In the beginning of the project, partners in Innsbruck had to handle an unfavorable public perception of demonstration measures, which was picked up by the local newspapers with critical headlines. This adverse press about SINFONIA made clear that previous efforts to communicate the advantages of envisaged measures to the city`s inhabitants had not been sufficient. This led to the establishment of the Local communication team Innsbruck to set a stronger focus on the engagement of local stakeholders. Applied involvement strategies and methods for the general public are outlined below.
Participation at the Young University – day of action and organization of an ideas competition “The smart city of the future”
In Innsbruck, SINFONIA partners participated two times at the Young University – day of action. In interactive workshops aims and porposes of SINFONIA were presented to pupils from all over Tyrol with 8 to 18 years.
Within the Young University – day of action 2015 and 2017 an ideas competition on “The smart city of the future” was organized for children and adolescents. Pupils as well as teachers in Innsbruck were encouraged to work on small projects, focusing on “sustainable energy supply”, “renewable energies”, etc. They could or draw or give a written description of their ideas. Local SINFONIA partners assisted the pupils in developing their ideas and projects. They gave support and necessary background information.
The best ideas selected by a jury were honoured with fun prizes. The winners were invited to an award winning ceremony and had the possibility to present their projects.
On these occasions, more than 600 students came in touch with the contents of SINFONIA.
Participation at the Long night of research
The Austrian Long night of research is the country`s biggest scientific event. It involves all scientific institutions and aims at the communication of scientific activities to a broad public. The Italian counterpart of the event is LUNA.
SINFONIA was presented at the Long night of research on four occasions (2014 and 2016 in Bolzano, 2016 and 2018 in Innsbruck). Local consortial partners supervised interactive stands about the project (e. g. demonstration of effects of thermal insulation of buildings with infrared camera, information on SINFONIA monitoring activities, game “How to safe energy”). The aim was to bring the scientifc contents of SINFONIA to the public.
This kind of event is a good possibility to introduce “SINFONIA & science” to a large group of people all over the city. It is an excellent activity to reach the stakeholder group of the citizens of Bolzano. Alperia in Bolzano and UIBK & SAT in Innsbruck had a very positive experience. It is a unique opportunity to familiarize the general public, regardless of age, with the world of research in an interesting way, providing a forum for researchers to meet and interact with the general public. With this initiative, the citizens of Bolzano and Innsbruck can meet researchers/technicians and discover places not generally open to the public (e.g Alperia’s district heating plant), visit demonstrations and simulations and generally exchange views and ideas.
Organisation of press conferences
Press conferences were held in both cities at the beginning as well as later in the project, when the first measures started or were completed. Press conferences are on the one hand useful to inform politicians about the progress of the project and on the other hand to involve them in an active way.
Organisation of Infodays and other events
From the very beginning of SINFONIA, a broad variety of infodays was organized in both demo cities. Smart city dialogues, exchange meetings & exkursions with partner cities or cluster companies, presentations in the city council, etc. had the aim to proactively inform about the content, the goals, the outcomes and the challenges of the project on the one hand and enable exchange between the affected stakeholders on the other hand.
Infodays are highly recommended to reach politicians, the general public as well as the professional audience to inform in a proactive way about the goals, the progress and the results of the project.
The target group of the first SINFONIA info event in Ibk was too big. It would have been better to separate it into several smaller groups dedicated to single target groups (e. g. politicians, tenants).
Regular updates through the city journal “Innsbruck informiert”
Innsbruck`s city journal “Innsbruck informiert” is distributed to all households of the city. Regular articles about SINFONIA served as progress reports for the citizens. Click here to see the online version of the articles.
CasaClima Tour in South Tyrol
CasaClima organized several events all over the Province of Bolzano and Italy. The aim of these workshops was to inform the public about important aspects related to sustainability and energy efficiency of smart buildings and districts, and to highlight SINFONIA as a good practice example. The organisation of the meetings was supported by the municipalities.
The very specific purpose of the presentations was to provide people with very relevant and useful information that could have been applied in their activity. The success this dissemination format was underlined by the large number of people attending the meetings, also in small villages. Many people contributed to the final discussions with questions dealing with practical application of the reported measures. The events will be repeated in other municipalities of the Province of Bolzano.
The main challenge for the involvement of the general public are the funding sources!
- The active participation at already existing events for the general public like the “long nights of research” is highly recommended and should be more in the focus of the whole consortium.
- Involvement of the young generation: Activities with kids are definitely recommendable, for they create or increase awareness for sustainability. Pupils showed a huge motivation to deal SINFONIA-related topics in the given context of their current (urban) living environment and shared their ideas for a sustainable future.
Regarding young people as the future citizens, it is very important to keep them in the process. The SINFONIA ideas competition is a good possibility to involve the young public.
- Frequent press conferences and releases: Press conferences are important to get political committement as well as a positive public perception of the project and to present the citizens activities of the demo cities: What is SINFONIA?
- Inolving other organisations like „Alpine clubs“ or church institutions to promote the topics “energy,