set of tools and mechanisms for socially responsible policy-making, which has a long tradition in the city and has been repeatedly and skilfully adapted to respond to current challenges. The comprehensive provision of public services of general interest allows a quality of life that everyone can afford. This provision starts with education, healthcare, and social infrastructure and extends to the city-wide provision of multifunctional green and open spaces, a broad program of affordable cultural events, and affordable housing.
The city has learned to handle the friction that unavoidably arises from diversity and to understand and utilize social diversity as a strength that adds extra creativity and capacity for innovation. In this way, Smart City Wien seizes the opportunity to make its ongoing evolution into a sustainable city a shared project that everyone living in Vienna can benefit from, irrespective of income and education, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, but also one in which everyone plays an active role.
Education – Smart City Strategy 2050
In 2050, education and qualifications are still essential cornerstones of Smart City Wien: a high level of education and good quality training have increased the opportunities for personal development and self-determined participation of everyone living in Vienna – and thus improved the prerequisites for individual quality of life as well as for an inclusive society.
At the same time, education and training are an important basis for the innovative solutions the Smart City needs.
In Smart City Wien, learning is enjoyable and provides a sense of purpose – children acquire confidence in their own capacity for innovation at an early age and thus develop an optimistic, forward-looking worldview. The combination of inclusive education options for all age groups, the teaching of digital skills, needs-based qualification programs, and career development opportunities acts as an incubator for change and innovation processes. The respective in- institutions and programs are closely interlinked, giving rise to “learning communities,” which significantly enhance the impact of educational activities and make learning a visible part of neighborhood life.
Sustainability is both an ecological necessity and an opportunity to design a liveable city is a key element of educational curricula in Smart City Wien. This has established an awareness of our common responsibility to create a sustainable city for the future and a willingness to play an active role in doing so.
Science and research – Smart City Strategy 2050
Vienna is one of Europe’s leading innovation hubs and is known as the research capital of Central Europe. This makes the city especially attractive to students and academics, researchers, and innovative enterprises and start-ups. In addition, there is a lively exchange with other major international research centers and with research partners in the wider metropolitan region, especially in sectors that are among Vienna’s key strengths and drive the city’s progress as an incubator of innovation.
In recent years, Vienna has successfully endeavored to promote excellence: many respected top-flight experts, institutes, and research teams have established themselves here and are sought-after partners for local and international collaborative projects. In addition, the cosmopolitan, tolerant and anti-discriminatory climate prevailing in Vienna significantly enhances the city’s attractiveness.
At the same time, Smart City Wien has established a new culture of innovation. The pressing questions associated with the transformation towards sustainable, socially equitable development are jointly identified and tackled in an interdisciplinary manner on multiple levels – from basic research to specific application scenarios. This gives rise to technical and social innovations, which are piloted in local “urban labs.”
Vienna has thus positioned itself as a globally sought-after research and innovation hub for Smart Cities.
Participation – Smart City Strategy 2050
The basic principles of the Smart City are broadly established in Vienna. Policy-makers and administrators are aware that a Smart City strategy cannot be imposed from above if it is to be truly effective. Therefore, Smart City Wien is the outcome of a collective design process coordinated by the municipal authority but sustained and supported by a great many individuals. It is founded on a shared awareness of the current challenges and a shared vision of the future worth committing to. It is also founded on a new appreciation of civic participation and engagement, elaborated in a dialogue between policy-makers, administrators, and the general public. That is why the agreed quality standards and the newly created mechanisms for participation and engagement are now accepted by all. As a result, Smart City Wien has not only been broadly co-shaped by the Viennese people, but the Smart City initiative has strengthened and evolved Vienna’s culture of participation. All social groups and a diverse spectrum of stakeholders are involved in civic life and can make a responsible contribution to the sustainable development of the city.
By employing an array of new participatory formats and initiatives, the City of Vienna invites people to join the debate about strategies, concrete measures, and specific spaces to allow, facilitate and promote grassroots initiatives from civil society.
Vienna’s Smart City goals at a glance
Quality of life
- Vienna is the city with the highest quality of life and life satisfaction in the world.
- Vienna focuses on social inclusion in its policy design and administrative activities.
- Vienna reduces its local per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and by 85 percent by 2050 (compared to the baseline year of 2005).
- Vienna reduces its local per capita final energy consumption by 30 percent by 2030 and by 50 percent by 2050 (compared to the baseline year of 2005).
- Vienna reduces its material footprint of consumption per capita by 30 percent by 2030 and by 50 percent by 2050.
- By 2030 Vienna is an innovation leader.
Vienna is Europe’s digitalization capital.
- Vienna’s level of energy security remains high.
- Vienna has smart energy grids that allow a decentralized, renewables-based energy supply.
- Renewable energy production within the municipal boundaries doubles between 2005 and 2030.
- In 2030 30 percent and 2050 70 percent of Vienna’s final energy consumption originates from renewable sources.
Mobility and Transportation
- Per capita, CO2 emissions in the transport sector fall by 50 percent by 2030 and by 100 percent by 2050.
- Per capita, final energy consumption in the transport sector falls by 40 percent by 2030 and by 70 percent by 2050.
- The share of journeys in Vienna made by eco-friendly modes of transport, including shared mobility options, rises to 85 percent by 2030 and to well over 85 percent by 2050.
- By 2030, private motor vehicle ownership falls to 250 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants.
- At least 70 percent of all journeys in Vienna continue to be short distances of up to 5km, and the majority are made by bike or on foot.
- The volume of traffic crossing the municipal boundaries falls by 10 percent by 2030.
- Commercial traffic within the municipal boundaries is largely CO2-free by 2030.
- Per capita, final energy consumption for heating, cooling, and hot water in buildings falls by 1 percent per annum, and the associated per capita CO2 emissions by 2 percent per annum.
- From 2025 onwards, the heating energy requirements of new buildings are covered by renewables or district heating as standard.
- Buildings are used for greening and the generation of solar energy.
- From 2030 onwards, site- and use-specific planning and construction processes to maximize conservation of
- Resources are standard practice in new builds and refurbishment projects.
- In 2050, 80 percent of building components and materials from demolitions and major refurbishment projects are reused or recycled.
- As part of a joint digitalization strategy, the City of Vienna and its municipal enterprises use digital data, tools, and artificial intelligence in applications that help conserve resources and maintain the city’s high quality of life.
- By 2025, all processes and services of the municipal administration and its associated enterprises are digitalized and fully automated wherever possible.
- Vienna has a modern, needs-based digital infrastructure designed for energy- and resource-efficient operation.
- The City of Vienna uses digital data (mined using state-of-the-art technologies and analytical methods) to support decision-making and real-time urban systems management.
- The City of Vienna uses digital tools to create transparency, enable participation, and position itself as a pioneer in the field of open government.
- The City of Vienna actively makes available the data it generates as open government data, especially for scientific, academic, and educational use.
- The City of Vienna actively seeks collaboration with third parties to pilot digital applications, technologies, and infrastructure in practice-based “urban digital labs” and prepare them for roll-out across the entire city.
Economy and Employment
- The productivity of Vienna’s urban economy constantly increases, underpinning the city’s prosperity, resource efficiency, and competitiveness.
- The incomes and job satisfaction of Viennese citizens constantly increase while social inequality declines.
- The material efficiency of the Viennese economy increases by 30 percent by 2030.
- Products manufactured in Vienna are durable and recyclable, and their production processes are largely waste and pollutant-free.
- In 2030, Vienna has a global reputation as the hub of a resource-efficient circular economy and attracts investment and talent in this sector.
Water and Waste management
- Less waste is produced thanks to a wide range of waste prevention measures.
- Vienna’s waste collection systems enable an increasingly large proportion of waste to be recycled or reused as secondary raw materials.
- High standards of waste management ensure reliable, safe disposal of waste to minimize the burden on the environment.
- Vienna’s water supply and wastewater management infrastructure is maintained and operated to a high standard and resource-efficient.
- In Vienna, as much rainwater as possible is fed back into the local natural or near-natural water cycle.
- The share of green space in Vienna is maintained at over 50 percent until 2050.
- Vienna creates additional recreation areas in line with population growth.
- The city’s ongoing provision of local green and open spaces for different target groups within the existing urban fabric keeps pace with population growth.
- The natural functions of the soil are maintained by preserving existing unsealed surfaces and creating new ones. Vienna promotes biodiversity.
- In the interests of people’s health and well-being, air, water, and soil pollution, noise and heat pollution, and light pollution are all minimized as far as possible.
- The City of Vienna promotes a sustainable food system. The city’s food supply is largely sourced from the city and the surrounding region, preferably from organic producers.
- In 2030 the healthy life expectancy of the Viennese population has increased by two years.
- Provision of high-quality medical care in Vienna is guaranteed.
- Smart City Wien supports healthy, active aging – care-dependent Viennese citizens receive high-quality care at home or close to home for as long as possible.
- Health literacy is promoted at both the individual and organizational levels.
- All social groups, especially vulnerable ones, are protected against the health risks associated with climate change.
- Vienna is a diverse city that promotes gender equality and opportunities for participation for all who live here.
- Vienna provides high quality of life and amenity value in all parts of the city by investing in public infrastructure, strengthening community cohesion, and fostering urban competencies.
- Vienna continues to provide an adequate supply of high-quality subsidized housing to reduce the percentage of people who are overburdened by housing costs.
- Vienna stands out for its fair working conditions, adequate wages for gainful employment, and social welfare schemes, which permit a decent standard of living for all.
- Municipal services are accessible to all citizens of Vienna – to an increasing extent in digital form and, where required, in analog form as previously.
- Everyone enjoys low-threshold access to high-quality, inclusive educational facilities at the earliest possible age and continues her/his education beyond compulsory schooling.
- By 2030 a city-wide network of “Bildungsgrätzln” (“learning communities”) has been established to create learning spaces that are tailored to local neighborhoods, communities, and lifestyles.
- Vienna boasts a comprehensive, needs-based, inclusive program of digital education.
- A diverse range of public engagement programs opens up access to Vienna’s multi-faceted arts and cultural scene.
- Raising awareness of sustainable, resource-efficient development is a standard teaching objective in all educational institutions.
- Vienna’s education, training, and qualification programs reflect changing occupational profiles and equip the workforce with the expertise and skills to apply new smart technologies and practices.
Science and Research
- In 2030, Vienna is one of Europe’s top five research and innovation hubs.
- Vienna is a magnet for top-flight international researchers and the research units of international corporations.
- Vienna initiates large-scale mission-led research and innovation projects as a contribution to the socio-ecological transformation.
- In Vienna, specific challenges relating to Smart City Wien are identified and resolved cooperatively by the municipal administration, higher education and research institutions, companies, and end-users.
- The City of Vienna continuously works on its participation standards in partnership with local people, and participation is generally increasing overall.
- All social groups have the opportunity to become actively involved in co-shaping Smart City Wien.
- Vienna develops and employs various tools to give the public a say on budgeting and the use of public funds.
- The opportunities for public participation in Smart City Wien are visible and accessible to all.
- “Urban labs” at the neighborhood level have been created to pilot innovative new methods and processes for
Smart City Wien and build networks of local actors and stakeholders.