Side Event: Trends and Challenges in Smart City Development - Experiences from Vienna, 10 May 2017, 9:30 – 11:00

Almost half of the world`s population is already living in urban settings. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 recognizes the critical role of urbanization in sustainable development, but urging actors to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This trend offers increasing opportunities for actors at local, regional, national and international levels to work together to develop more inclusive and integrated pathways to city and urban planning development. Cities around the world are coming up with innovative solutions to integrate urban land use, transport, energy, and housing policies, to improve the lives of their citizens.

The side event, organized in cooperation by the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE) together with Energy Center Wien/TINA Vienna, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), aimed to encourage vivid exchanges between city representatives and experts from all over the world on how to make cities smart, sustainable and livable for their inhabitants. This event looked at the concept of a smart city from various perspectives and contexts to discuss common challenges.

After some introductory statements, the moderator, Irene Giner-Reichl, Austrian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China and Mongolia, President of GFSE and Vice-Chair of REN21, gave the floor to the panellists, who spoke about the challenges in smart city developments around the world. The panellists exchanged experiences and discussed requirements and framework conditions for comprehensive solutions.

The city of Vienna is one of the leaders in the development of urban city settings. In 2011, Major Häupl, the Major of Vienna, took the lead and launched the Smart City Wien Initiative with the objective of “utilising, continuously building on and internationalising the city’s strengths” (source: https://smartcity.wien.gv.at/). Ina Homeier, Smart City Coordination, emphasized that a key element of the initiative was the stakeholder process that brought together various actors, including research institutions, representatives from the private sector and academia, as well as policy-makers to discuss smart city solutions. Since 2014, the Smart City Wien Initiative is a legally binding strategy, thus paving the way for similar ground-breaking initiatives around the world. Lukas Lang, project manager at wien3420, presented Aspern Seestadt, one of Europe's largest urban development projects and the City of Vienna’s innovation laboratory, as a best-practice example. It is expected that by 2028, the Urban Lakeside will be home to 20,000 people. Vienna’s Urban Lakeside is a new, multifunctional urban quarter with a high-quality living environment and generously sized spaces for offices, production companies and service providers, science, research and education.

Throughout the discussions, panellists emphasized the importance of coordination and collaboration among stakeholders. Carel Snyman, General Manager of Cleaner Mobility Programme at South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), showed how smart city development cannot be carried out without the transformation of the transport system. Personal transport methods, such as overhead cable cars, can help to quickly move people out of dense areas. Using the city of Kampala, Uganda, as an example, Edison Masereka, Manager Business Development and Research at Kampala Capital City Authority, showed how simple renewable energy solutions can be adapted to local contexts to solve energy problems in the urban space. He further demonstrated how innovative financing tools, like pay-as-you-go schemes and microcredits, can make such technologies accessible to lower income households. Richard Woschitz, CEO at Woschitz Group, brought the private sector perspective to the side event. He presented how the introduction of wooden hybrid buildings can positively change the architectural landscape by introducing sustainable building practices, while also leading to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Agenda

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Moderator

·         Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl, Austrian Ambassador to the People´s Republic of China and Mongolia, President of GFSE and Vice-Chair of REN21

Panellists

·         Ms. Ina Homeier, Project Leader “Smart City Wien”, Smart City Coordination MA 18, City of Vienna

·         Mr. Lukas Lang, Project Manager, wien3420

·         Mr. Edison Masereka, Manager Business Development and Research, Strategy Management & Business Development Department, Kampala Capital City Authority

·         Mr. Carel Snyman, General Manager of Cleaner Mobility Programme, South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI)

·         Mr. Richard Woschitz, CEO, Woschitz Group

To learn more about the side event, check this summary report, which includes background information and a list of the key outcomes.

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