The focus of the feasibility study was on initiating innovative showcase projects for climate protection in Leoben based on the existing model. Ideas, measures, technologies for supply and disposal, mobility, buildings, open areas and telecommunications were comprehensively screened, structured, evaluated based on multiple criteria, selected, combined appropriately and their place in the urban environment determined as part of the stakeholder process with the slogan “Green networks for Leoben”.
Leoben is the second largest city in Styria. Historically, it is been marked by the steel working industry, but today is also recognized as the location of the University of Leoben as well as research and technology companies. Leoben has about 25,000 residents and in the past decade has faced challenges from a 4% decline in population. The city is confronting these changes actively with infrastructure investment as well as investment in urban and business development projects. The CO2 status analysis for 2011 according to the territoriality principle reflects the great importance of industry for the region. If one excludes the CO2 emissions of the energy-intensive steel plants and the transit vehicle traffic, then CO2 emissions in Leoben are on the order of cities of similar size in Austria.
The vision is divided into seven spheres of activity. Those for “work and living”, “mobility” and “open spaces” were considered particularly important by the stakeholders:
Leoben created a sophisticated range of employment for different situations and phases of life (for skilled work and a knowledge society). The city remained an important location for energy-intensive industry (steel) and for new, innovative “green” industries and technologies.
Living and settlement:
All parts of the city and the entire municipal area of Leoben were involved in the development of the Smart City. All residential areas and parts of the city offer equivalent, very attractive conditions for those living there. This was achieved through differentiated consideration of physical structure conditions and socioeconomic factors. The highest standards for environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and energy-saving planning and construction will be applied in Leoben in 2025. The city has joined the trend to emphasize inner city development over development for outlying areas and given it greater impetus.
Leoben in 2025 will have an increased awareness among residents regarding flexible choices of transportation appropriate for the occasion (bicycles, car sharing and intermodality will be integrated in the daily routine). The preference for personal cars will be decreased, particularly among younger residents. Public transportation will be “in”. Leoben will be connected to the high-speed network by railroad (the TEN corridor of the north/south axis). A wide range of small and mini vehicles (such as pedelecs and electric cars) will be used in daily life in the city in 2025.
Residents of Leoben will enjoy an “outdoor home” – open spaces for public and private use. Tenant gardens and allotments, local recreation opportunities and food supplies primarily from the immediate or region will be the norm. Public and semi-public open spaces will be adapted to the requirements for use (for example for older residents or to reflect the realities of climate change). Soil, water and air resources will be used with greater economy, for example by utilizing rainwater.
Action plan developed
The action plan included measures for bicycle traffic, regional city rail, mobility management schools and operations, mobilityXchange (©), thermal building renovation, conversion to district heating or city heating service, energy transparency in automation systems, electric drive power consumption, multi-generation climate gardens, a Leoben community garden, climate streets, a “Leoben app” and ensuring transportation connections between regions.
It’s a good idea to advance the demonstration projects step by step. The specific measures to emphasize in the years to follow will depend strongly on what is achieved in the initial years and what developments occur in that period. To set a clear agenda for starting Leoben’s offensive to protect the climate, it is advised to begin implementation of demonstration projects in the near future. Available resources can be combined to make the first changes apparent in the short term.