Vienna - Aspern Smart City Research


Future cities will be supplied by renewable energy sources not only from energy generation within the city, but from volatile sources outside the city. A consequence of the growing integration of renewable energy sources is volatile energy price developments, as well as additional investments in electricity grids. Congestion management in terms of market and grid perspectives therefore becomes increasingly necessary. Correspondingly, the need for flexible generation and demand side management to achieve a stable system and market operation will increase drastically in the future. In order to avoid extensive backup capacities, cities as significant consumers of energy will have to provide load flexibility.


The City of Vienna launched the Smart City Vienna Initiative in 2011 as a long term strategy to transform the city into a Smart City. A first outcome was the ‘Smart City Vienna Framework Strategy,’ which provides practical guidance for existing and future strategies and sectoral programs. It also defines core objectives and action steps until 2050. Four key areas, including energy, mobility, infrastructure, and buildings are priority areas.

The flagship project in Aspern is embedded in this strategy and seeks to create the first, large-scale implementation of a smart city district. Aspern applies an integrative system that optimizes buildings, energy grids and ICT-based integration of these domains at three different construction sites with mixed use (student’s dormitory – 300 rooms, residential building blocks – 216 flats, a school building with an elementary school and kindergarten).

The overall results of the project are organized in three solution layers: Infrastructure, interactions between buildings, grid and ICT, as well as the user. On top of this, smart interactions between smart buildings and smart grids by means of a novel ICT system are evaluated. The smart user and its interfaces to the technical systems are subject to the upper solution layer. These layers are arranged along the smart city management plane, which defines strategic goals for the project and manages the research methodology.

Projected Outcomes

The development area of Apsern Vienna’s Urban Lakeside offers excellent conditions for a test bed of smart city technologies. In total, a planning area of 240 hectares will be shaped by 2030 and 8,500 housing units for 20,000 residents and 20,000 workplaces will be created. As a result, the project strongly supports the overall goal to position Vienna and Austria as the top location of urban technologies in Europe. Participating enterprises will be well positioned as lead exporters for urban technology solutions and an innovative business environment will be triggered by smart city research.

Main R&D activities at Aspern include the flexible automation of buildings, considering volatile renewable energy supply, the operation of autonomous control algorithm in the LV grid, and the design of a data warehouse to ensure a flexible communication between these domains. Coupling buildings with the grid and additional energy storage and price related optimization should result in infrastructure investment cost reduction over the long run.

The project also emphasizes the role of citizens as decisive for successful urban infrastructure projects. Designing and implementing this large-scale showcase is essential for customer marketing and communication support and will increase the market opportunities for partners.