Smarter Together is currently the largest urban renewal project co-funded by the EU within the Horizon 2020 programme in Vienna. Over 80 staff from the City of Vienna across 9 departments along with 8 formal partners co-create innovative smart city solutions of the future. One key indicator symbolizes the positive project dynamics: Whereas the initial project proposal evaluated that 7 million euros in EU funding would trigger an overall investment of 46 million euros, the latest figure indicates that the overall investment sum now reaches over 80 Million euros. In Vienna alone, there are about 41 conception and implementation projects running.
The eco-friendly and smart refurbishment of the Hauffgasse 37-47 residence owned by the housing association BWSG started in April 2017 in cooperation with the local energy provider KELAG Wärme and with an intensive dialogue with tenants under the mediation of wohnbund:consult, a key partner also in regards to the establishment of an innovative e-carsharing in this housing complex.
The secondary school complex NMS Enkplatz I + II is in its realization phase. Numerous steps were necessary: first, a feasibility study on green facades was made by students within a university cooperation (Sustainability Challenge), then a technical feasibility challenge showed the potential in regards to smart refurbishment but also the necessity to make a call for proposals from European architects. As a result, 35 teams from five countries participated and the proposal by Burtscher und Durig was chosen.
Two solar benches were installed as landmarks of the project in the front yard of the school and received widespread media attention.
Mobility and VCÖ Mobility Award 2017
The holistic endeavors in regards to innovative mobility solutions were awarded by the Austrian VCÖ Mobility Award in the category “Active Mobility and Public Space”. Numerous respective activities were mentioned during the awards ceremony: a local mobility strategy including migrant populations, a green path strategy, e-bikesharing, e-carsharing in Hauffgasse, e-vans of the post, e-forkllifts by Siemens Simmering (which also installed e-charging stations for e-bikes of employees and e-car-charging stations for employees as well as a new logistic centre decreasing the CO2 impact), along with the innovative concept for the upcoming Mobility Point, a reference point for Vienna.
In regards to infrastructure, the project area in the district received the first new LED hanging lamps in the street.
Moreover, Vienna used a one-year reflection period to elaborate an open source data platform based on FIWARE that is already running for the project purpose but open to additional needs.
Special attention was given in a holistic and societal approach to all kinds of participation with a large number of institutional partners ensuring that project results will be anchored in the respective organization based on ongoing learning and training.
The major partner in this regards is the Urban Renewal office 3/11 that is under contract by the City of Vienna. It runs most of the participation events. The mobile Urban Living Lab named SIMmobile enabled a direct contact to citizens from all different backgrounds across 5 locations, during 45 days, resulting in over 1.500 personal contacts. In addition, the GB* 3/11 also organized a tour in the district (“Walking Star”) and managed the sharing of the new Smarter Together e-cargo-bike. It also participated in the traditional Street Happening.
Also, the Vienna Housing and its communication institution Wohnpartner developed together with Smarter Together a new communication approach with the tenants shifting from mere information on upcoming refurbishments (mostly experienced as traumatic) into a highly dialogue oriented information and co-creation of upcoming refurbishment. As Vienna Housing owns 220.000 social flats in Vienna, the replication effect is tremendous.
A key player in regards to participation and co-creation is also the already-mentioned wohnbund:consult in the housing estate Hauffgasse 37-47 by BWSG. In addition to the refurbishment it also contributed to the establishment of an innovative e-carsharing system where the major innovation in the business model is the co-operation by a group of tenants. A real added value!
A major partner in regards to information and participation is the local adult educational centre VHS Simmering, where a series of major events was organized: “Smart Energy for Simmering” on 20th of march 2017, “Smart Mobility” on 19th of June, “Smart Data” on 13th November 2017 which gave all the floor to participating institutions and businesses to present their contributions and to inform a larger public. The VHS Simmering hosted also several additional activities and almost all local and international visitors groups passed by.
A special cooperation developed with the Science Pool, a local non-profit organizations which is active in the ludic knowledge transfer on science and smart city to pupils. A series of workshops was held enabling children to become smart city ambassadors.
The cooperation with the Mobility Agency of the City of Vienna ensured another deep anchoring of project results. First, a local district walk targeted new public from other districts. Mainly, the cooperation within the Beat the Street mobility game reached out to over 6.000 participants, 11 schools, 2 youth clubs and was most successful as all participants walked during six week from 10th October to 21th November 2017 over 80.000 km!
The cooperation with “die umweltberatung Wien”, an institution specialized in providing information to a larger public on how to save energy in everyday life underlined the importance of learning tools for all those living in new smart homes, as the technology can only deploy its eco-friendly effects and money savings if the users know how to act accordingly. Smarter Together Vienna translated a set of information leaflets and held first workshops with local inhabitants in the VHS Simmering.
Holistic Replication Approach
In view of a holistic approach to replication – a key challenge for all smart city projects – Smarter Together Vienna adopted special activism.
As a key element, efforts were deployed to anchor the project results within the participating organizations, enterprises and institutions through process-oriented participative learning by doing. This approach enabled deepened governance learning as well as the development of a partnership for environmental change and Paris climate goals with enterprises, a perfect example being the respective activism by Siemens Simmering. Often, special focuses allowed addressing special interest groups or societal segments thus fostering societal integration.
A huge number of Viennese, Austrian and international visitors groups, either from general public, students or specialists visited the project area adding to the learning of those included in the presentations the dimension of touristic attractiveness of the project and the project area.
Smarter Together Vienna was also present on a number of international fora from Europe all the way to Japan, enabling deepened exchange and governance learning while being a platform for the international presence of Vienna.
Smarter Together even developed a series of new co-operations with Viennese institutions and was present at events usually far from the outreach of Smart City, such as artists or social care centres for migrants and homeless which was always an opportunity to reevaluate and deepen the societal dimension and mission of Smarter Together contributing thus to its credibility and attractiveness.
Smarter Together deployed special activism in the domain of outreach and communication with its own webpage, monthly newsletter, outreach in local and Austrian-wide newspapers, publishing own printed information and short films for multimedia and social network use.
As a special service to the international visitors and interested public, English summaries are included in (almost) all blog entries which are then highlighted in the monthly newsletter.
For more information about Smarter Together in Vienna, please visit the Vienna project website, where up-to-date information is available: http://www.smartertogether.at/
For the German version of the article, please visit the following link: http://www.smartertogether.at/jahresrueckblick-2017/