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An initiative by








Evaluation of research topics and preparation of recommendations for actions for “smart cities" Based on a broad literature review, SmartCitiesNet defined the term and gave an overview of the Smart Cities topics as well as the major Austrian projects and players. The project focused on description and evaluation of future research topics and on the development of policy recommendations. Duration of the project: January 2011 to April 2012

Definition of Smart Cities

Beyond the limitation on technologies in the field of resources and energy, the project also integrated issues relevant to planning (with regard to urban structure and built environment) and, not least, questions about the attractiveness and quality of life of cities to meet the requirements of a holistic approach for the future development of cities . Therefore, all questions are included which relate directly or indirectly to the topics of energy and resources in cities (including planning and quality of life).
According to this definition, the overall goal of a smart city can be defined quite generally as a sustainable urban post-fossil fuel society. The “smart” attribute of the implementing measures for the sustainable urban post-fossil fuel society is not exclusively defined here by intelligent (ICT) infrastructure networks, but it is also expected to represent an added value by taking into account interfaces and integration in the city as a system.

The term "smart"

  • Smart is intelligent: It leads to innovative approaches, and new information and communication technologies are applied.
  • Smart is integrative, networked and across systems: Intelligent systems integration and networking between subject areas create synergies and system enhancements. Across systems must also be understood in a spatial sense (e.g. cooperation with areas surrounding cities)..
  • Smart is efficient: Compared to non-networked approaches, a significant increase in efficiency or reduction in energy consumption (in particular fossil energy) can be achieved.  Maximum (for society as a whole) benefits are achieved with the least possible use of resources.
  • Smart is effective: The higher efficiency is understood in terms of the impact on indicators that characterize sustainable urban post-fossil fuel society. Compared to non-integrated approaches, clearer effects result.
  • Smart is adaptive: Systems adapt to new conditions and still retain their functionalities, taking into account the new circumstances.
  • Smart is attractive: Attractiveness for citizens and investors leads to an increased quality of life and secure prospects for investment.

Research dimensions

The variety of measures for a sustainable urban post-fossil fuel society can be assigned to three research dimensions: structures, technologies, and processes. Research projects with the goal to switch to a smart cities concept can be assigned to one or more of these dimensions: structure-determining, technological or concerning a (for change) process..

Research priorities in the area of ​​smart cities

In the form of 18 factsheets, the project team presented integrated research areas which cover the (previously known) research portfolio regarding the topic of smart cities and also constitute building blocks for the development of or the transition to smart cities. They are part of the final report.
For the illustrated integrated research areas, the relevant research questions are defined and described in terms of a uniform structure in a clear and concise manner. Allocated to the factsheets were as examples research projects which contribute significantly to this field of research.

smartcities: Activities