A special year for Smarter Together

2019, a year of success

2019 was a very special year of success for Smarter Together in Simmering, a residential district in Vienna. In a nutshell, all of the planned projects were successfully completed. Numerous other activities were also implemented. Data-based monitoring began in 2019. The results are sustainable and exemplary on many levels and close the gap between the often-calculated energy savings and the actual, but rarely measured energy savings.

Kathrin Gaál’s closing words at the Smarter Together Symposium on 21 November 2019 in the Vienna City Hall:

“Finally, I would like to thank you for the cooperation, for the great cooperation. There was a great, almost visionary spirit from the beginning. This has accompanied Smarter Together through all the years and ultimately made this great success possible and therefore once again a big thank you for everything.”

Kathrin Gaál, Executive Councilor for Women and Housing

2019 timelapse

Every day, 1 000 pupils at middle school “NMS Enkplatz” are excited about the great school expansion with four zero-energy gyms in a great atmosphere. School has become really fun there. After class, many stay in the courtyard on the two cool painted so called “Enzi”-benches from the highly prestigious international MuseumsQuarter. More details on these cool installations can be found here. Even cooler is the school’s innovative energy system, which not only generates solar energy for its own use, but also feeds all excess energy into the district heating network of Wien Energie. In addition, 16 pipes, which reach down to a depth of 110 m, use the energy of the earth by means of heat pumps.

The municipal housing building at Lorystraße 54-60 has already been completely handed over and the PV systems on the roof are trendsetting for the whole of Vienna Municipal Housing with over 220 000 flats involved. This is something that the tenants can be quite proud of. In the BWSG-Hauffgasse social/subsidized housing estate, the work has largely been completed. The final spurt is also in the Herbortgasse municipal housing estate. In these two residential complexes, too, are living, energy and mobility thought of as fitting together – just as they should be in the city of the future.

Numerous groups of visitors from all over Europe are now making the proverbial pilgrimage to Simmering to see the results. Vienna is setting a precedent and that is good for a social Europe where climate protection and quality of life go hand in hand. International prizes and awards confirm this. In addition, it brings us jobs, climate protection and an attractive prospective for the future!

Several Smarter Together-films were made in Vienna: renovation projects, mobility projects, e-car sharing and video statements by the members of the steering committee  (see also the media corner on our webpage ).

And first things first and right away: Smarter Together is expanding. The broad approach of the project – thinking together about housing, energy, mobility and participation – convinced the Viennese actors. One of the follow-up projects supported by the EU is, for example, RenoBooster , which is intended to „boost“ renovation in private housing.  Another one is the CityPipes project, which deals with the decarbonisation of urban district heating. The „Vienna 2030“ economic strategy also reflects the approaches of Smarter Together.

„An entire district in Simmering was upgraded by the EU-funded urban renewal initiative. A secret of success is the intensive involvement of the population. For the residents, Smarter Together brings more quality of life,” says Smarter Together patron and City Councilor for urban renewal Kathrin Gaál. Additionally, she states that „the new clever themed path makes ‚Smarter Together‘ visible in Simmering. I wish everyone who a lot of fun in discovering the smart district of Simmering „(more here).

By the way: figures and data at the very bottom of the report.

Full German version here.

Refurbishment projects by Smarter Together Vienna

A vision becomes reality together with the local inhabitants

Smarter Together has been launched together with Munich and Lyon to make a district in Vienna smart and fit for the future. The central requirement was to make people participate in the journey. The result is a comprehensive urban renewal initiative, where countless people have participated in the development of the city of the future and concrete results are visible and tangible on the spot. Many businesses have also made valuable contributions to environmental protection and integration. Many more activities were carried out as well. Essential for this was the participation of a multitude of actors, facilities and institutions that have existed in district for many years. Even a new data platform smartdata.wien was developed from the scratch and put into service. It has even been integrated by the City of Vienna for its activities in the field of the IoT – Internet of Things.

Stephan Hartmann, project manager at Smarter Together shares that “it goes without saying for all of us that we can use the streets and public space freely. Data is the streets and public space of the future. That is why we developed an open source data platform in Vienna and made the data freely accessible. Specifically in the project, this means that we decided not to buy a finished product from a large supplier and then pay for expensive maintenance, but we developed our own application with FIWARE. And the interest of our European partners confirms our approach.“

Feierliche Schuleröffnung am Enkplatz, Stadträte feiern mir Kindern

Thematic leadership and international smart city discourse

Innovation by Smarter Together were integrated in the update of the Vienna Smart City Framework Strategy, as well as into the Vienna 2030 Economic Development Strategy . Vienna is positioned as an environmentally friendly, attractive business and future location that focuses on people and is committed to achieving the climate goals.

Smarter Together was also able to support Vienna’s thematic leadership internationally. Smarter Together received two “Green Solutions Awards” especially for the multiple efforts to involve the people of district and all local stakeholers in the future project.

The symposium „Three Years Smarter Together – Urban Renewal in Times of Climate Crisis“  on November 21, 2019 in Vienna City Hall was a highlight of the (conceptual) innovation work. The city administration, Simmering and Europe were united there. Authentic and locally anchored. The results were discussed by a broad professional audience and a look into the future was ventured. Finding of the day: The challenges are manifold – but feasible. The will and the ideas are there.

The implementation report „Three Years of Smarter Together in Simmering“  has become a bestseller. At the same time, Smarter Together is also firmly anchored locally: A thematic trail  with six information boards on the project invites you to discover the project area yourself. And the smart district guide „Schlauer Grätzelplan„, which was created by the Urban Renewal Office “GB * Ost”, offers numerous additional exciting tips for a simmering the future with a high quality of life.

Vienna’s Smarter Together branch has had around 38 000 personal contacts from the start of the project in 2016 until the end of 2019. Of course, the mobility game „Beat the Street“ (2017 and 2018) has a major share. Munich, by the way, has successfully replicated it based on Vienna’s initiative.  Meanwhile, Vienna has used Munich’s technology and used it for two rounds in the districts of Donaustadt (22.) and Favoriten (10.). About 9 300 inhabitants from Simmering have actively explored their district. Lectures at conferences with large audiences have also reached out to numerous people. However, the countless one-on-one discussions were of a key importance, and were often undertaken within Vienna’s  Smarter Together mobile information lab called “SIMmobile” that was managed by the Urban Renewal Office (GB *) or the “wohnpartner” focusing on the dialogue with tenants in municipal housing. For the mediation institute “wohnbund:consult”, which accompanied the renovation work in the BWSG residential complex, the collaboration with Smarter Together offered the opportunity to address new subject areas, far from the understandably stressful renovation process to future oriented issues. The e-carsharing in the housing estate of BWSG has become so popular that from February 1, 2020 the City of Vienna launched a specific funding scheme for the sharing mobility.

Fototermin zum Thema Grätzlspaziergang "Smarter Together" mit StRIn Kathrin Gaal, in der Hauffgasse.

A more chronological review

Information sheet on renovation funding: The second edition of the information sheet on renovation funding  was published at the beginning of January 2019. At present, a separate EU project is looking into the question of how to support renovation even more in the future so that more apartments and houses in Vienna are renovated. Because that really contributes a lot to climate protection.  The submission was successful because Vienna simply has a voice in Europe. The new project is called  RenoBooster and receives around EUR 2 million from the EU.

International networking: An international networking meeting in Stuttgart had multiple results. Smarter Together Vienna is now cooperating with the knowledge exchange platform Bable  and colleagues from Nordrein-Westfahlen (NRW) have been interested for our Beat the Street. Incidentally, this project was copied by our Munich Smarties – the colleagues from Smarter Together, and it runs there under the title „Kreuz und Quer“. And there is no end to the story: Vienna has now borrowed back the technology from Munich and successfully implemented it in the districts of Favoriten and Donaustadt in autumn 2019 under the new name  „Climate Heroes„. The kids were also enthusiastic there and so were our district politicians. We are quite curious to see in which district the Mobility Agency will implement the project next time.

Housing partners with heart

The housing partners (GER: wohnpartner) in Simmering are a most sympathetic success story anyway. It was only with the housing partners that Smarter Together was able to implement the two municipal housing renovation projects of Vienna Housing ( Wiener Wohnen). Key to the success was the highly intensive dialogue with the tenants in the two renovation projects at Lorystraße 54-60 and Herbortgasse 43. At the spring party of the wohnpartner, employees of Smarter Together received a special award. That was a very nice surprise. This human level of collaboration is what makes the difference of Smarter Together. Thanks to the wohnpartner!

Frauen- und Wohnbaustadträtin Kathrin Gaál (Mitte) präsentierte gemeinsam mit „Smarter Together“-Projektleiter Stephan Hartmann (li.), Mieter und Aktiv-Gruppenmitglied Markus Zagermann (2.v.li.), Mieter Gerhard Zischka (2.v.re.) und GB*-Projektleiterin Andrea Breitfuss den „Schlauen Grätzlplan“ für Simmering.

District Walks on a Fortnightly Basis

Discovery walks in the district were held almost every two weeks, if not more. Numerous visitor groups wanted to experience the smart and future-oriented innovations that have been locally anchored in Simmering together with Smarter Together staff. They came from Berlin, Amsterdam, Munich, Flanders, Sweden, Gießen , but also from the Danube University Krems, the BWSG, there were students from the “Sustainability Challenge”, the INUAS housing conference , the friends and streetworkers Balu&Du and much more.

The visits to the Munich Building Committee  and the Munich Environment Committee   were particularly politically important. The same counts for the delegation from the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin and the Berlin State Secretary for Administrative and Infrastructure Modernization. These visits have delivered concrete results. With Munich, Vienna is continuing to work on specific projects, which is already agreed and brings EU funding, climate protection and sustainability. This is also good for the economy.

European cooperation on research and innovation

Smarter Together doesn’t just receive money from the EU – though it will pretty much fully use the 7 million euros in EU-funding. Smarter Together wants also to get involved in Europe. Therefore, Smarter Together actively participated in numerous international conferences: from Sofia via Venice, Stuttgart, Barcelona to San Sebastian / Donostia , Stavanger, Amsterdam   and of course also in Brussels. Smarter Together is also present in various EU networks: at „Energy Cities“, the „Smart Cities and Communities Forum“. Because it has become evident that this cooperation is so promising and important, the European Commission has released additional funding. Only together we can get steps ahead in Europe in terms of innovation and climate protection. Vienna has now also formally joined the „Energy Cities“ network.

Smarter Together can also be found in numerous international research projects and studies, where Vienna’s approach is presented. Examples include a European best practice collection and a study on smart cities and kids, where the Vienna Smarter Together is simply the ideal research object

Smarter Together - Gemeinsam g'scheiter für Fridays for Future

A key commitment coming from the heart: children, education, school

Greta Thunberg showed the way and has inspired many: Climate policy needs concrete action, not noble Sunday speeches.

The handover of the school extension on the site of the “NMS Enkplatz” with four zero-energy gyms has become THE lighthouse project of Smarter Together. It was born from the idea to give children their voice in a Smart City project and to follow it up with concrete actions. The result is an incredibly complex energy project. Combining five energy sources including geothermal energy, heat pumps, PV, solar systems and district heating in Vienna was a technical as well as a legal challenge for all the players. Additional funds from the EU are now available for the two-year monitoring phase of in-house technicians Vasko & Partner and municipal department “MA 34 Building Management”, which will provide valuable experience and data for future projects.

And everyone shared this spirit of innovation that distinguishes Smarter Together so much: the pupils who were able to contribute their ideas and wishes in the SIMmobile, the teachers and school principals who participated, Vienna’s city policy makers and the responsible department MA 56, who provided the necessary resources. There were of course also the architects Burtscher & Durig  (Ulrich Burtscher und Marianne Durig), who created a wonderful school of well-being with their art down to the last detail.

In the four huge underground gymnasiums, the well-proportioned glass front of the mezzanine gives the impression that the gymnasiums have windows to the outside. This makes gym classes even more fun! The district newspaper (Bezirkszeitung Simmering) honored the school with several front pages: „A school with a wow effect“ and „The most innovative school building in Vienna“ and „From car sharing to climate school“. You can’t get more than the front page! Thank you!

More about the school can be found on this webpage here.

The icing on the cake: two cool benches called “Enzis” from the MuseumsQuarter (MQ) were installed, and painted by students. “The school is a hit,” say the kids, who regularly stay after class on the Enzi-benches as well as on the two solar benches. Smarter Together and the EU made it possible. At the opening party on 10 October, 2019, the super committed and motivated street workers from Balu & Du were also on site and turned the festive opening ceremony into a children’s festival with low-threshold political education. Like Greta Thunberg, the kids from Simmering shall raise their voices for the future and help shaping the society.

In May the structured cooperation amongst education institutions in the district called educational district Enkplatz (Bildungsgrätzel Enzkplatz / EducationQuarter Enkplatz in allusion to the MuseumsQuarter) was launched. It connects the local educational institutions in a network. Thanks to the super Smarter Together-touchscreen computer in the municipal library in the “VHS Simmering”, kids from Simmering were for the first time this year able to take part in the German TOMMI children’s software award at the Frankfurt Book Fair (here ).

With 27 million euros, 2 Enzi-benches, 2 solar benches, the said touchscreen computer, the „Beat the Street“ game and countless workshops from „Science Pool“  in Hauffgasse 4 and the research festival, Smarter Together was also involved in the creation of the education network “Bildungsgrätzel Enzkplatz / EducationQuarter Enkplatz”. The kids will probably confirm: Smarter Together has really done its homework and even more!

Secondary School NMS Enkplatz opening

The project partners, a dream team

Special praise also goes to the project partners in 2019, who were all extremely creative and implemented a lot more than was originally planned.

Wiener Linien opened two new mobility stations in the districts of Erdberg and Ottakring in September 2019 and adapted them to their respective environments. Experience from the Simmeringer pilot project has already been taken into account. For example, the information columns are slimmer because the private smartphones are replacing the screen. This leaves more space for the rental bikes.

The BWSG social housing association continued the renovation of the Hauffgasse estate at full speed. A satisfied tenant said that her block was just in the renovation process. E-car sharing was still a hit. The three cars are used around 3 500-4 000 km per month, and the active group is also extremely motivated to work out a final business model for the time after the EU funding has expired. The e-cars were proudly shown at the Rock-the Ring Parade. Now the BWSG tenants from the neighboring housing estate should also be able to use the electric cars. The mediation institute wohnbund: consult  is still fully involved and has already introduced the e-carsharing model in other renovation and new construction projects.

Wiener Wohnen (Vienna Housing, the municipal housing entity) was able to hand over the renovation of the municipal building on Lorystraße in July 2019. Also present were the wohnpartner (housing partners) who handed over trolleys the tenants with the support of Executive City Councilor Kathrin Gaál.

Siemens Leberstraße continued the innovation offensive and the environmental boosting of the plant logistics. Siemens has been involved in the “Sustainability Challenge” since autumn 2019, a research cooperation between the four major universities in Vienna – „because it was so sympathetic with Smarter Together“. The students have the opportunity to get to know a leading international company from the inside. Certainly an exciting life experience! (More here).

Stadträtin Kathrin Gaál mit Smarter Together ProjektpartnerInnen, Foto von Zsolt Marton

Visible and communicated

Events 2019

52 in-house events, including 32 workshops (from the district walk to the symposium) with a total of approx. 2,700 participants

36 events of other institutions with approx. 4100 participants, at which Smarter Together was presented to the respective audience

In 2019 there were a total of approximately 6,800 personal contacts.

Completed projects up to and including 2019

1 active data platform and transferred to the City of Vienna system (MA 01), for applications in the area of IOT (Internet of Things).

8 mobility projects implemented (1st WienMobil station, e-bike rental at the central cemetery, e-car sharing in a residential complex, 2 e-vans post, 450 mail receiving boxes, 6 e-forklifts Siemens e-logistics vehicles, 2 mobility surveys with around 450 people, local mobility strategy.

School expansion NMS Enkplatz successfully completed with 4 zero-energy gymnasiums: creating a school to love for 1,000 pupils with an innovative energy concept.

7 infrastructure projects: 4 PV systems, 1 solar thermal system, 90 meters for electricity and heat in order to enable the monitoring, 24 cards for energy data, 2 (not realized) data center concepts / waste heat, 2 solar benches.

More Information:


All movies in the media corner


Media Coverage

Press releases

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Bojan Schnabl