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Vienna’s Outstandingly Sustainable Urban Lakeside Project

The Past, The Process and The Why

Vienna’s Outstandingly Sustainable Urban Lakeside Project - Photo 1Vienna’s Outstandingly Sustainable Urban Lakeside Project - Photo 2

Urbanization is a global trend, and is having a major impact on cities across the world. Vienna’s population is growing quickly, and it is estimated that in 20 years’ time it will be home to around two million people, some 230,000 more than today. As a result of this fast growing population, the city faces huge economic, ecological and social challenges and so it embarked on the Urban Lakeside Project with the main aim to retain Vienna’s place at ‘the top of the global rankings for quality of life while simultaneously remaining an attractive location for business.’

The real estate development company Wien 3420 AG was founded to develop Aspern, Vienna’s Urban Lakeside, as an internationally recognised urban centre. In close cooperation with its partners, the project coordinator “Wien 3420 AG” enhances urban planning, zoning and infrastructural planning. To facilitate cooperation with Wien 3420 AG, the City of Vienna has established a special project management unit as part of its Executive Office for Urban Planning, Development and Construction. The master plan for the Urban Lakeside was created by the Swedish architect Johannes Tovatt, in coordination with Wien 3420 AG, the responsible departments of the City of Vienna and citizens’ representatives. It was an intensive and important process, which ultimately set clear goals for all stakeholders involved. In-depth strategic documents such as a planning manual called “Partitur des öffentlichen Raums” (“The Public Space Score”) or a mobility guide were developed jointly with international experts.

After we visited this sustainable energy and lifestyle project in Vienna, we can see that there is certainly a lot to be admired. The 240-hectare site is one of the largest urban development projects in Europe, to be built as a basis of urban sustainable building and living research. Secure energy supply systems and sustainable housing and mobility are among the issues calling for pioneering strategies and solutions.

Vienna is keen to learn how to further reduce its environmental footprint and gain a better understanding on what the future energy needs will be. The Aspern Urban Lakeside Project is seen as a research centre, allowing scientists and urban planners to analyse how potential energy-saving technologies can be harnessed and enhanced to meet the demands of the 21st century. “This is all about intelligent energy management and smart home solutions” says Marc H. Hall, member of the Executive Board of Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG in charge of energy, research, technology and innovation.

Vienna’s Outstandingly Sustainable Urban Lakeside Project - Photo 3

In order to analyse how potential energy-saving technologies can be harnessed and enhanced to meet the demands of the 21st century, energy use in the Urban Lakeside will be monitored. Heating systems and other major energy users will be fitted with sensors to track their energy use and efficiency. Furthermore Aspern’s new low voltage grid will be equipped with a network of sensors for accurate measurements of its behaviour. This will ultimately help to forecast optimization and energy efficiency.

In order for the project to be a success they have focused on other elements as well as sustainable energy resources. The process of the Aspern Urban Lakeside Project will take a number of years with the forecasted end date being 2028. The goal is to create the idyllic 21st century living and working space with sustainable energy resources. In order to do this, the Urban Lakeside must provide a space for both living and working, for all generations and a multiplicity of lifestyles. Housing, workplaces, shopping facilities and attractive local amenities in the project have been consciously incorporated with the intent to ensure a healthy work-life balance and high employee satisfaction.

In addition, almost half of the 240 hectare site has been given over to planned open spaces and parks to reduce the environmental footprint of Vienna. These parks have children’s playgrounds, fun sports areas, cycle paths and green open spaces so that residents from all generations can enjoy. Keeping the environment in mind, the ‘Total Quality Building’ monitor was developed with the Austrian Sustainable Building Council as an assessment tool to ensure the building designs and construction within the Urban Lakeside were sustainable. A step up from BREEAM and similar to a LEED certification, it provides verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All building projects implemented in the Urban Lakeside will have to pass this test to ensure sustainable building. Finally, the Urban Lakeside Project is designed as a city of short distances. In order to reduce the city’s environmental footprint, Aspern are aiming to provide cycle parking in all residential buildings as well as many of the public spaces, and are looking to develop high-capacity public transport links to keep the share of motorized traffic in the modal split as low as 20%.

Our next blog will focus on what has actually been achieved to date, but what do you think of the above? Maybe you have visited the Aspern Urban Lakeside Project, if so what are your views?

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