How do we build our cities so that we can continue to live and work well in them in the future?

This was the question addressed by the Smart Cities Initiative at a networking meeting on 16 June 2021 on the topic of “Attractiveness in Existing Buildings – Better Housing, Working and Living”. The Research Studio iSPACE Smart Settlement Systems presented its “BONUS” project at the meeting – and explained how it can be harnessed to make use of existing buildings and strengthen the environment at the same time.

Austria’s cities and municipalities play an important role in climate protection. Smart cities are now setting the course to create a more sustainable future for their inhabitants: Innovative mobility concepts must be launched, energy strategies rethought, and living spaces made fit for future challenges. This is what the Smart Cities Initiative is all about, which presented various projects that cities can implement to become “smart” at a networking meeting on 16 June 2021.

In this context, the Research Studio iSPACE Smart Settlement Systems of RSA FG as lead partner presented the project “BONUS: Optimal Use of Inventory – Strengthening the Environment”.

Creating resource-efficient living space with BONUS

The issue of the creation of housing is of great importance for cities – and with limited land availability and increasing settlement pressure, many cities are increasingly focusing on inner development and redensification.

Single- and two-family houses offer great potential for densification and are also often in dire need of renovation – therefore they would be particularly well suited for sustainable redensification projects. However, over 90% of these buildings are privately owned, which complicates the process of approaching and convincing the owners.

This is where the BONUS project comes in: Innovative methods of data analysis are used to identify suitable plots and evaluate factors such as location quality, energy efficiency, transport connections and open spaces. On this basis, a holistic redensification consultancy service is established that supports owners in developing their properties according to their individual needs in a space- and energy-saving way.

Particularly noteworthy in the BONUS project is the integration of the aspects of sustainable mobility and green and open spaces. This creates a holistic consulting service that improves the quality of life of future generations and adapts settlement development to climate change.

“An innovative data basis is needed to be able to identify the existing building potential and develop it in an energy-efficient, resource-saving and socially acceptable way. This data forms an important basis for the holistic consulting service that is being developed in BONUS and shows private owners possibilities for the further development of their building or property,” says Florian Schöpflin (project staff member in BONUS).
Thomas Prinz (project manager in BONUS) also emphasises: “Networking and knowledge transfer between different projects are an important aspect of making Austria’s cities and municipalities fit for a more sustainable future. Here, the Smart Cities Initiative provides an important framework.

In order to generate added value for municipalities and to translate research results directly into practice, the BONUS consultancy service is currently being implemented in the pilot regions of Salzburg and Feldkirch. Work is underway to establish the service in a transferable operator model in the long term. Here, close cooperation with the city of Salzburg is a key success factor.