Municipalities

At the heart of SINFONIA is a close and long term collaboration between the two demo cities Innsbruck and Bolzano and five early adopter cities representing a wide variety of regulatory environments and climate zones. Municipalities as stakeholders in a smart city project are multilayered. Involvement strategies have to comprise the political and administrative level.

Involvement strategies and methods

Panorama Bolzano
Panorama picture of the city of bolzano. By Creator-bz (my work) CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Development of strategic instruments for city planning

  • Energy master plan of Bolzano
    The Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) of Bolzano was presented in June 2014. It was elaborated in accordance with the methodology defined at European level. Moreover, the SEAP is consistent with the Local Masterplan and is an ideal improvement of the previous evaluation plan for CO2-emissions “Bolzano. Fonte di Energia” (2009).
    The local action plan consists of two different parts: the collection and systematic cataloguing of consumption and local energy production and a series of specific actions agreed with the municipality in order to reduce green house gas emissions by 2020. Based on the availability of the CO2-emission data, 2010 was chosen as the baseline year. Hence, the scenario envisaged for 2020 is defined by a reduction of green house gas emissions by 20 %.
    For the Municipality of Bolzano 28 different types of actions have been identified, and subdivided into the following main areas of intervention: public buildings, private buildings, public lighting, transport, local production of electric and thermal energy, involvement and sensitization of citizens and stakeholders and monitoring.The most relevant initiatives highlighted in the SEAP are listed as follows:

    • Change of the building code that includes the previsions of the recent provincial resolutions and directions of the Plan-2050 climate-Alto Adige
    • Construction of a district heating network powered by the incinerator
    • Refurbishment program for municipal buildings
    • Increase of electric power from photovoltaic (up to 0.4 kW per person)
    • Completion of the cycle network and a new urban transport system toward Oltradige (municipalities Appiano and Caldaro).
  • Urban Mobility Plan of Bolzano
    The Urban Mobility Plan of Bolzano (PUM 2020) was approved in 2010. It is the tool that defines the long-term guidelines for all urban mobility actions. Bolzano is also equipped with a planning tool for the short-term interventions that is called PUT (Urban Traffic Plan).The main targets of the PUM 2020 are 1) to improve the quality of public places (squares, roads, parks, etc.), 2) to improve the quality and efficiency of public transport, 3) to raise the attraction of sustainable mobility offers for tourism and commerce and 4) to reduce the impact of long and medium distance traffic in the urban area (hence, reduction of emissions in residential areas).The following strategies shall contribute to achieving the mobility plans objectives:

    • Creation of a system of roads outside of the city aiming at reducing the impact of transit traffic in the city;
    • Increasing the role of the public transport: realization of two new tram lines, empowering of bus services, utilization of the existing train lines for urban use;
    • Enhancement of the use of bicycle via new bicycle lanes, new public services, and economic incentives;
    • Rationalization of the public parking system (shift public space from parking use to other activities).
  • Energy master plan of Innsbruck
    In 2009, the Municipality of Innsbruck launched the Energy development plan Innsbruck (IEP), focusing on raising the energy efficiency and to increase the production of renewable energies. Based on this objective, measures were taken matching with national and international legislation and recommendations in particular the EN16001, RL 2006/32/EG and the Tyrolean Energy strategy 2020 (Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung, 2006 1). In the years 2011 and 2012 this process has been underpinned by the development of a smart energy vision for 2050, a roadmap till 2025 and beyond, and an action plan 2012-2015 within the National Austrian Smart City call of the Energy and Climate Fund (fit4SET – smart energy demo). During the last years a reasonable number of institutions, political parties, citizens, associations, companies, universities, etc. have been activated and brought together. A critical mass has been established willing to invest and/or implement measures towards Innsbruck’s Master Plan. Most local SINFONIA partners are participating to this core group of innovators.Main results so far are the establishment of a public funding scheme for energetically refurbishments of existing buildings, public energy counselling, networking and communication activities, e.g. the participation in the European E5 programme. SINFONIA represents a new milestone towards the goal of energy autonomy.The City of Innsbruck represents the main driving force in this process. Many activities are realised through its subsidiary companies (e.g. IKB, NHT, IIG). A range of consultants from scientific, intermediary or commercial domains is supporting the developments (e.g. UIBK, SAT, alpS, Energie Tirol). The Province of Tyrol plays a supportive role.

Establishing of communication routines within the municipalities

Focusing on knowledge exchange, the policy makers of the Municipality of Innsbruck take on two different levels. The first level is to receive relevant information from SINFONIA partners (mainly the municipal administration in charge of the performance of the project), who are actively involving the local politicians. In the second level, politicians are transferring information on the project themselves and become important multipliers by representing the project on different events, committees or other political platforms.

Local politicians have been addressed by the following knowledge sharing activities :

  • Information event for regional stakeholders and politicians (Oct. 2014)
  • Creating a shortcut between Municipal Administration and politicians via the Committee for the environment, energy and mobility (information about the progress of SINFONIA), which is the advisory board for the responsible decision making committee (city council or townsenate)

Politicians became multipliers for project information during the following knowledge sharing activities:

  • A “Current Hour SINFONIA” of the city council: During the local council meeting Innsbruck in May 2015 a presentation and discussion on the project progress including different political parties was launched.
  • Political participation at meetings, e.g. development of a local communication strategy for the City of Innsbruck, upon request

All communication activities on a local level are coordinated by the Communication Teams Innsbruck and Bolzano. More information on the installation and importance of a local Communication Team is available here.

The members of the Communication Team Innsbruck recorded the communication demand among local stakeholder groups. The following graphic gives an overview of already existing communication channels within Policy makers & local/regional authorities and suggestions for improvement.

organigramm_policy-makers
Existing communication channels and suggestions of improvement for the communication with policy makers & local/regional authorities (in September 2015)

 

Establishment of a Monitoring advisory board for political players on the provicial level

The monitoring advisory board was introduced in Innsbruck in order to regularly inform political players on a regional level. The board was organized by the district leader of the demo city of Innsbruck. Relevant stakeholder from the regional administration,  the city administration and other institutions affected with energy relevant issues were invited.

As SINFONIA is a large and politically affected project, the introduction of a monitoring advisory board was considered important in Innsbruck. It aimed at the communication of project goals, outcomes and challenges to a wider political audience.

 

Challenges

A strong political support for the performance for such a big project is one of the most important factors for the project´s success. In addition, a regular update of the project progress is important, to keep the politicians and administative units up to date. The common structure for the internal knowledge exchange is always to be optimized.

In both demo cities the project partners agreed that it is of major importance to foster official as well as inofficial relationships to local and regional politicians, like the major and the city council. Regular explanations of the goals of the project as well as demonstration of the progress in the implementation of the project is essential to get and maintain political support. In both cities a good contact was established to the responsible politicians, e.g. the vice-major in Innsbruck, the responsible person for housing, etc.

The following challenges for the involvement of municipal players occured during the runtime of SINFONIA:

  • lack support of the project by all governing parties in the beginning of the project
  • communication between the different administrative units

 

Recommendations

  • Within the consortium it can be recommended to define responsible persons, who already have experiences and connections to politicians. These persons should continue their activities in a proactive way with the main messages of the SINFONIA project.
  • To present positive stories in an active way is extremely necessary for a good project communication.
  • Regular updates on project progress through existing information channels (e. g. council meetings, jour fixe with representatives of governing parties)
  • Communication structures should be established from the very start of the project.
  • Close contact to the city council, e.g. by yearly presentations of the progress and by actively inviting them to building sites/site visits
  • Keep in mind that in a five year’s project the political authorities may change.
  • A monitoring advisory board is a good possibility to get regular contact with the political administration at regional level proactively and inform about the progress of the project. It can be recommended, to organize it twice a year, starting with the beginning of the project. More frequent meetings can not be recommended, as there should be valuable input at every meeting to have good discussions. A combination of presentations with a site-visit is also a good way to get interaction of various stakeholder.


 

Footnotes:

1. Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung (2006): Tiroler Energiestrategie 2020 – Grundlage für die Tiroler Energiepolitik. Innsbruck.

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