CITYGovernance - Adjustments to the innovation ecosystem in the area of regulatory framework conditions

The aim of the R&D service is to gain insights into the obstacles and impediments to achieving the “climate neutrality of Austrian cities” target, to structure them and to prepare them in a publishable study. The study will focus on the areas of energy, buildings and mobility and contain recommendations for action on the necessary framework conditions and the need for change.

Austria has already taken an important step towards promoting and strengthening the innovative power of cities to achieve climate neutrality with programs such as “Smart Cities”, “Pioneer Cities”, etc. as part of national and EU projects. Adjustments and changes to the regulatory framework in order to drive this transformation process forward are the next logical step towards achieving the target by 2040.
Today more than ever, urban policy-makers and administrators are acting between the conflicting priorities of legal and financial requirements from the federal and state governments, the needs and expectations of their residents and local businesses. Different superordinate levels (EU, federal government, federal states) define many of the current and future framework conditions for achieving (urban) climate neutrality. Taking all these – often contradictory – interests and requirements into account presents cities with major challenges.

In the key areas of energy, buildings and mobility, the project will identify the key overarching governance and existing regulations that promote, hinder or even prevent climate neutrality in cities, systematically process them in their entirety and present them clearly in graphic form. Due to the dynamics and constant changes in legislation and requirements, this system should be set up in such a way that it can be flexibly adapted and supplemented for future developments.

The identified (cumulative) potentials, barriers and obstacles are also placed in a spatial and temporal dimension for the system as far as possible. This means which governance level can implement which measures or remove barriers and over what period of time, which measures are already widely accepted, etc.. The temporal reference here relates primarily to the “maturity”, the progress already made and the necessary scope of the actions to be taken.

With the help of national and international research and discussions with experts, existing strategies and regulations in the field of climate-neutral cities as well as international case studies are identified. Building on this, obstacles and impediments in the complex interplay of framework conditions are identified and solutions are developed.

A regional, national and international desktop research and analysis of existing standards and regulatory frameworks, their genesis of strategies for concrete regulation in the context of “achieving the goal of climate neutrality of cities”, especially in the areas of energy and building (refurbishment) as well as mobility are carried out by the project team. The identification of supportive framework conditions in other cities is based in particular on the analysis of international best-practice examples whose objectives, target achievement, methodology and involvement of business and the population in the change process are examined with regard to their transferability to Austria. Relevant stakeholders and experts are involved in the process and discourse based on the findings through interactive workshops, interviews and surveys in order to achieve a broad consensus for the results and recommendations for action.

The synthesis of the project findings is the publishable study with a graphical representation of the identified overarching governance, such as regulatory provisions, with different dimensions (e.g. urgency, timeframe for implementation) and the resulting recommendations for action for adapting the current framework conditions.

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Pionierstadt AS 2023

F&E Dienstleistung

Innovationslabor RENOWAVE.AT. DI Susanne Formanek

Project homepage:


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